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Mathis has goal, assist for Hannover in 2-2 draw with Leverkusen.

O'Brien appearance for U.S. in doubt because of hamstring injury.

Howard leads Man. U. past Reyna, Man. City 4-2 in FA Cup.

Hannover, with Mathis, Cherundolo, falls to Bayern Munich; Casey, Berhalter score in victories.

Friedel saves Rovers' badly needed 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough, giving Souness respite.

Keller lives nightmare, Spurs are eliminated by Man. City 4-3 in FA Cup; Bocanegra excels for Fulham.

McBride, Mathis score key goals in European debuts.

Reyna, Keller meeting in FA Cup produces a draw; they'll try again.

Mathis, West sign overseas; Gibbs doesn't.

McBride spurns Rovers, joins Bocanegra at Fulham.

Manchester United, Howard are stunned by lowly Wolves 1-0.

Bocanegra joins Fulham after winning work permit appeal.

Reyna injures leg early as Manchester City draws 1-1 with Charlton.

Howard's saves help Manchester United overcome Aston Villa 2-1 in FA Cup.

Kirovski, Birmingham win duel with Reyna, Manchester City 2-1.

Marcus Hahnemann Q&A

Americans Abroad

Friedel scores tying goal for Blackburn, but is soon beaten by Charlton winner.

Preki
Brad Friedel could have been a hero after scoring a late tying goal for Blackburm, but Charlton still rallied to win.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
SoccerTimes

(Sunday, February 22, 2004) -- In as odd a match as anyone could ever expect, United States goalkeeper Brad Friedel left his net to score an 89th-minute equalizer for Blackburn Rovers yesterday, but his euphoria barely lasted a minute

Charlton Athletic came right back and recorded a 3-2 triumph on Claus Jenning's goal from point-blank range in stoppage time.

Carlton Cole and Jason Euell gave Charlton a 2-0 halftime lead. Cole's goal was a thing of beauty, controlling Paolo Di Canio's left-side cross, turning Rovers Marcus Babbel and Craig Short and tucking his shot into the top left corner beyond Friedel's reach in the 10th minute.

Poor defending by Blackburn was costly in the 36th minute. Graham Stuart's left-wing cross was flicked on by an unmarked di Canio to Euell, who had enough time to put the ball into the far corner again to make it 2-0.

Friedel kept the Blackburn deficit at two with a nice save on Matthew Holland before Rovers started to come back. Andy Cole finally made it 2-1 in the 74th minute, setting up Friedel's heroics. Soon after he made a big save on Claus Jensen, the Friedel went forward into the other box for a corner kick by Brett Emerton. His ball went to the far side to Paul Gallagher who fired the ball back into a crowd where Friedel slammed home a left-footer from the middle of the box for the tying goal.

However, as Rovers celebrated, Charlton stormed down the field. A shot was cleared, but directly to Jensen whose right-footed volley went just beyond Friedel's grasp.


In England's First Division, American keeper Marcus Hahnemann also had a match to remember, stopping a penalty kick in Reading's 1-0 decision over Gillingham.

After Shaun Goater gave the Royals a 1-0 lead after eight minutes, Ivar Ingimarsson took down Gillingham player-manager Andy Hessenthaler in the box. John Hills struck the penalty kick well, but Hahnemann flew to his left to make the save.

Hahnemann played solidly the rest of the way for the shutout. In the second half, he made a good save on striker Mamady Sidibe, just back from African Nations Cup, and held a sharp 25-yard blast from Danny Spiller.

Coming off a 5-1 setback at Rotherham in its last outing two weeks earlier, Reading finds itself in a battle for the four-team playoff for the third promotion spot. Reading is 14-11-6 with 48 points, tied for seventh place, but only two points below fourth. Teams in third through sixth places make the playoff.


In the Premier League today, U.S. keeper Kasey Keller was beaten four times, but Jermain Defoe scored his second goal of the game in the 89th minute to give and Tottenham Hotspur a 4-4 draw with Leicester City.

