• Tuesday, 24 April 2012

    TW3 #9

    Protests. Two of them this weekend and for very different reasons. Sevilla fans weren't taking the fact their game at home to Levante was held back until 10:30 - meaning it finished the following day - so that TV could analyse every last second of the clasico that went before it. With banners such as "stop the game, Mou is talking", a shower of tennis balls rained down onto the field in scenes reminiscent of those at FC Basel when their game was held back because Roger Federer was playing tennis. Heaven help us if the World Snooker Championships ever takes precedence over a football game. You could really hurt someone with a cue ball.

    A protest of a different sort in Genoa where they're in all sorts of trouble at the wrong end of Serie A having spent a fair wedge to get there. Supporters launched fireworks onto the field which left the referee with no option but to take the players from the field. The Genoa players stayed out to remonstrate with the fans, but a number demanded that the players hand over their shirts as they were not worthy of them. Ten shirts were handed over, Giuseppe Sculli the refusenik. Eventually, the fans were persuaded to return to the stands where they observed the remainder of the game with backs turned to the pitch. Siena ran out 4-1 winners and on Monday morning Alberto Malesani was sacked. To be sacked from a club once in a season is bad. For the same club to sack you twice is perversely impressive. Genoa sit one point and one place above the drop zone.

    On to the actual football and that clasico then. Real Madrid won it against a tired looking Barcelona. El Real are not about to drop eight points in the remaining four games and the title will be theirs. Valencia strengthened their grip on third place after thumping woeful, nine-man Real Betis, but are a whopping 33 points behind El Real. Racing are down after losing to Athletic. A win for Granada and a point for Villarreal means that Sporting and Zaragoza are going to join them before too long.

    Dortmund sealed their second successive championship with a 2-0 win over Gladbach. Bayern came from behind to beat Bremen with Franck Ribéry scoring a last-minute winner, but it mattered not with Dortmund's win. Bayern will finish second, Schalke and Gladbach are fighting for third while Stuttgart need a series of events to go their way to pip Gladbach for fourth. Lautern won for only the fourth time this season, a 2-1 win in Berlin against Hertha, a result that leaves Hertha in deep trouble. The problem for Lautern is that Koln's point against Stuttgart was enough to condemn them to 2.Bundesliga football next season. They'll be replaced by Greuther Fürth whose point against FSV Frankfurt on Friday was enough to seal promotion and they're joined by Eintracht Frankfurt who beat bottom side Alemannia Aachen on Monday.

    When is a championship not a championship? When it's mired in the increasingly odd world of Swiss football. Basel took an unassailable 16-point lead in the standings after a 3-0 win over Sion, but refused to celebrate as second-placed Luzern are appealing against a decision regarding two competition points they feel should be theirs after the Sion ineligibility row. Basel have said they'll only celebrate when they're out of range even should the points be reinstated. Meanwhile Young Boys and FC Zurich have been refused licenses to operate next season, joining Servette and Neuchatel Xamax in that regard. Seven second-tier clubs are also subject to the same penalty.

    Sint-Truiden were relegated from Belgium's top flight after losing the fourth game of their play-off with Westerlo. The fifth game will not now be needed, Westerlo having won three of the first four. Anderlecht opened up a five-point gap in the championship play-offs by beating Club Brugge. Five games remain there. In the Turkish championship play-offs, Galatasaray were beaten by Fenerbahce, closing the gap to two points with four games to go. Besiktas and Trabzonspor cannot win it - it's a straight fight between Gala and Fener. Ajax need one more win for a second successive Eredivisie title as the top five all won. They're six clear of AZ, but one point covers second to fifth in the chase for Champions League football. A draw for Heerenveen at home to Vitesse sees them drop back. The French title race rumbles on as Montpellier and PSG both won - the Parisians 6-1 at home to Sochaux - leaving the gap at two points. Zenit's lead in Russia was trimmed to 12 points after a draw with Kuban Krasnodar, but with just four games to go, one more point will do it. They're at home to second-placed Dinamo Moscow next week as well.

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