MICHAEL HADLEY - Thursday, December 6, 2012
Clint Dempsey and Brad Friedel joined Steve Cherundolo and David Yelldell as the only Americans to survive the Europa League group stage.
Tottenham 3 - 1 Panathinaikos
All they needed was a draw to advance, but Clint Dempsey, Brad Friedel and Tottenham managed much more in their final group game victory over Panathinaikos at White Hart Lane.
Panathinaikos were pressing early but Dempsey was able to find Emanuel Adebayor behind the Greek defence just before the half-hour mark, and the Spurs striker made sure it counted.
But, in the second half, Panathinaikos were able to capitalize on early pressures. In the 54th minute, Nikolaos Spiropoilos was able to send in a ball from the left flank that found Zeca's head with ease. The forward leveled the game with a blast that eluded a sprawling Friedel at the far post.
From there, Panathinaikos' luck would turn bad. After earning a dangerous free kick down the right flank in the 76th minute, Dempsey was able to put the ensuing header on frame. After clanking off the crossbar, the ball deflected off Panathinaikos' own 'keeper, Orestis Karneszis, and into the back of the net for the own goal.
Jermain Defoe added an insurance goal when he chipped Karnezis from close range after a pass from Aaron Lennon in the 83rd minute.
Dempsey played 80 minutes, tallying an assist and the shot on frame that ended up as an own goal, while Friedel saw his first minutes in the Europa League, playing the full game and allowing the single goal.
Tottenham advanced to the Round of 32 after finishing second behind Lazio with 10 points from six games in Group J.
Stuttgart 0 - 1 Molde
Josh Gatt and Molde finished their 2012 campaign with a victory over Stuttgart in Germany.
Molde controlled the game in the early stages, but both sides' 'keepers were called on in the first 45 minutes and each were up the to task.
But, in first-half stoppage time, Molde finally broke through via striker Davy Angan. The attacker went on a long solo run through the center of the Stuttgart defense before putting a shot on target. Sven Ulrich made the initial save, but couldn't corral the rebound before Angan put it in the back of the net.
Gatt ended up seeing 68 minutes in all, being replaced by Etzaz Hussain at right midfield.
Despite only two positive results in the group stage, both came against Stuttgart, who barely advanced into the Round of 32, needing a plus-three goal difference to overcome a tie in the standings with Køberhavn.
Molde werew eliminated from the Europa League, finishing in last place in Group E.
Bayer Leverkusen 1 - 0 Rosenborg
David Yelldell's Bayer Leverkusen finished off Mikkel Diskerud's and Rosenborg's 2012 Europa League season in disappointing fashion.
It was all Leverkusen at BayArena, with the hosts pressing for an early goal. Rosenborg simply couldn't get things right in their 200th UEFA Cup/Europa League game, and their disjointed efforts were clearly not going to be enough.
Nevertheless, it took until the 65th minute for Leverkusen to break through the Rosenborg defense. A pass came in from the right flank from right fullback Carlinhos, rolled past six Rosenborg players, and found Julian Riedel who tapped it in. Riedel was making his first appearance for Leverkusen this season.
Yelldell dressed for Leverkusen but still has yet to see action for the German club. Diskerud went the full 90 minutes.
Bayer Leverkusen advanced to the Round of 32 with 13 points in six games. Rosenborg were eliminated from the Europa League after finishing third with six points.
Twente 1 - 3 Helsingborg
Alejandro Bedoya scored another Europa League goal as Helsingborg finished off Twente in Holland.
With both teams playing for nothing more than pride, the visitors stormed out to an early 2-0 lead in the first 21 minutes.
A wonderstrike from 25 yards via Nikola Durdic's left foot six minutes in started the scoring for Helsingborg, and it was Bedoya who doubled the advantage.
The American pounced on a loose ball to the left of Twente goalkeeper Filip Bednarek, one-timing the shot to the far post.
From there, both sides settled down before Thomas Sorum made it 3-0 for the visitors, redirecting a Rachid Bouaouzan centering pass off his heel and into the net in the 67th minute.
Twente's lone goal came from Dusan Tadic just moments after he came in off the bench, scoring on a free kick that fooled Par Hansson to his near post.
Bedoya went the full 90 minutes, scoring his third goal since coming over to Sweden from Rangers in Scotland, but Helsingborg were eliminated from the Europa League thanks to both some bad luck and poor play.
Brian Gerzizich did not play for Ironi Kiryat Shmona in their 2-0 defeat at Lyon. Shmona were eliminated from the Europa League.
Terrence Boyd played 14 minutes off the bench, replacing goalscorer Deni Alar in Rapid Vienna's 1-0 victory over Metalist. Nevertheless, Rapid Vienna were eliminated from the Europa League.
Steve Cherundolo played 19 minutes for Hannover 96 in a 2-2 draw against Levante. Hannover advanced to the Round of 32.