The just-concluded weekend lived up to the pre-hype, as teams in Europe’s major leagues served out premium entertainment. There were twists and turns as clubs sealed their spots in next season’s continental competitions, while others managed to retain their top-flight status for the new campaign.
Elsewhere, it was farewell as players and clubs parted ways such as Erling Haaland, Lukasz Piszczek, Marcel Schmelzer and Axel Witsel for Borussia Dortmund, Tom Rogic for Celtic Football Club, John Brooks for Wolfsburg, Luis Suarez for Atletico Madrid, et al while in England and Italy, the title race is set to go into the final week as Liverpool and Manchester City, together with AC Milan and Inter Milan will be vying for the right to be called Kings of their respective leagues.
We at Apex Football will be looking at the big talking points that highlighted the latest round of club football games and competitions in Europe.
LIVERPOOL SEAL EIGHTH F.A. CUP:
Merseyside outfit Liverpool Football Club over the weekend at the prestigious Wembley Stadium, emerged champions of the 2021/2022 English FA Cup by defeating West London side Chelsea via penalties.
Scores were locked at 0-0 at the end of regulation time and extra-time, with spot-kicks needed to determine the winner. Cesar Azpilicueta and Mason Mount missed for the Blues, while Sadio Mane failed to put away his penalty but the heroes were Allison Becker who saved Mount’s effort and Kostantinos Tsimikas – who converted the winning spot-kick to give the Reds their eighth FA Cup title and a first since 2006.
As for Chelsea, they have now set the unwanted record of being the first team to lose in the Final of the FA Cup THREE TIMES.
HAALAND LEAVES BORUSSIA DORTMUND WITH A BANG:
Norwegian striker Erling Haaland wrapped up his two-and-a-half year stint with Borussia Dortmund with a goal, as the Black and Yellow earned a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Hertha Berlin at the Signal Iduna Park in their final game of the 2021/2022 Bundesliga season.
The 21 year-old restored parity for BVB via a second half penalty, after Hertha Berlin had taken a first half lead through Ishak Belfodil before Youssoufa Moukoko struck later on to wrap up the points for the hosts.
One of the sport’s biggest names at the moment, Haaland ensured he left BVB faithful with something in which they will remember him by ahead of his move to Premier League giants Manchester City this summer.
During Haaland’s time at Borussia Dortmund, he found the back of the net 86 times in 89 appearances.
LEWANDOWSKI’S LAST GAME FOR BAYERN MUNICH?
Polish international Robert Lewandowski may just have featured for Bayern Munich for the last time. The prolific hitman was on song as the Bavarians played out a 2-2 draw away to Wolfsburg on the final Bundesliga Matchday but speculations about his future continue to make the headlines.
Lewandowski had previously stated that he will not sign a new deal with the record Bundesliga champions, with his current deal running out in 2023 and the Poland international has expressed his desire to try his luck elsewhere ahead of next season.
The 33 year-old revealed: “It is very possible that this was my last game in Bayern Munich’s colours, I can’t be 100 percent sure, but it is possible that it was. We want to find the best solution for myself and for the club.”
But Bayern president Herbert Hainer has warned Robert Lewandowski that the Bavarians are not willing to part ways with their striker until his current contract is over. Hainer didn’t hesitate to respond to Lewandowski’s remarks, confirming on Sunday that the player turned down the club’s offer to renew his deal. “Lewandowski has a contract until 2023 and he will play with us until then,” Hainer said.
PREMIER LEAGUE TOP-FOUR BATTLE YET TO BE DECIDED:
The Top-Four battle in England is truly shaping up in the best possible way, as Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs look to outdo each other in the race for UEFA Champions League football next season.
It started with the Lilywhites who defeated relegation-threatened Burnley 1-0 at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium. England striker Harry Kane tucked away a first-half penalty to gift Spurs the win and move them up to fourth position on the log – although, they have played a game more than rivals Arsenal, who travel to St. James’ Park to take on Newcastle United on Monday night.
Victory for the Gunners would see them leapfrog Tottenham Hotspurs to the fourth position on the table.
PREMIER LEAGUE WINNERS SET TO BE KNOWN IN THE FINAL GAMEWEEK:
As Matchday 37 of the Premier League came by, Liverpool would have been hopeful of West Ham United doing them a favour – which they got as the Hammers played out a 2-2 draw at the London Stadium with Manchester City.
Jarrod Bowen’s double had set the Hammers on their way in what could have been a shock defeat for the reigning PL champions, but the Cityzens stormed back in the second half and could have nicked it late on – had it not been for Riyad Mahrez’s missed penalty.
Should Liverpool get all three points away at Southampton on Tuesday, there would only be a point difference between the Reds and the Cityzens, which makes things interesting on the final day. The Reds would need a win over Wolverhampton Wanderers while hoping that Man City do not overcome Aston Villa.
Pretty sure that Villa manager Steven Gerrard who was a former player and skipper for Liverpool would be looking to do his former side a huge favour. Even former player Phillipe Coutinho who recently sealed a permanent switch to Villa would be seeking to inflict injury on Manchester City, in order to help Jurgen Klopp’s side land the 2021/2022 PL crown.
FIREWORKS TO BE UNLEASHED AS SERIE A PROMISES FINAL DAY EXCITEMENT:
The 2021/2022 Serie A campaign will reach its climax later this week with so much left to be decided and contested for.
It is unbelievable that the top-flight title is yet to have a winner but that is the case, as challengers and fierce rivals AC Milan and Inter Milan both won their respective clashes to send the title race to the last Matchday.
The Rossoneri were full value on Sunday as they saw off Atalanta 2-0 at San Siro, while the Nerazzurri earned a 3-1 away victory at Cagliari. The win maintains AC Milan’s two-point lead over Inter as they go to battle on the final day but Atalanta would need results to go their way, if they are to play European continental football next season.
As for Inter Milan, only a win over Sampdoria coupled with a loss for their crosstown rivals AC Milan to Sassuolo on the final day will guarantee them back-to-back Scudetto titles.
As for the European places, it is set to go down on the final Matchday as AS Roma, Fiorentina and Atalanta all have a chance to outpace each other depending on results on the day.
In regards to relegation, Venezia’s campaign in the top-flight is over after their 1-1 draw with Roma last time out, but the battle to beat the drop will be between the likes of Salernitana, Caglairi and Genoa.
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