This Sunday features plenty of soccer madness, but let’s first talk about how the day began: with the A-League final. Australia’s league title was decided in Brisbane, with local side Brisbane Roar emerging victorious, defeating Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1 in extra time.
Like MLS, the A-League title is decided via playoffs, with the six highest-placed sides entering the Finals Series. The two highest-placed sides receive a bye until the semi-finals, when they enter the competition. This year that was the two finalists, with the Roar finishing first, Wanderers second.
It looked like the Grand Final was going to be won by the league’s second-placed side, with Matthew Špiranović putting the visitors ahead in the 56th minute, heading in Shinji Ono’s corner.
But Brisbane, cheered on by a crowd of over 50, 000 (although we have to assume some of those were fans of Western Sydney), came roaring back in the 86th minute. Besart Berisha headed in a free kick from Thomas Broich, prompting four minutes of scrambling as both sides tried to find the winner before regular time finished.
With no decisive goal, the match headed into an extra thirty minutes of time. Both sides had their chances, but in the end it was Brisbane forward Henrique who knocked in the winner. The Brazilian, left alone inside the area, pounced, driving his shot into the roof of the net.
The title is the third for Brisbane Roar in the last four years (they came up short in 2013). Meanwhile, Western Sydney has lost the last two Grand Finals – while only existing for the last two years.
NBC News is reporting that at least 19 people have been killed and another 50 are injured following a possible suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities told NBC News that preliminary reports indicate that a single explosion took place outside the arena on the southwest side opposite the train station. The explosion occurred as the concert ended, catching people as they exited.
Soccer clubs, players and personalities around the world are reacting to the horrible event.
If you didn’t realize Juan Cuadrado still belonged to Chelsea, you’re forgiven.
The Colombian attacker will complete his second season at Juventus after the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, and won’t be headed back to Chelsea afterwards.
Juve has purchased Cuadrado, and the fee is $22 million, and Juve will pay it over three seasons. Cuadrado, 28, is now signed through 2020 with The Old Lady.
Cuadrado first went on loan to Juve in Aug. 2015, and has eight goals and 18 assists in 83 career appearances with the club.
Chelsea bought Cuadrado from Fiorentina for around $32 million in the January 2015 transfer window, but made just 14 appearances with the club.
Sky Sports is reporting that Jermain Defoe may head back to the south of England following Sunderland’s relegation.
Defoe, 34, spent two seasons with Portsmouth between 2008-09, scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances.
[ MORE: ‘The Moment’ of each PL club’s season ]
The 56-times capped England striker had a clause in his Sunderland contract allowing him to leave the Stadium of Light were the Black Cats to be relegated, as they were this season. He’d have little interest in dropping into the Championship given his desire to stay a part of the England squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
Bournemouth’s strike corps includes Joshua King, who scored the most goals of any player not on a Top Seven side this season. King’s 16 goals were one more than Defoe’s 15, though the latter scored just one goal following a brace against Crystal Palace on Feb. 4.
Antonio Conte took league and national honors from the League Managers Association on Monday night.
The Chelsea boss was named Premier League Manager of the Year and Manager of the Year after leading the Blues to the PL title and an FA Cup Final in his first year on the job.
Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton nabbed another Championship boss of the year award after leading the Gulls to the Premier League. He also won the honor with Newcastle United in 2010.
The League One winner is Chris Wilder of Sheffield United. Wilder won the honor with Northampton Town last season.
In League Two, Paul Cook of Portsmouth was named the winner.