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It has been such an eventful week of football that an action-packed El Classico is only worthy of an honourable mention. Four goals were shared equally between the great rivals, but the La Liga clash was ultimately a dead rubber: elsewhere in the world there were semi- finals to be won and leagues to be settled.

1. First Legs Prove Decisive in Champions League

The Champions League second legs kicked off the week of football in style. Ultimately, it was the victors of the first legs who were able to press home their advantages – neither game was straightforward, however, which made for very entertaining viewing. Bayern Munich once again scored early against Real Madrid to put the pressure on, but a Benzema equaliser killed the momentum of the Bavarians. The home side added a second in freak circumstances just after the restart, when goalkeeper Ulreich momentarily forgot he could not handle a back-pass and then missed the ball entirely in his attempts to redeem the situation; Benzema was on hand to score once more. Cruelly, this proved the decisive goal in the tie – Bayern got one back through James Rodriguez, himself on loan from Los Blancos, but this left them one goal short of qualification. Real will face Liverpool in the final: a back-and-forth game against Roma culminated in some late drama when a controversial penalty allowed the Italians to make it 4-2 on the night, but there was not enough time for them to grab the fifth that would have sent it to extra time. It is sure to be a grandstand end to the tournament when the two heavyweight attacking sides meet in Kyiv.

2. Gerrard Appointed Rangers Boss

The last time that Liverpool featured in a Champions League final, in 2007, a certain Mr. Steven Gerrard captained the team. Up until recently he has been with his boyhood team in the role of under-18s coach, but this week it was announced that he would be journeying north to Scotland to take on the Rangers job. This puts him into direct competition with his former manager at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers: it is widely acknowledged that it would be a tough ask for anyone to challenge the monopoly at the top which Celtic have established under the Northern Irishman, so the inexperienced Gerrard has certainly shown bravery by accepting the challenge. Nonetheless, the appointment has caused disquiet amongst some Liverpool fans; the club and city are traditionally more politically affiliated with Celtic than their Glasgow rivals. However, most will surely wish the club icon all the best.

3. Europa League Final Decided

The Europa League just about followed the same script as the Champions League: both of the favourites from the first legs progressed. Marseille, however, were given an almighty scare by Red Bull Salzburg. The Austrian outfit scored twice without reply to send the game to extra time, and in truth looked the more likely to snatch a winner. However, with just minutes remaining and penalties looming, Marseille were wrongly awarded a corner – veteran centre-back Rolando, only brought on to try and shore up the vulnerable defence, was on hand to tuck the ball home and send the fans into raptures. Atletico Madrid had a somewhat more comfortable experience. Arsenal put in a respectable showing, but the late Griezmann goal at The Emirates always seemed likely to prove decisive; Wenger’s men had to push forward at the Wanda Metropolitano, and were caught short at the back by Diego Costa on the brink of half-time. Despite a valiant second-half showing, they could not find a goal of their own in response. Atletico are firm favourites for the final, and Marseille will certainly have to perform better than they did against Salzburg if they are to stand any chance.

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4. Burnley Secure European Football

Next season, Burnley will be looking to compete with the likes of Atletico Madrid in the Europa League. This is a remarkable achievement for Sean Dyche and his team, and it is only right that the manager has been acknowledged with a spot on the shortlist for Manager of the Season. His side did not secure their place in the most auspicious circumstances: they were on the wrong end of a 5-0 drubbing in Wenger’s Emirates swansong, but Everton’s failure to win against Southampton got them over the line. It looked as though Allardyce’s team were going to lose to The Saints, but a 95th minute deflected goal did salvage them a point – it could prove disastrous for Southampton, who are still fighting to stave off relegation. For West Brom, on the other hand, it represents one last shot at salvation; a late Livermore winner against Tottenham earlier in the weekend kept their hopes of staying up alive, and they are still mathematically capable of survival thanks to Southampton dropping points.

5. Stoke Championship-Bound

It was not such a happy weekend for Stoke, who are the first club to be confirmed as relegated from the Premier League. Shaqiri had given them the lead against Crystal Palace, but as has been the case all season they could not rely purely on the Swiss international to drag them out of trouble. Palace pressure eventually paid, and goals from McArthur and Van Aanholt condemned the Potters to life in the Championship next season. It is testament to the job Darren Moore has done at West Brom that his club are not the first to face the drop – he has accumulated the joint-most points in the league since his caretaker appointment. Regardless of whether they can somehow pull of the near-impossible escape, he has surely deserved a shot at the job full-time; Baggies fans must be rueing the failure of the board to not dismiss Pardew earlier in the campaign.

6. Napoli’s Valiant Fight All But Over

West Brom fans are not the only ones who have been left working out wild permutations following the weekend’s action. Napoli now need some sort of miracle to win Serie A, after they could only manage a draw against Torino following a Juventus win against Bologna. The gap is now six points with just two games to play, and The Old Lady have by far the superior goal difference – it looks as though the title charge has finally run out of steam. Nonetheless, great credit must go to Napoli and Sarri for producing such a competitive season in Italian football. It is not often that Italy provides by far the most compelling battle at the top of all the major leagues; it is a shame for the neutral, however, that the Neapolitans could not clear the final hurdle and break the Juventus dominance.

7. The Maths Adds Up For Porto

While Juventus were being crowned in all but name, Porto were mathematically securing their 28th league title in Portugal. Perhaps surprisingly, it was their first since 2013 – the intervening period has been marked by challenges from both Sporting Lisbon and Benfica, but fittingly it was a draw between these two that sent the title back to Porto. Sergio Conceicao will undoubtedly be delighted to claim such a major honour in his first season with the club; bigger European sides may well be keeping an eye on the man at the helm of the club where Mourinho made his name. The newly-crowned champions marked their achievement with a 2-1 win over Feirense on Sunday.

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