Five things we learned in Euro football this weekend

The title race is now effectively over in Spain after Barcelona beat Atlético Madrid on Saturday, but it’s back on in Germany while Paris Saint-Germain contrived to squander the chance to clinch the French crown.

Take a look back at some of the main talking points from across the continent:

All over for Atletico 

Any lingering hopes Atlético Madrid had of turning the final seven games of La Liga into a title race were dashed as Barcelona beat them 2-0 to move 11 points clear at the top of the table.

Atlético coach Diego Simeone had admitted winning at the Camp Nou was the “only option” to revive their stuttering challenge but the task was made harder after Diego Costa was sent off in the 28th minute for insulting referee Gil Manzano.

Even with 10 men, Atleti almost held on for a point, only for Luis Suarez to break their resistance with five minutes left, a brilliant curling shot nestling in the corner. Lionel Messi added a second a minute later to round off the victory, and leave Barca with one hand on the league trophy.


Choupo-Moting will go down in PSG legend 

A surprise signing back in August destined to be a back-up to Paris Saint-Germain’s all-star attack, injuries have given Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting a run in the team.

The Cameroon international has become something of a cult hero at the Parc des Princes and put his side ahead in Sunday’s game against Strasbourg with his third league goal of the season.

But his extraordinary miss later on, turning a net-bound Christopher Nkunku shot onto the post while standing on the line, saw jaws hit the floor in the stadium.

It proved crucial in denying PSG the chance to wrap up the Ligue 1 title. The score was 1-1 at the time, and Thomas Tuchel’s side — needing a win to be crowned champions — ended up drawing 2-2.

“Sorry about that,” Choupo-Moting said later.

One thing is for sure though — Choupo-Moting will now never be forgotten in Paris.

Kovac can jump for joy 

Bayern Munich’s bombastic return to the top of the Bundesliga table had coach Niko Kovac understandably jumping for joy on Saturday.

Kovac has been under pressure in recent weeks, but is now back on course to win the title in his first season after Bayern thrashed title rivals Borussia Dortmund 5-0.

Usually a cool character, Kovac could not hide his relief. He celebrated Bayern’s third goal by leaping into the air on the touchline, earning him comparisons with both Michael Jordan and Jurgen Klopp.

“I had no idea Niko Kovac could jump that high,” Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke told Sky the following day.

Despite Bayern’s thumping win, the Bundesliga title race remains on a knife-edge, with just a single point separating the two teams.

Ancelotti alarm before Arsenal 

Carlo Ancelotti said he was alarmed by the performance of his Napoli side in a 1-1 draw against Genoa before their Europa League quarter-final, first-leg trip to Arsenal.

The draw against Genoa, who played for an hour a man down, came days after a 2-1 defeat against lowly Empoli.

Ancelotti insisted his side were not neglecting Serie A with the focus on their only chance of a trophy in the Europa League.

“I don’t think the players were distracted, because we haven’t talked about Arsenal at all,” he said.

“It’s an alarm bell, certainly, because if we play like this in London, then we’re in trouble.”

‘Scudetto’ might be slipping away from Milan 

Gennaro Gattuso believes AC Milan are still on track to achieve a Champions League return for the first time since 2013/14 despite his side falling to their third defeat in four games in a 2-1 loss against Juventus.

“We have to achieve our Scudetto, which is Champions League qualification, at any cost,” said coach Gattuso, who won the trophy twice with Milan as a player.

Milan occupy the final Champions League spot of fourth place, but Atalanta, Roma, Lazio and Torino are all within touching distance.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Agency
External source

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

How lottery execs received dubious payments through a private company

The National Lottery Commission is being investigated by the SIU for alleged corruption and maladministration, including suspicious payments made to senior NLC employees between 2016 and 2017

Pandemic hobbles learners’ futures

South African schools have yet to open for the 2021 academic year and experts are sounding the alarm over lost learning time, especially in the crucial grades one and 12

More top stories

Zuma, Zondo play the waiting game

The former president says he will talk once the courts have ruled, but the head of the state capture inquiry appears resigned to letting the clock run out as the commission's deadline nears

Disinformation harms health and democracy

Conspiracy theorists abuse emotive topics to suck the air out of legitimate debate and further their own sinister agendas

Uganda: ‘I have never seen this much tear-gas in an...

Counting was slow across Uganda as a result of the internet shutdown, which affected some of the biometric machines used to validate voter registrations.

No way out for Thales in arms deal case, court...

The arms manufacturer has argued that there was no evidence to show that it was aware of hundreds of indirect payments to Jacob Zuma, but the court was not convinced.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…