Spurs raced to a 3-1 halftime lead and seemed to be in complete control but, after intermission, suffered the defensive lapses that have plagued them all season, with Les Ferdinand, Ben Thatcher and Marcus Bent scoring unanswered goals for a 4-3 advantage. The latter two tallies came with Leicester down a man, following James Sowcroft's expulsion in the 70th minute.

Keller was solid in the first half, stopping Paul Dickov one-on-one in the fifth minute, and again midway through the half when the Scottish striker fired from the edge of the box.

The only ball that got past Keller in the opening 45 minutes was on an own goal. Dickov managed a weak shot, but as Keller came out to collect it, his defender Gary Doherty attempted to clear the ball on the bounce and instead hooked it over Keller's head into the empty net.

Things were different in the second half as Spurs lost control of the midfield and Leicester took charge. Ferdinand tied the match at 3-3 when his shot went through Dickov's legs and past the screended Keller. Bent provided a 4-3 lead into an empty net when Dickov collided with Keller, knocking him off the play though no fouls was called.

U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna and Manchester City came away with their first victory in their last 15 league matches with a surprise 3-1 road win at Bolton Wanderers. Reyna went the distance and helped control the midfield for City which used a pair of goals from Robbie Fowler and an own goal to secure a badly-needed victory.

U.S. striker Brian McBride and defender Carlos Bocanegra played 90 minutes for Fulham which dropped a hard fought match to Wolverhampton, 2-1.

McBride played well, but was twice denied by good saves from Wolves keeper Paul Jones. Bocanegra had an up-and-down match, making several good defensive stops, but was culpable, along with fellow defender Ian Pearce, on Carl Cort's winner for Wolves in the 50th minute.

Manchester United's somewhat indifferent play of late continued yesterday with a lifeless 1-1 draw with Leeds United.

Paul Scholes gave Man. U. a 1-0 lead into the 64th minute but, three minutes later, an unmarked Alan Smith got his head onto a cross from Didier Domi to beat U.S. keeper Tim Howard's desperate dive.

With the Champions League resuming play this week, Man U. (18-5-3, 57) fell seven points behind Arsenal (19-0-7) with 12 league matches remaining.


In the First Division. U.S. midfielder Eddie Lewis went 90 minutes for Preston North End which suffered a disappointing 2-1 loss to Millwall. After falling behind 1-0 on Paul Ifill's goal in first-half stoppage time, Preston tied the game on Claude Davis tally in the 70th minute, only to lose seven minutes later when Tim Cahill scored. .

Striker Jovan Kirovski left Birmingham City for Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy in part because former Columbus Crew striker Stern John became Birmingham's top front-line substitute. Yesterday, John came on in the 83rd minute and scored in stoppage time to allow Birmingham to draw with Aston Villa 2-2.


In Belgium, La Louviere and American defender Oguchi Onyewu could not hold a halftime lead and lost again, this time to Excelsior Mouscron 2-1. Oneywu picked up a yellow card in the 36th minute and was not as effective in the second half as Louviere conceded two late goals.

Onyewu's friend and former teammate on U.S youth teams, defender Alexander Yi's season appears in jeopardy at Royal Antwerp. His injured foot has been slow to respond to treatment and Yi is reportedly seeking additional medical care. He is not expected back.


In France, U.S. defender Greg Vanney never left the bench for Bastia which played a scoreless draw with Auxerre.
In the Netherlands, American defender John O'Brien was one of five missing starters for Ajax which still avenged an early season loss by defeating Twente 1-0, increasing its league lead to six points.

O'Brien continues to nurse a strained hamstring suffered February 13 in training.


In Portugal, American keeper Zach Thornton is now officially part of Benfica, issued jersey No. 12 as one of four keepers on the roster. He is yet to dress, as was the case in today's 3-2 setback to Nacional.

Thornton is eligible for UEFA Cup play with Benfica resuming action this week with a first-leg third-round match against Norway's Rosenborg.

Robert Wagman is a SoccerTimes senior correspondent. E-mail Robert Wagman.

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