Real Betis earned a shock win last week at the Sanchez Pizjuan, its 2-0 lead after leg one of its Europa League Round of 16 matchup with rival Sevilla giving the verdiblancos hope a run in Europe could overshadow a relegation-destined campaign. But Gabriel Calderón’s team is ultimately a 20th place side, which made Sevilla’s comeback today at the Estadio Benito Villamarín less remarkable than expected. After 90 minutes of the second Seville derby in eight days, the visitors had forced extra time with their own 2-0 result.
Thirty minutes later, the teams’ quarterfinals fates would be decided by penalty kicks. After Vitolo opened with a miss for Sevilla, each team make their next three, leaving Alfred N’Diaye’s miss to bring the rojiblancos even at the end of the fourth round. A conversation from Ivan Rakitic followed by a miss from Nono sent Unai Emery’s side through.
Form may go out the window in derbies, but over 180 minutes, talent has a better chance of shining through. After one leg, Real Betis were on the verge of seeing its rivals out of Europe. Seven days later, they’re the ones on the outside looking in, no longer holding out hope Europa can offset their inevitable return to the second division.
- Anzhi Makhachkala 0-0 (0-1) AZ Alkmaar – Aron Johannsson’s early penalty kick in leg one ends up sending last year’s Dutch Cup winners into Europa’s final eight.
- Valencia 1-0 (4-0) Ludogrets – The Bulgarians’ three-goal loss at home sealed their fate, with Pace Alcácer’s second half score that the Mestalla confirming their ouster.
- Viktoria Plzen 2-1 (3-5) Olympique Lyonnais – Bafetimbi Gomis’s goal just before half time put Lyon up four. It also cancelled out the Czech champions’ away goal. Goals near the hour from Daniel Kolár and Stanislav Teci made the final more respectable.
- Benfica 2-2 (5-3) Tottenham Hotspur – Much like in Plzen, an early goal confirmed the first leg’s lopsided result. Nacer Chadli, however, tried to bring Spurs back with a late brace only to see Lima’s 95th minute penalty kick conversation see Tottenham out of Europe.
- Fiorentina 0-1 (1-2) Juventus – A piece of free kick magic from Andrea Pirlo saw Juventus take the lead in the 71st minute, with the 10-man Viola left short-handed after Gonzalez Rodríguez’s 69th minute dismissal.
- Napoli 2-2 (2-3) Porto – Second half goals from Nabil Ghilas and Ricardo Quaresma left Porto up two after Goran Pandev’s early opener. Needing three goals to go through, the partenopei would only get Duván Zapata’s stoppage time consolation.
- Red Bull Salzburg 1-2 (1-2) Basel – Held scoreless in leg one, Basel saw Marek Suchy sent off in the ninth minute. Soon after, Jonathan Soriano gave Red Bull a 1-0 lead. In the second half, though, a 10-man Basel saw Marco Streller score the decisive goal in the 50th minute, with Gaston Sauro adding insurance 10 minutes later.
It’s incredible that Karl Darlow is Newcastle United’s starting goalkeeper, let alone a member of the PL Team of the Week.
The 25-year-old Northampton-born backstop is the Magpies’ third-choice keeper, having arrived from Nottingham Forest last summer to learn under Tim Krul and Rob Elliot.
[ VIDEO: Leicester fans react to title ]
But injuries to both of his international superiors thrust Darlow into the spotlight, and it took him some time to acclimate to the Premier League.
He looked just fine in Newcastle’s potentially massive 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, stopping a penalty amongst several other stops as the Magpies moved out of the drop zone for the first time since February.
Premier League Team of the Week — Week 36
Goalkeeper: Karl Darlow (Newcastle United)
Defenders: Wes Morgan (Leicester City), Leighton Baines (Everton), Winston Reid (West Ham United)
Midfielders: Mark Noble (West Ham United), Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham United), Dusan Tadic (Southampton), Andros Townsend (Newcastle United)
Forwards: Troy Deeney (Watford), Sadio Mane (Southampton), Andre Ayew (Swansea City)
Claudio Ranieri is everyone’s favorite manager.
And not just because “Dilly-ding, dilly-dong” will be added to the English dictionary very soon.
The Italian boss, 64, has guided Leicester City to the 2015-16 Premier League title — the first top-flight trophy in their 132-year history — in just his first season in charge at the King Power Stadium.
