• Monday, 14 May 2012

    TW3 #12

    Well that was dramatic...

    On a quite remarkable day in the Premier League, the title ended in the hands of Manchester City, Sergio Aguero's late, late goal capping a turnaround of quite large proportions. City were looking good to do something that only they ever could and chuck it all away, even after Joey Barton confirmed his idiot status by getting sent off after a contretemps with Carlos Tevez. Djibril Cissé, Lord of the Manor of Frodsham, kept up his record of either scoring or getting sent off in every game this season, but Edin Dzeko and Aguero struck in injury time to deny United who had won up at Sunderland.
    At the bottom, Bolton join Blackburn and Wolves in relegation after conceding two sloppy goals - one to a clear foul as the keeper was charged into the net like it was 1899 and one a very dubious penalty - to draw at Stoke. Bolton are massively over-leveraged and what happens to them from here could be very painful indeed. Arsenal, after a shambolic start to the season, finish third and in the Champions League places with Tottenham fourth and sweating on the result of the Champions League final next weekend. If Chelsea win that, it's the Europa League for Spurs.

    Speaking of Germany, Dortmund claimed a first ever league and cup double after a brilliant performance in Berlin's Olympiastadion against Bayern. From the off, they were unplayable. Shinji Kagawa, in what appears to be his last game for the Schwarzgelb, put them in front early on and, despite Arjen Robben equalising from the penalty spot, they looked in little danger from there. Mats Hummels bagged a penalty of his own, but Robert Lewandowski grabbed the headlines. The lanky Pole was unstoppable, countryman Kuba Blasczykowski similarly good and Kevin Grosskreutz also impressed. It was as complete a performance by any team in Europe this season.

    Galatasaray are champions of Turkey after a 0-0 draw with Fenerbahce. It wasn't the most noteworthy of games other than that, though both sides finished a man short, Issiar Dia for Fener and Gala's Tomas Ujfalusi both cautioned twice and sent off.

    Juventus completed a season without a defeat in winning Serie A. They beat Atalanta 3-1 and Alessandro del Piero, in his last game for the club, on the socresheet. Milan also bade farewell to a number of players - Gattuso, Nesta, Inzaghi, van Bommel, Zambrotta - after a 2-1 win over Novara. Udinese finish third and in the Champions League, another veteran helping them to a 2-0 win over Catania. Antonio di Natale, as if you couldn't guess. Lazio beat Inter to finish fourth and leave Inter outside the European places and Napoli finish fifth after Andrea Dossena scored twice in a 2-1 win over Siena. Genoa got the win that ensured survival - 2-0 against Palermo - which means that Lecce go down with Cesena and Novara. Lecce lost anyway, away to Chievo. Coming up are Pescara, but the other promotion and play-off places are to be decided in midweek.

    Villarreal drop out of Spain top division after a dramatic final day. Sporting Gijón lost to Málaga and go down - Málaga make it to fourth and Champions League - while Villarreal were sunk by a late Radamel Falcao goal. With 88 minutes on the clock, they were safe. Even after the goal, they were OK, but then Raul Tamudo bagged a winner for Rayo Vallecano against Granada and they were down. Zaragoza completed a remarkable escape in a foul-tempered match against Getafe who finished with eight players. A fourth straight win for Zaragoza where once they couldn't buy one. Incredible.
    Pep Guardiola's last league game in charge of Barcelona finished with a 2-2 draw against Real Betis while Real Madrid beat Mallorca to hit the 100-point mark. Falcao's goal gave Atléti fifth place and Levante beat Athletic to make it to sixth and Europa League football. Deportivo La Coruna are Segunda División champions, but there's one more round to go to decide the second promoted side and who goes into the play-offs.

    Montpellier are almost champions of France after beating Lille with a last-minute Karim Ait-Fana goal. Lille will be third and in the Champions League places. Nene hit a hat-trick to ease PSG past Rennes, but a point next week against relegated Auxerre will be enough for the south coast team to lift the title. Auxerre's 3-0 loss at Marseille condemned them to the drop, but it's two from seven to join them after next week's last round. Bastia are Ligue 2 champions and Reims and Troyes are also promoted.

    FC Twente have had a really poor end to the season, capped by a loss to RKC Waalwijk in the Europa League play-offs. RKC were promoted last season and this marks quite a rise. Furkan Alakmak got the only goal of the second leg after a 1-1 draw last Thursday to make it to the final where they'll face Vitesse who beat nine-man NEC 2-0 in the other game to overturn a one-goal deficit from the first leg.
    De Graafschap are down after a loss to Den Bosch. VVV are still in with a chance of maintaining their Eredivisie status after beating Cambuur Leeuwarden 4-3. At 3-3 with seconds left, Cambuur were through on away goals, but Michael Uchebo ensured they live to fight on. Willem II and Helmond Sport also won and progress to the final stage. It's Willem II against Den Bosch and Helmond against VVV, the winners of which will be in next season's Eredivisie.

    We marked your cards with a bit of South American football, but omitted to mention the Bolivian Clausura which came to a quite thrilling climax this weekend. San José led the way by a point from Oriente Petrolero and three from The Strongest and Real Potosí. Universitario and Blooming were only a point further back. The Strongest and San José went head-to-head with Luis Melgar sealing a 2-1 win with little over ten minutes to go. That wasn't enough as Oriente were leading by the same margin away to Nacional Potosí. But with five minutes of the season remaining, José Rios found an equaliser for Nacional and suddenly Oriente were dropped to third and The Strongest were top. The final table shows The Strongest win from San José and Oriente on goal difference, all three sides on 38 points. Universitario and Blooming are a point further back after both won, Blooming against Real Potosi who drop to sixth, but only three points from the summit. Incredible scenes, more than matching the drama in England.

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