AMSTERDAM – Three US internationals pitched in with strong Champions League performances on Wednesday, headlined by Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones setting up the 1-0 winner against Olympiakos that clinched their place in the knockout round with a game to spare.
With 13 minutes to play, the No. 13 shirt won a challenge to square the ball to Christian Fuchs, whose low liner tucked inside the far post on one bounce from nearly 30 yards. The Miners will now try to win Group B with a victory at Montpellier on Dec. 4.
Elsewhere, Oguchi Onyewu was largely in control of his zone, but already-advanced Málaga let a two-goal lead slip in their 2-2 draw with Group C hosts Zenit St. Petersburg.
Though he spent most of the night manhandling star forward Hulk, the US defender played an unfortunate part in the Russians' late equalizer. Four minutes from time, Onyewu hustled to clear a shot off his line, only to have the ball fall to where Viktor Faizulin could thread a shot through the area crowd from 16 yards.
Meanwhile, Sacha Kljestan was arguably the most effective midfield player in 10-man Anderlecht's 3-1 defeat to visiting AC Milan.
The Mauves traffic director led all players in distance covered on the night, providing a small array of timely tackles and dangerous attack work. The loss leaves Anderlecht trailing third-place Zenit for the Europa League parachute by goal differential ahead of their closing-day trip to Málaga.