Bendtner keeps Everton waiting for UEFA Cup spot

London, May 4:

Everton missed a chance to wrap up a UEFA Cup spot as Nicklas Bendtner’s late goal condemned David Moyes’s side to a 1-0 defeat against Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday.

With 13 minutes left to play, Everton were on course to claim the point they needed to secure fifth place and guarantee European football next season. But Bendtner’s powerful header left them to sweat for another week.

Now the Toffees have to avoid defeat at home to Newcastle next Sunday to ensure they finish above Aston Villa, who remain three points behind Moyes’s side.

Bendtner’s winner gave Arsenal a third successive victory but Arsene Wenger’s emerging young squad will have to settle for the promise of better things to come. Villa’s defeat against Wigan on Saturday had left Everton within touching distance of another continental campaign. A draw would have been enough for Everton so Moyes opted to deploy Andy Johnson as the lone striker and leave Ayegbeni Yakubu on the bench.

In contrast, Arsenal had nothing more than pride to play for. Their fading title challenge was extinguished by Manchester United’s win 24 hours earlier and there was an unfamiliar look about Wenger’s experimental team, with Cesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini among the notable absentees watching from the stands.

Still, Everton could take nothing for granted. They would hardly have been encouraged by their miserable record at Arsenal, where they were without a victory since January 1996.

After coasting for much of the match, Arsenal suddenly sprang into life in the 77th minute. Bendtner’s pass sent Armand Traore away down the left and the young full-back returned the favour with a perfectly-flighted cross. Bendtner thrives on such offerings and rose above Phil Jagielka to power his header past Howard. Everton couldn’t muster a response and face a nervous wait to claim that top five finish.

Spanish La Liga

MADRID: Teenage midfielder Ignacio Camacho scored two goals to lead Atletico Madrid over Recreativo Huelva 3-0 in the Spanish league here on Saturday. The win tightens Atletico’s grip on the fourth Champions League qualifying place.

Camacho beat goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino to a cross in the 23rd minute to head in his first league goal on the eve of his 18th birthday.

In the 75th, he swiveled to score from a loose ball. Sergio Aguero scored in the 54th after sliding in Maxi Rodriguez’s centering pass.

Atletico is fourth with 58 points, five more than Racing Santander and six better than Sevilla.

Defender Roberto Ayala scored on the last play of the game to give Zaragoza a 1-0 victory over Deportivo La Coruna to lift them out of the relegation zone into 16th with 41 points.

Leader Real Madrid can in effect clinch their record 31st league trophy before they play Osasuna later on Sunday if Villarreal fails to defeat Getafe earlier in the day.

Defending champion Madrid lead with 75 points and Villarreal have 65 with four games remaining for both teams. Madrid have the superior head-to-head record if both the teams finish with the same points total. FC Barcelona are out of contention with 61 points.