MICHAEL ADUBATO - Thursday, December 6, 2007
Two Americans took to the field of play last night as Tim Howard kept goal for Everton and Ramiro Corrales suited up for Norwegian champions Brann in UEFA Cup action.
Everton 1 - 0 Zenit St. Petersburg
Tim Howard, having just recovered from a virus, started for the Toffees and recorded a shutout and a vital win thanks to the Australian international Tim Cahill's strike with just five minutes left on the clock.
The English team should have taken the lead in the first half after Zenit's Belgian defender Nicolas Lombaerts was harshly sent off for handling the ball in the box, thus awarding the home team a penalty kick.
Mikel Arteta did the honors and kicked the ball over the top of the crossbar however, squandering the gift.
Lee Carsley also had a first half chance to put Everton ahead but only rattled the Russian post.
The game winner was fashioned from an Arteta corner kick that found Joleon Lescott in the box. The Russian keeper, Viacheslav Malafeev cleared the Englishman's shot off the line but it fell to the Australian who slammed it into the roof of the net.
With the victory, Everton have secured a place among the final 32 teams still in the competition.
FC Basel 1 - 0 Brann
Ramiro Corrales worked the first half for his Norwegian team in a losing effort as Brann fell to the Swiss side in UEFA Cup action.
It was the American who brought down Carlos Alberto Carlitos on the edge of the penalty box and the Brazilian took full advantage, driving his shot into the top right-hand corner of Hakon Opdal's net.
The Norwegian champions did have a few second half chances of their own, namely a Joakim Sjohage chance from 18 yards and an Erik Huseklepp 20 yard effort but neither strike was good enough to make a difference.
With the loss, Brann's slim hopes of qualifying for the next round depends on other results in Group D.