Aston Villa secured their spot in the playoff final on Tuesday night, with a 0-0 draw against Middlesbrough enough to advance after their 1-0 first leg win. Mile Jedinak scored what turned out to be the series winning goal in the first leg. Villa were very solid defensively in the second leg, Boro’s only real chance was a Stuart Downing free kick that went off the crossbar. Villa will face Fulham in the final. Those two teams were fixtures in the Premier League not that long ago, both consistently mid-table teams, Fulham even made the Europa League final in 2010. But both ran into hard times and were relegated. It will be interesting to see which team comes out on top, and makes a return to the Premier League.
Paris Saint-Germain wasted no time in announcing Unai Emery’s successor, confirming that former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel would be taking the job as the manager of PSG. After PSG crashed out of the Champions League against Real Madrid, it was clear that Emery was on borrowed time at the French club, and so there has been speculation for the last few months as to who would take over. Tuchel is thought of as a very smart manager, and Borussia Dortmund have fallen off a cliff since he left. He will have his work cut out for him though, as PSG look to finally breakthrough in the Champions League, and there is the immediate concern of whether or not Neymar stays. Even though he has been there just one season, there are alot of rumors that Neymar will leave in the summer. Convincing Neymar to stay and buy in at PSG will be Tuchel’s first challenge.
Atlético Madrid and Marseille square off in the Europa League final on Wednesday, and for Marseille, it’s been 25 years since they have won a European trophy. The year they last won, 1993, was plagued by scandal as it was found out after Marseille won the Champions League, that the president of Marseille had urged players of their League opponents that week Valenciennes, to take it easy on the Marseille players before the final. The President was soon jailed after an investigation, and Marseille were stripped of their 1993 league title, and the next year they were relegated because of the scandal and financial irregularities. FourFourTwo dives into what happened during Marseille’s last run of European prominence.
Ireland were eliminated in the Euro U-17 tournament in a shootout vs the Netherlands. The remarkable part of the story was that Ireland’s goalie was sent off...in the shootout. Ireland’s goalie saved a penalty that kept them alive in the shootout, when it was tied at 4-4. However, the referee called back the penalty because he said goalkeeper Jimmy Corcoran had gone off his line before the kick was taken. And not only did they retake the penalty, but Corcoran was issued a yellow card, and sent off because that was his second yellow. This was a remarkable, and rather harsh decision. Though it is a rule that the goalie can’t leave his line before the ball is kicked, it is almost never enforced. Even when it is enforced, its even more rare for the goalie to get a yellow card, the referee usually just has the penalty taken again. Given the stakes, and the fact that the goalie also had a yellow card, it would’ve been nice to see the ref not send him off for that in those circumstances.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!