European Weekend Rewind: Barcelona and PSG clinch titles; Milan tie Roma; and more

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By JUSTIN FERGUSON

Two more top European league titles were secured over the weekend, with FC Barcelona and Paris St. Germain making additions to their trophy cases.

Barcelona battled back from an early deficit to beat Atletico Madrid on Sunday, though they had clinched their fourth La Liga title in five years the day before courtesy of an Espanyol draw vs. Real Madrid.

Down by one goal and one man with 20 minutes left on Sunday, Barcelona found an 80th minute winner when a deflected David Villa goal gave Barca the victory on a day that saw Lionel Messi limp off with a hamstring injury. The injury helped snap Messi’s streak of consecutive league matches with a goal at 21.

In Paris, PSG won their first Ligue 1 title in 19 years courtesy of a 1-0 road win vs. third-place Lyon.

Jeremy Menez’s goal early in the second half was all the Parisians needed to secure their third league title, and the tenth domestic championship for both  Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham.

Here is a closer look at the rest of the results from this weekend’s top action in Europe:

ENGLAND

Relegation-threatened Wigan Athletic pulled the stunner of the weekend, a 1-0 upset of Manchester City in the club’s first FA Cup Final. The Latics frustrated City for the most of the match and never let the second-place club exert their expected dominance over them. Goalkeeper Joel Robles made several huge saves in the second half to pave the way for a late Wigan winner. Substitute Ben Watson headed Shaun Maloney’s corner kick just under the crossbar in the first minute of second half stoppage time. After their historic upset, Wigan now turn their attention to Tuesday’s Premier League match with Champions League contender Arsenal. The Latics will need all three points to stay alive in their fight to avoid relegation and avoid becoming the first FA Cup champion to drop down a division.

The two clubs Arsenal are chasing in the battle for the Champions League each picked up huge 2-1 comeback victories this weekend. Chelsea secured their spot in the top four Saturday with an emotional win at Aston Villa. Christian Benteke gave the host Villans an early lead with his 19th goal of the season, but the Belgian striker’s red card opened the door for Frank Lampard to make history. The English midfielder tied and broke the all-time Chelsea scoring record with a brace in the final half-hour of the match. His 89th-minute tap-in broke Bobby Tambling’s record of 202 goals as a Blue and sealed the three points Chelsea needed before Wednesday’s Europa League final versus Benfica.

Tottenham moved past North London rival Arsenal and into fourth place in the league with a home win over Stoke City. Steven Nzonzi headed in a goal just three minutes into the match, but Clint Dempsey impressively equalized 17 minutes later off a bad Stoke clearance. The American midfielder later played a role in Tottenham’s vital winner in the 83rd minute by setting up Emmanuel Adebayor with a well-placed cross. The win gives Tottenham a two-point lead over Arsenal, who face Wigan before next Sunday’s finale at Newcastle.

Here are the results from this weekend’s Premier League action:

Chelsea 2, Aston Villa 1
Tottenham Hotspur 2, Stoke City 1
Everton 2, West Ham United 0
Liverpool 3, Fulham 1
Norwich City 4, West Bromwich Albion 0
Newcastle United 2, QPR 1
Sunderland 1, Southampton 1
Manchester United 2, Swansea City 1

FA CUP FINAL: Wigan Athletic 1, Manchester City 0

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SPAIN

Real Madrid’s lackluster performance in a 1-1 draw with Espanyol not only gifted Barcelona the title, but it handed the club more problems ahead of their Copa del Rey final with city rivals Atletico. Rising young defender Raphael Varane could miss the rest of the season after injuring his knee early in the match on Saturday. Espanyol added insult to Varane’s injury minutes later with a 23rd-minute goal from Christian Stuani. The hosts had a goal incorrectly ruled out before the halftime whistle, and Real took advantage with a Gonzalo Higuain equalizer early in the second half. Neither side were able to pull ahead in a card-heavy ending which sent Real’s title back to Barcelona.

Valencia kept the Champions League pressure on Real Sociedad with their second straight 4-0 win on Sunday. The Valencia win dropped Sociedad one point behind ahead of Sociedad’s match with Granada on Monday. Roberto Soldado recorded a first-half brace against host Rayo Vallecano, who continue their miserable slide down the league table. Both sides will have three matches left in their race for fourth place after Monday’s Sociedad-Granada showdown.

