U.S. Men's schedule
Friedel's heroics put Blackburn within grasp of Worthington Cup final defeating host Sheffield Wednesday 2-1.By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
and Joel Lange (in England)
(Thursday, January 10, 2002) -- Brad Friedel was sensational in goal, leading visiting Blackburn Rovers to a 2-1 decision over Sheffield Wednesday before 30,883 at Hillsborough Tuesday, placing Rovers one step away from the Worthington Cup championship match.
Friedel could wind up facing his United States goalkeeping mate Kasey Keller in that final, but Tottenham Hotspur probably will need to strengthen its performance in a 2-1 loss to host Chelsea to earn a trip to Worthington title match February 24 at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
In two weeks, return legs at home await both Americans’ sides in these home-and-home, aggregate-goal semifinals.
Friedel made two magnificent stops in the opening half and with Craig Hignett scoring in the 28th minute and Andy Cole finding net in the 39th, Rovers were able to take a 2-0 advantage into intermission.
In the opening minute, Argentinian striker Pablo Bonvin put a perfect cross from the left-flank to an unmarked Paul McLaren, but Friedel was able to react quickly and punch McLaren’s eight-yard driven header over the crossbbar.
In the 22nd minute, Friedel sprawled to deny Bonvin who had been sent clear by a perfect through pass from Matthew Hamshaw.
Sheffield stormed back in the second half, exploiting a major defensive breakdown in the 54th minute to narrow its deficit to 2-1. Phil O'Donnell, open on the left flank, crossed to Efan Ekoku, who scored from close range.
Friedel prevented Ekoku adding a second goal and then made his best save of the day in the 70th minute. Wednesday’s Andy Hinchcliffe hit a fine free kick to fellow reserve Tony Crane but his drive was palmed wide by Friedel.
Yesterday, Dutch striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink provided both goals in Chelsea’s nationally-televised triumph over Tottenham and might have had another pair if it weren’t for the brilliance of Keller before 37,264 at Stamford Bridge.
Ten minutes into the match, Eidur Gudjohnsen threaded the ball through to Hasselbaink, who, in full stride blasted a 10-yard left-footer which sailed past Keller’s desperate dive.
In the 22nd minute Hasselbaink had a well placed free kick denied on a fine save from Keller.
In the 63rd minute, Hasselbaink exploited a failed offside trap, but could not beat Keller.
Les Ferdinand tied the match at 1-1 for Spurs in the 65th minute, but 12 minutes later a disputed call and ultimately Keller’s mistaken split-second recation undid Spurs.
After Spurs loudly disputed a hand-ball call 25 yards from their goal, Hasselbaink unleashed a powerful, curling right-footer just inside the far post. Keller initially moved in the wrong direction; when he properly discerned the direction of the shot, his feet were rooted and he could only watch the shot tuck into the corner.
Senior correspondent Robert Wagman compiled and edited this column. He
can be e-mailed at email@example.com.
Senior correspondent Robert Wagman compiled and edited this column. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.