Footy Focus - March 1

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Champions League

People, we have our finalists! Both semi-final legs have been completed, and the final will be a showdown between two Madrid teams. Real Madrid were 1-0 after the first leg against Bayern and took little time in dismantling the defending champions. 4-0 was the second leg score with Ronaldo scoring twice to break the record for the most goals in a Champions League season. He has 16 with the final still to play! That beats the previous record of 14 held by Lionel Messi (in 2011/12) and Jose Altafini (way back in 1962/63). Real Madrid will play Atletico Madrid in the final, after they beat Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.

After a 0-0 game in Spain, Chelsea were similarly defensive here, but unlike against Liverpool where they were able to turn that to their advantage, Atletico were too good and Chelsea’s defenders failed to keep them out. Poor marking and missed clearances are complete no-no’s when playing for the ‘park-the-bus’ strategy. Torres gave the Blues a first half lead, but the weakened Chelsea squad did not have it in them to hold on. Adrian equalised shortly after, before Diego Costa scored a penalty and Arda Turan finished CFC off. The Champions League final is on Sunday May 25th at 6.45am.

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England

Oh no. Poor Steven Gerrard. Stevie G slipped over to let Chelsea open the scoring on the weekend and that mistake may well mean Liverpool slip up in the title race. A masterful display of defensive football from Jose Mourinho saw Chelsea take a 2-0 win over the Reds and consequently give Manchester City the advantage in the Premier League race. If City wins their last three games – then they will be champions. Liverpool will need their biggest local rivals Everton to do them a favour on the weekend when they host City.

Manchester United got off to a winning start under temporary manager and club legend Ryan Giggs. Two goals each from Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata meant a 4-0 win over Norwich. Arsenal also won comfortably, and Spurs got three points too meaning that Everton’s loss to Southampton has them struggling to hold onto 5th place – let alone climb to 4th.

Sunderland have found a saviour to help them in the relegation battle. Connor Wickham was unwanted a few months ago, but has scored 5 goals in 3 games to lift Sunderland out of the relegation zone for the first time since February . Fulham had the chance to keep them down but let in two late goals to Hull City to draw 2-2. That could prove very costly for them. Cardiff remain in massive trouble after losing that game to Sunderland, and Norwich seem doomed too given that their last two games are against Chelsea and Arsenal.

Spain

Atletico Madrid held on to another close win to keep their title hopes burning bright. They were made to work hard, but they always seem to do well in those cases, winning 1-0 despite Valencia dominating possession. Real Madrid have a game in hand and even though they’ll need Atletico to drop some points somewhere, they still look great in their title challenge, winning 4-0 against Osasuna and of course Ronaldo scored twice. Barcelona found themselves down 2-0 at one point with their La Liga hopes hanging by a thread, only for them to fight back to win 3-2. Lionel Messi scored the winner. The best moment of that game though was Dani Alves, preparing to take a corner, having to deal with some racist idiot in the crowd throwing a banana at him, which Alves picked up and ate before throwing it aside! What a legend.

Italy, Germany & France

The German Bundesliga is basically settled with just a little jostling for final positions going on. Bayern Munich won 5-2 to return to some form, though that soon ended when they came up against that rampaging Real Madrid team in the Champions League. In Italy, leaders Juventus had to come from behind but still won 3-1. They are possibly just one game away from officially winning the Scudetto. Roma beat AC Milan, who are struggling this season and AC Milan’s rivals Inter only drew 0-0. Both are almost certain of missing the Champions League next season. They play each other next week. And in France, PSG dropped points again, giving Monaco the tiniest sniff of catching them for first place, but one more win from the last three rounds and the Ligue 1 title is PSG’s.

Australia

We have a grand final matchup in Aussie too! The A-League will come down to the two best teams when Brisbane Roar play Western Sydney Wanderers in the deciding game of the season. Western Sydney were runners up last year after finishing first in the regular season, while Brisbane will be hoping to will their third Championship in 4 years. Both teams play a slick attacking strategy. It’ll be the last game for Brisbane for Besart Berisha, who is leaving to join the Melbourne Victory. All eyes will be on the midfield maestros of Thomas Broich (Brisbane) and Shinji Ono (WSW) as whoever has the better game could just lead their side to ultimate glory…