[ VIDEO: Leicester players celebrate ]
He has guided the 5000-1 shots at the start of the season to an incredible title win. At the start of the campaign he was the favorite to be the first manager to be fired this season.
After spending four years at Chelsea from 2000-04 where he was ruthlessly sacked by Russian owner Roman Abramovich who didn’t believe he could win trophies, Ranieri has won the biggest one of them all in his first season back in England. Remarkable.
[ MORE: Latest Leicester news after PL win ]
The veteran boss has now won his first-ever league title in his long and distinguished managerial career against all the odds. He is, without doubt, the mastermind behind Leicester’s remarkable title win. There are calls for Ranieri to be knighted by the Queen of England and given what his team has achieved, why not?
Despite his obviously skill as a manager, he is also a genuinely nice bloke when it comes to interacting with fans and the media.
The video below looks at some of the most memorable moments this season from the lovable Italian.
When Joe Hart looks to his left, he might expect to see a Sadio Mane shot going past him.
That’s how lethal the Southampton attacker was this weekend, recording a hat trick in Saints’ 4-2 win over Manchester City.
[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]
Mane becomes the third Southampton player to snare Premier League Player of the Week honors this season, joining Graziano Pelle and Fraser Forster.
Just two more honors to go this PL season.
Premier League Players of the Week – Round 36
Week 1: Riyad Mahrez, Leicester City
Week 2: Romelu Lukaku, Everton
Week 3: Callum Wilson, Bournemouth
Week 4: Bafetimbi Gomis, Swansea City
Week 5: Steven Naismith, Everton
Week 6: Anthony Martial, Manchester United
Week 7: Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal
Week 8: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City
Week 9: Raheem Sterling, Manchester City
Week 10: Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur
Week 11: Arouna Kone, Everton
Week 12: Jesse Lingard, Manchester United
Week 15: Riyad Mahrez, Leicester City
Week 16: Ayoze Perez, Newcastle United
Week 17: Odion Ighalo, Watford
Week 19: Xherdan Shaqiri, Stoke City
Week 20: Jermain Defoe, Sunderland
Week 21: Jermain Defoe, Sunderland
Week 22: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City
Week 23: Dele Alli, Tottenham Hotspur
Week 24: Fraser Forster, Southampton
Week 25: Gabriel Agbonlahor, Aston Villa
Week 26: Pedro, Chelsea
Week 27: Marcus Rashford, Manchester United
Week 28: Connor Wickham, Crystal Palace
Week 29: Riyad Mahrez, Leicester City
Week 30: Graziano Pelle, Southampton
Week 31: Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur
Week 32: Alex Iwobi, Arsenal
Week 33: Andy Carroll, West Ham United
Week 34: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City
Week 35: Eden Hazard, Chelsea
Week 36: Sadio Mane, Southampton
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini does not regret fielding a weakened side at Southampton over the weekend as he prepares for City’s Champions League semifinal at Real Madrid on Wednesday.
Pellegrini chose to rest many of his top players at St. Mary’s, including Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, and Vincent Kompany. City were smashed 4-2 in one of their worst performances of the season.
[ RECAP: Saints 4-2 Man City ]
Pellegrini defended his lineup decisions after the match, saying he is willing to risk results in the Premier League to reach the Champions League final.
We knew before the game it was a risk to put so many players without football against a difficult team but we have to take those risks. If we had played on Saturday we could put more players out. I was disappointed with the team. It’s my responsibility for the starting 11.
I would do exactly the same again because we have an important game.
We play for the final in the Champions League. We continue in the Premier League what we are going to do in the next two games to be in the top four so that was a risk but one we had to take.
While you would expect a drop-off when the likes of Aguero and de Bruyne are not on the pitch, City’s poor performance was much more than just a team selection issue. With Raheem Sterling ($75 million) and Wilfried Bony ($45 million) in the starting XI, it was 19-year-old academy product Kelechi Iheanacho who was one of the few players to show any type of effort against Saints.
Pellegrini may be overlooking the end of the Premier League season, but his side still needs points to secure a top-four spot and berth in the Champions League next year. City currently sit four points ahead of Manchester United, but United have a game in-hand.
[ MORE: Burnley become first Championship side to clinch PL promotion ]
City travel to Spain for the second leg of their Champions League semifinal matchup against Real Madrid on Wednesday. After settling for a 0-0 draw in the first leg, City must put the Southampton debacle behind them and turn things around before the one of the biggest matches in club history.