Here are the results from this weekend’s La Liga action:

Levante 0, Real Zaragoza 0
Athletic Bilbao 2, Mallorca 1
Real Valladolid 1, Deportivo La Coruna 0
Osasuna 1, Getafe 0
Espanyol 1, Real Madrid 1
Valencia 4, Rayo Vallecano 0
Real Betis 1, Celta Vigo 0
Barcelona 2, Atletico Madrid 1
Malaga 0, Sevilla 0

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GERMANY

There will be high drama in Germany next Saturday, the final day of action in the Bundesliga season. Schalke were one win away from Champions League qualification heading into their home match with Stuttgart. Vedad Ibisevic’s double led the way for a shock win for the visitors. The Schalke loss came hours after manager Jans Keller extended his contract with the club, who failed to take advantage of several opportunities to score on Saturday. Schalke’s only goal of the match came deep into stoppage time on an own goal by Georg Niedermeier.

Freiburg took advantage of Schalke’s loss on Saturday with a 2-1 comeback win at last-place Greuther Furth. The rock-bottom side seemed close to their first home victory of the season after holding onto a quick lead for most of the match, but Freiburg hit back with two  goals in the span of 10 minutes. Nikola Djurdjic almost equalized for the hosts in stoppage time, but Oliver Baumann kept his side’s Champions League hopes alive with a diving penalty save. Freiburg, now down one point in the race for fourth, host Schalke in a massive match next weekend.

Here are the results from this weekend’s Bundesliga action:

Bayer Leverkusen 3, Hannover 1
Bayern Munich 3, Augsburg 0
Nurnberg 2, Dusseldorf 1
Borussia Monchengladbach 4, Mainz 2
Stuttgart 2, Schalke 1
Freiburg 2, Greuther Furth 1
Hamburg 4, Hoffenheim 1
Wolfsburg 3, Dortmund 3
Werder Bremen 1, Eintracht Frankfurt 1

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ITALY

AC Milan failed to clinch a spot in next season’s Champions League after playing out a scoreless draw with Roma that was ugly in more ways than one. After a stretch of back-and-forth play, Mario Balotelli received a yellow card for what looked to be a weak foul. Sulley Muntari received two yellow cards for arguing with the officials after the foul call and had to be physically restrained. The official, instituting a new Serie A rule, halted the match minutes later when visiting Roma fans began racist chants at Milan players. Francesco Totti received a red card in second half stoppage time for an elbow on Philippe Mexes, putting a halt to the Roma attack. The draw eliminated Roma from European contention as they are now four points back from fifth place with only one match remaining.

The result allowed Fiorentina to move two points behind Milan in the race for the final Champions League spot. The Viola had been victorious earlier on Sunday, defeating Palermo 1-0 at home. Luca Toni’s goal just before halftime was enough for Fiorentina to make up ground and secure Palermo’s relegation to Serie B. The Rosanero, who have changed managers 10 times since early 2011, were competing for Champions League spots just three short years ago. Palermo will join Siena and US Pescara in a move back down to Italy’s second division. Fiorentina visit last-place Pescara next week in hopes of a win—if Milan drop points at Siena—to get them a third-place finish.

Here are the results from this weekend’s Serie A action:

Juventus 1, Cagliari 1
Catania 1, US Pescara 0
Chievo Verona 1, Torino 1
Fiorentina 1, Palermo 0
Genoa 0, Inter Milan 0
Lazio 2, Sampdoria 0
Napoli 2, Siena 1
Udinese 2, Atalanta 1
Bologna 2, Parma 0
AC Milan 0, AS Roma 0

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FRANCE

Evian Thonon Gaillard pulled off possibly the second-biggest upset in Europe this weekend by crushing Champions League hopeful Nice 4-0. Evian controlled the flow of play the entire match and made most of their chances in front of goal. The win, which comes off the heels of another 4-0 win in the French Cup earlier this week, brought Evian out of the drop zone. The club is two points above the relegation line with two matches remaining, both against midtable sides. Nancy and Troyes trail safe Evian by two and three points respectively in the relegation fight.

Here are the results from this weekend’s Ligue 1 action:

Lille 3, Stade de Reims 0
Marseille 2, Toulouse 1
Bastia 3, Montpellier 1
Bordeaux 3, Nancy 2
Sochaux 2, Brest 0
Valenciennes 4, Stade Rennes 1
Lorient 3, Saint Etienne 1
Evian Thonon 4, Nice 0
PSG 1, Lyon 0

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What do you make of these results? Surprised at Barcelona’s comeback after Messi’s injury? Thoughts on PSG clinching their long-awaited title? Think Jermaine Jones and Schalke can hold onto the final Champions League spot in Germany? Disappointed in Michael Bradley’s AS Roma side for their performance at Milan? Any final thoughts on Wigan’s upset?

Share your comments below.

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2 Responses to European Weekend Rewind: Barcelona and PSG clinch titles; Milan tie Roma; and more

  1. RK says:

    Varane is having surgery; if he’s seriously hurt, it could make an interesting story for Pepe over the summer….

  2. Rabid RBNY says:

    Odds on a network carrying the Schalke vs Friberg match?