European football roundup: Man City, Inter, Bayern seal titles; UCL final all-English affair

Thomas Tuchel’s side gave the Citizens a reality check for the second time on the trot, following a narrow victory in the FA Cup last-four stage.

Chelsea’s Spanish defender Marcos Alonso (middle) shoots over Manchester City’s Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson to score a late winner in the English Premier League at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.   -  AFP

Premier League table-topper Manchester City (80 points) and third-placed Chelsea (64) reached the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League final in brilliant fashion midweek and were immediately involved in a dress rehearsal during round 35 of the ongoing Premier League season. After overcoming Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 on aggregate in the CL semifinals, Man City had the chance to seal a seventh English top-division title. However, Thomas Tuchel’s side gave the Citizens a reality check for the second time on the trot, following a narrow victory in the FA Cup last-four stage. Chelsea came from behind and stunned Pep Guardiola’s men 2-1 with a stoppage-time winner from Marcos Alonso. This result consolidated the Blues position in the top four. Meanwhile, second-placed Manchester United (70), who brushed aside AS Roma to book a Europa League summit clash against Villarreal, kept the title race mathematically alive after a 3-1 triumph at Aston Villa. Leicester City’s (63) woes continued ahead of its FA Cup showdown with Chelsea next week as it moved down to fourth following a 2-4 loss to Newcastle United. Defeats at the hands of Everton (55) and Leeds United (50), respectively, put a dent in the Champions League hopes of West Ham (58) and Tottenham (56). Liverpool (57) came out on top against Southampton to move up to sixth, while Arsenal (52) snatched ninth, relegating West Brom in the process.

READ: United hands City Premier League title with 2-1 loss to Leicester

La Liga

Atletico Madrid (77 points) somehow managed to hold on to its spot at the pinnacle of the 2020-21 La Liga standings despite providing both Real Madrid (75) and Barcelona (75) opportunities to move to the top. Following a disappointing 1-3 aggregate loss to Chelsea in the Champions Leagues semis, Zinedine Zidane’s team held fourth-placed Sevilla (71) to a 2-2 draw thanks to a late equaliser from Eden Hazard. A win would have handed the advantage to Los Blancos with just three gameweeks to go. On the other hand, Barca’s defeat against Granada halted its title chase and pushed it to third on head-to-head record. Diego Simeone’s Atleti put behind the 1-2 loss to Athletic Bilbao and beat Elche away before playing out a goalless affair at Barcelona. Real Sociedad (56) sat firmly in fifth after sixth-placed Villarreal (52) faltered 2-4 at home against Celta Vigo. Unai Emery’s El Subamrino Amarillo had trumped Arsenal to make the Europa League final a few days ago. Six consecutive draws kept Real Betis (51) in seventh, while Celta (47), Bilbao (46) and Granada (45) are still alive in the race for the European positions.

READ: Barca squanders lead twice to draw at Levante in blow to title hopes

Serie A

Inter Milan (85 points) dethroned Juventus as the Serie A champion after nine years and claimed its first Scudetto title since 2010 following a 0-2 victory over Crotone. Antonio Conte’s outfit then thumped Sampdoria 5-1 to get closer to the 90-point mark with only three rounds of games to go. Atalanta (72) moved to second after a 5-2 thrashing of Parma. However, the biggest talking point of the week was AC Milan’s 3-0 drubbing at Juventus. The defeat left Andrea Pirlo’s side (69) languishing in fifth, increasing the possibility of Juve missing out on Champions League football next season. Stefano Pioli-managed Rossoneri (72) have recovered from two straight defeats to register two consecutive wins and occupy the third spot on the head-to-head record. Napoli (70) grabbed fourth place following a 4-1 triumph against Spezia. Lazio (64) still has an outside chance to bag a CL spot, but Roma’s (58) loss at Sampdoria put it out of the race. Meanwhile, Atalanta and Juventus will contest the Coppa Italia final in the coming week.

Inter Milan’s head coach Antonio Conte (centre), celebrates with his teammates after thumping Sampdoria 5-1 in Serie A. With only three rounds of games to go, Inter Milan dethroned Juventus as the Serie A champion after nine years and claimed its first Scudetto title since 2010.   -  AP

 

READ: Inter Milan wins Serie A after 11 years: How the title was won

Bundesliga

Bayern Munich (74 points) was crowned the 2020-21 Bundesliga champion after RB Leipzig (64) lost 2-3 to Borussia Dortmund (58) during matchweek 32. Head coach Hansi Flick, who is set to leave Bayern at the end of the season and potentially join the German national football team, guided his club to a ninth straight league title. The Bavarians celebrated the triumph by blanking Borussia Monchengladbach 6-0 at the Allianz Arena. Julian Nagelsmann, who will move to Munich in the 2021-22 edition, has all but sealed a second-place finish for his current employer Leipzig. Dortmund moved to fourth, and within two points off Wolfsburg (60) in third, with a fifth consecutive victory in the competition. Edin Terzic’s Die Borussen will also take on Nagelsmann’s Die Roten Bullen in the upcoming DFB Pokal summit clash. Eintracht Frankfurt (57) and Bayer Leverkusen (51) currently occupy the fifth and sixth European spots in the points table, while Monchengladbach (46), Union Berlin (46), Freiburg (44) and Stuttgart (42) close out the top 10.

READ: Bayern Munich seals ninth Bundesliga title

Ligue 1

Paris Saint-Germain’s week went from bad to worse as it exited the Champions League and dropped two more points in the title race. League leader Lille OSC (79) now has a three-point advantage over the three-time defending champion PSG (76) with just two matches remaining. The Mauricio Pochettino-managed team’s hopes of at least completing a domestic double hit a huge roadblock when it was held 1-1 by seventh-placed Rennes (55). Les Parisiens has a tough couple of fixtures coming up, including a Coupe de France semifinal against Montpellier (50), which is currently eighth in the 2020-21 Ligue 1.

READ: PSG title chances dented by 1-1 draw at Rennes

AS Monaco (74), which also has a French Cup last-four fixture against fourth-tier club Rumilly Vallieres, retained its third spot despite losing 2-3 at home to fellow contender Olympique Lyonnais (73) before edging past Reims 1-0 away. Lyon had thrashed Lorient 4-1 in its most recent encounter to keep its CL hopes alive. Marseille (56), Lens (56) and Rennes are battling it out to seal the Europa Conference League qualification position.