AMSTERDAM – Everton netminder Tim Howard earned his first shutout win of the young Premier League season on Saturday afternoon, notching four saves to blank home side Southampton, 3-0.
The Toffees star made perhaps his best stop of the game as a prelude to his side netting the opener midway through the opening frame. Howard cruelly denied Sadio Mané's drive in the 21st minute, and mere seconds later Romelu Lukaku was celebrating what would end up as the game-winner at the other end.
Howard added a pair of good stops after the break, with Graziano Pellè stinging his hands 10 minutes out of intermission and Mané doing the same from distance with 10 left in the contest. The US international also contributed a punch and a cross claim in registering his 127th career EPL shutout, which puts him just two behind ninth-place Peter Schmeichel on the all-time chart and five shy of countryman Brad Friedel.
Geoff Cameron and Stoke City clawed back late for a 2-2 share at Tottenham.
Again providing centerback cover for injured Potters skipper Ryan Shawcross, Cameron was pulled well out of position on the rush that resulted in Nacer Chadli giving Spurs a two-goal cushion on the edge of halftime. The American would end up having a solid day after chalking up a game-best six clearances, three pass interceptions and two blocked shots while winning all five of his aerial duels.
One flight down in the Championship, Jonathan Spector and Birmingham City were forced to settle for a 2-2 share at Burnley.
The veteran center back, who got away with one as the hosts' early penalty shout was ignored, racked up a game-high six clearances, two pass interceptions and a tackle. However, he was also among the culpable on Burnley's first equalizer and drew a late yellow card.
Matthew Taylor's free-kick cracker with nine minutes to play meant Birmingham were forced to settle for the point that at least temporarily pushed them into first place.
Eric Lichaj ably went the distance in Nottingham Forest's 2-1 win over visiting Rotherham. The right back produced four pass picks, three tackles, a line clearance and six positive passes in or into the final attacking third.
Also, Cody Cropper watched on from the home bench as MK Dons dropped a 1-0 home decision to Preston North End.
Alfredo Morales marked his top-flight return with the game-winning assist as stingy Bundesliga debutants Ingolstadt scored a 1-0 opening day victory at Mainz 05.
The US international was among his side's standouts as they pocketed all three points without conceding a single shot on goal. In the 66th minute, Morales passed between the legs of a defender to area invader Lukas Hinterseer, who did the rest of the work to bag the first Bundesliga goal in Ingolstadt history.
Morales – who last played in the Bundesliga with Hertha Berlin four seasons ago – also added a pair of penalty area clearances over the final 10 minutes to help seal the win. For the day, he also pitched in two pass picks, a tackle and a cross block at the defensive end.
Meanwhile, Aron Jóhannsson's Bundesliga coming out party did not measure up, with the forward working 33 decent substitute minutes in a 3-0 home defeat against Schalke.
The No. 9 shirt completed nine of 12 passes, but was starved for touches in and around the Miners' box. Jóhannsson did manage to put one shot on target, with his low drive from long range comfortably handled by the Schalke backstop Ralf Fährmann.
Hertha Berlin's John Anthony Brooks also came off the bench, helping Hertha Berlin open the season with a 1-0 victory at Augsburg. In six minutes of action, the centerback completed all four of his passes, with two aerial challenge wins and a clearance.
Fabian Johnson and Borussia Mönchengladbach suffered a rough entry to the new season in a 4-0 loss away to regional rivals Borussia Dortmund.
It was a rather quiet full shift for the left winger, who completed just four positive passes in the attacking half while the Foals struggled to manage 40 percent of possession on the day. The also went without both starting centerbacks, a double-void repeatedly exploited by the hosts as 'Gladbach suffered their worst defeat in nearly four years.
Down in the 2.Bundesliga, Caleb Stanko went unused as Freiburg fell 3-1 to rude guests VfL Bochum. Thanks to their first loss in three games this season, the beaten hosts dipped to a tentative fourth-place standing.
Up in Norway's Tippeligaen, Molde FK netminder Ethan Horvath notched five saves as the home side settled for a 0-0 draw with slumping guests Sarpsborg 08. The 20-year-old also added four necessary cross claims in the first half as the champs remained winless in seven matches across all competitions.
Zarek Valentin and Bodø/Glimt finally saw their club record six-game win streak come to an end in a tough 2-1 loss at Viking.
The in-form right back worked a solid shift, but also picked up his first booking of the season in the waning moments. Glimt opened the scoring shortly after halftime, but conceded a penalty just after the hour and the goalmouth scramble decider two minutes from time. Loan winger Danny Cruz remained a spectator for the visitors.
Finally, in Finland's Suomen Cup, fresh KuPS catch Tristan Bowen scored for the second straight game, but the visitors eventually dropped out of the Suomen Cup semifinals following a 3-2 penalty kicks defeat. The former Los Angeles, Chivas USA and Seattle striker picked the bottom corner on 33 minutes to score his side's lone goal, but was stopped on his shootout attempt.