Europe’s top five leagues 2020/21 final day as it happened: It was judgement weekend across Europe’s top five leagues as this season’s final round of matches came and went explosively.
One final last match. And what a match! In all top fives leagues apart from Germany, drama was accompanied with tears and celebrations: In Spain, Atlético finally clinched the title, just like Lille in France. Meanwhile, English and Italians were battling with stick, blood and toes for European places: This last matchday was surely not the regular boring one. Everything to fight for.
La Liga: Atletico Madrid win, Real Madrid finish off Villarreal and Barcelona struggle
The wind was whirling, in Madrid. In the past weeks, only a few tiny points separated Atletico Madrid from Real Madrid, eternal derby-rivals. But it is not in the city, the capital of Spain, where heavy battle took place. It took Atletico Madrid the whole squad to stand up to Eminem’s tune to win it on that last day.
Where Real Valladolid took the upper hand in the first half — with a goal in the 18′ from Planes, Atletico Madrid’s suffering had to continue until the last 45′: Correa and Suarez brought the trophy back home, scoring goals in the 57′ and 67′ respectively to reverse the 0–1 to a 2–1 win. Atletico Madrid was bound to suffer, but they were rewarded. Most stood up, just like the usual Marcos Llorente but also the likes of Kieran Trippier and Koke.
Meanwhile, neighbors Real Madrid suffered at home, too. And that much longer, an in-extremis victory — not that the standings would have been impacted, but the Castilla pride would have been wounded at home: Unacceptable and could not happen, was never an option and never will be.
The third of the ‘top 3’, Barcelona, did not without mere resistance either. Where standings suggest it the match should have been buried by the first half — the third against the 20th and last Eibar — the reality was much more complex.
The likes of Messi and Pedri both had gone in early vacation: They were replaced by Trincao and Dembele, just like Junior Firpo replaced Alba in the first half. But it did not seem like the 3rd placed team, with a toothless attack unable to exert proper pressure against Eibar, despite the huge budget gap between the two adversaries.
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Instead, Eibar were the ones that gave the eye test the impression to be third. Unafraid to press the Catalans, Eibar formed a wall forcing Koeman’s men to resort to wing-play. A recurrent theme, and the Catalans still remained as ineffective. With so many inaccuracies, a structural void and without joker Messi, Barcelona struggled.
And that not for 45′, but for 82′ — until Griezmann’s goal finally landed into Eibar’s net. Perhaps best representing this season: Koeman blamed it on the squad in the post-match interview, despite asking for respect a day earlier in the presser — words that could cost him the job — and his continuity was already doubtful before.
Serie A: Milan coin their way out to the Champions League, Juventus qualify in extremis
In Italy, teams, players, and managers wanted Europe. Like Milan. Others tried their best to not miss out on them: Juventus and Napoli: The latter failed, but Juve managed. In no way was Atalanta’s display horrendous, despite the 2–0 defeat that allow Milan to qualify for the Champions League, at least.
Two penalties show evidence of it. In contrary, Atalanta played their usual game, limiting Milan’s play to Donnarumma’s footwork. With a pressing scheme that suffocated Milan, it was only a penalty at the end of the first half that spoke for Milan. Meanwhile, the likes of Goese, Zapata & co enjoyed their time on the pitch, already qualified.
On the other hand, Juventus cruised easily through Bologna’s line, scoring four goals by the first half. Where the qualification depended upon its rival, Juventus did its job: Score the goals, and that with Ronaldo benched — an astute, sensible but tough decision by Pirlo.
With all the worries of the Old Lady not making it, the victory was clear: They remain, whether by merit or not. Napoli, however, struggled against Verona: In the cruelty of football, one point cost them their place in the Champions League: A good summary of Napoli’s season? Unfortunate.
Premier League: Aguero says goodbye, so did Leicester to the Champions League
One Last Time. Aguero, make us dream. Oh boy, did he makes his fans proud! Despite all the injuries throughout the season, it is the ’Kun’ that the Premier League saw at the weekend: No first half? No problem. Here you go, two goals to overcome Rooney’s legendary record.
Rumoured to leave for Barcelona, Aguero has finished his legacy as a top player perfectly like no one else could. Not that Everton are the best team, but there’s no doubt that this display was the one needed for his farewell.
Meanwhile, it was all chaos in the rest of the League. Leicester, looking certainly to qualify for the Champions League, dropped in the last game against Tottenham, in a thrilling and eventful 2–4 loss.
Vardy was not himself on one end. On the other end, Schmeichel lacked concentration on the first goal while a misjudgement on the second cost Leicester all the points: Following his errors, Leicester are relegated in the less prestigious Europa League in the last instance, in-extremis: The cruelty of football.
But life smiled for Liverpool, that also qualified in extremis, despite a horrific season: Marked by Thiago, who finally found his place and his aesthetics back following months of errancies: Late, but just in time to help Klopp’s men retain their place for the Champions League.
The French Ligue 1 : Lille killed the suspense.
Obliged to win, Galtier’s men killed the game off early, with Jonathan and Yilmaz scoring in the first half PSG followed, but it was not enough: Lille had taken the title home, after years of PSG’s unchained hegemony: Galtier’s work had finally showed its fruits, with Lille stopping it all with consistent but smart strategy in the formation of the squad while ‘Pochetino’ was unable to get PSG properly back on track.