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Moore's scoring streak comes to end in 1-1 draw; Keller, Rayo fall again.

By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
Willie Calderon (in Bristol, England)
Arne van Kalsbeek (in Amsterdam) and
Matthias Schneider (in Leverkusen, Germany)

(Monday, March 6, 2000) -- United States striker Joe-Max Moore saw his five-game scoring streak end this weekend when Everton drew with Sheffield Wednesday 1-1. Moore played the full 90 minutes.

With the draw, the club missed the opportunity to move into the top six of England's Premier League.

The match started off well with a few exchanges between Moore, Kevin Campbell, and John Collins. However, it wasn't until the 15th minute until Everton registered its first shot. Collins slid a free-kick across to Mark Pembridge whose 25-yard shot went over the crossbar.

Everton opened the scoring in the 34th minute. Nick Barmby, last weekend's hat-trick hero, sent a corner kick into the penalty box. Scottish defender David Weir headed the ball home for a 1-0 lead.

Sheffield Wednesday answered back a few minutes into the second half. Gerard Sibon crossed a pass into the penalty area and youngster Alan Quinn blasted a shot past Everton keeper Thomas Myrhe to even the score 1-1.

But the scoring chances that were few and far between. Wednesday is drifting towards relegation so it fought desperately and the match degraded into a scrappy affair with little or no technical skill being displayed. Moore and Campbell had little chance to establish any rhythm throughout the match.

In Scotland, U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna played the full 90 minutes for Glasgow Rangers who suffered a rare stumble at home at Ibrox, drawing with St. Johnstone 0-0.

The run of play was completely in Rangers favor, but time after time they sent their shots high or wide. When they were on target, Saints third-string goalkeeper Stephen Robertson made big saves. St. Johnstone's starting keeper Allan Ferguson, was carried off in the 43rd minute with a broken knee cap.

The good news for Rangers was that arch-rival Celtic was not able to gain ground after losing to Hibernian 2-1. This sets up Wednesday's "Old Firm" showdown. If Rangers, now nine points ahead of Celtic can win, that will all but wrap up the Scottish League title.

Rayo Vallecano, with its American goalkeeper Kasey Keller, lost at home to surging Alaves 1-0 on a 70th-minute tip-in by Oscar Tellez which just eluded Keller's dive.

Alaves played extremely defensively to stay in the match in a sun-baked Teresa Rivero stadium in Madrid, allowing Rayo little room all day.

It was the introduction of Javi Moreno in the 64th minute which turned the game the visitors' way. Six minutes after coming on, the midfielder knocked the ball towards goal from a corner, and Tellez stuck out a boot to change the direction of the ball completely and it found its way past Keller from six yards out to silence the crowd.

Except for Tellez's well placed shot, both Keller and Alaves' keeper Martin Herrera had fine afternoons.

The victory moved Alaves into second place in the Primera Division, and it could well qualify for play in Europe next season. Alaves had been a preseason favorite for relegation. Rayo, meanwhile, after its sensational start, continues to drift lower in the standings. Now in 12th place, it is approaching the relegation danger zone.

In the Netherlands second division, American midfielder Ernie Stewart played the complete match and scored in the 59th minute for NAC, which strengthened its chances for promotion by increasing its hold on first-place to four points with a 3-1 away victory against Dordrecht '90.

In the first division, Ajax played well but was only able to earn a 0-0 draw away at FC Twente. U.S. midfielder John O'Brien played the entire match. The 13,200 fans in attendance, some who made the trip from Amsterdam, amused themselves by lobbing firecrackers at one another.

Ajax showed quite some progress in comparison to its poor showings in December and January, but failed to score despite a number of good chances. O'Brien played well in a defensive role and received a yellow card in the 23d minute. Given his level of play, he should have earned more playing time in the next few games.

In Germany, American midfielders Tony Sanneh and Frankie Hedjuk both failed to see any action last week.

For Sanneh's Hertha Berlin, it was a roller coaster week. On Wednesday, in its home leg Champions League quarterfinal opener, it drew with Sparta Prague 1-1 after permitting a ghastly 85th minute own goal. Hertha's chances of advancement hinge on the return match in Prague.

On Saturday, Hertha came from behind to defeat SpVgg Unterhaching 2-1 in Bundesliga play.

Hedjuk's Bayer Leverkusen continued its fine play with a 3-1 victory over Kaiserslautern.

Landon Donovan played the full 90 minutes as Leverkusen's reserve side earned a 1-1 draw with Wattenscheid. He did not score, but had several good chances. Hedjuk, still bothered by injuries, did not play in this reserve match either.

Back in England, U.S. goalkeeper Ian Feuer sat on the bench again for West Ham, watching Canadian international Craig Forrest start in a 2-1 defeat of Watford. It does look as though Feuer will be West Ham's backup after Sasa Ilic was relegated to the reserves. Ilic will likely be sent back to Charlton after a miserable match last week against Everton.

Senior correspondent Robert Wagman can be e-mailed at SoccerWag1@aol.com. Willy Calderon, an American living in Bristol, England, can be e-mailed at willy@netcity.co.uk. Arne van Kalsbeek lives in Amsterdam and writes for the English language web site Ajax Mania. Matthias Schneider lives in Leverkusen, Germany and is employed by Bayer Leverkusen as an English-language translator.

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