TURIN, Italy - American midfielder Clint Dempsey returned from a 7½-week layoff, entering as a second-half substitute Thursday night as Fulham lost to Juventus 3-1 in the first leg of the Europa League's third round.
The 27-year-old from Nacogdoches, Texas, replaced Simon Davies in the 61st minute, his first appearance since injuring his right knee in a Premier League game against Blackburn on Jan. 17. It was initially feared that the injury might cause him to miss the World Cup, but the Cottagers said two days later that Dempsey's knee had sustained only moderate damage.
Dempsey has 17 goals in 60 international appearances for the U.S. and seven goals this season for Fulham, including six in the Premier League.
Juventus, a two-time European champion, got goals from Nicola Legrottaglie in the ninth minute, Jonathan Zebina in the 25th and David Trezeguet in the third minute of first-half stoppage time. Dickson Etuhu scored in the 36th minute for the Cottagers.
The return leg of the home-and-home, total-goal series is at Craven Cottage on March 18.