Valencia was on the verge of being knocked out of the UEFA Europa League in the round of 16 for the second consecutive year. Then Goncalo Guedes showed why he’s one of the top young attackers in Europe.
Deep in second half stoppage time, the Portuguese international used a shoulder faint to get past a defender in the box, took a touch, and then slotted home with his left foot to send the visiting Valencia squad into hysterics. The goal gave Valencia a 1-1 draw on the evening but a 3-2 aggregate win over FC Kuban Krasnodar. With the win, Valencia advances to the Europa League quarterfinals.
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Guedes’ strike followed an outstanding curling goal into the top corner by Krasnodar’s 19-year-old midfielder Magomed Suleymanov, which had put Krasnodar in position to advance to the next round.
Elsewhere in Europa League action, Inter Milan were bounced from the tournament by Eintracht Frankfurt. One of the top young attackers in Europe, Luka Jovic, scored the game’s only goal in the 6th minute. It’s an earlier-than-expected end to European competition for big spending Inter.
Here are the other finals from across Thursday’s Europa League action:
RB Salzburg 3-1 Napoli (3-4 agg.)
Benfica 3-0 AET Dinamo Zagreb (3-0 agg.)
Slavia Prague 4-3 AET Sevilla (6-5 agg.)
Villarreal 2-1 Zenit St. Petersburg (5-2 agg.)
A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Spain’s top flight…
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Real Madrid 3-0 Athletic Bilbao
Karim Benzema bagged a hat trick (WATCH HERE) — his 19th, 20th and 21st goals of the league season (second-most, 12 behind Lionel Messi) — to send Real Madrid to a comfortable victory over Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu. The result also keeps Los Blancos within four points of capital rivals Atletico Madrid in something of a battle for second place behind runaway leaders Barcelona.
Benzema has scored 10 goals in his last seven La Liga appearances, a run in which Madrid have complied a 5W-1D-1L record. Benzema failed to score in Zinedine Zidane’s re-debut as Madrid manager, but has scored eight goals in five games since.
Sunday’s game marked the 300th league appearance for midfielder and 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric in a Real Madrid shirt.
Getafe 3-0 Sevilla — WATCH HIGHLIGHTS
Sevilla’s hopes of returning to the UEFA Champions League following a one-year hiatus took a serious hit on Sunday, as Pablo Machin’s side was hammered by Getafe, the side which now occupies fourth place, two points ahead of them. Getafe continue to enjoy their meteoric rise through the Spanish ranks, as they were competing in the second division this time two years ago.
Two of the three goals the scored on Sunday came from the penalty spot, as Jaime Mata and Jorge Molina converted in the 35th and 45th+4′, respectively. Molina completed the scoring eight minutes into the second half.
Elsewhere in La Liga
Real Betis v. Valencia (in progress)
Levante 2-2 Espanyol
Villarreal 2-1 Leganes
PARIS (AP) Paris Saint-Germain clinched the French league title without kicking a ball as second-place Lille could only draw 0-0 at Toulouse on Sunday.
Lille had to win to have any chance of catching PSG, but PSG is now 16 points ahead of its only rival with five matches left after this weekend.
After failing to clinch the title in the past three matches, drawing one and losing two, PSG can celebrate the eighth title in its history ahead of its home game against Monaco later Sunday.
It is PSG’s sixth title in the last seven seasons, with only Monaco in 2017 breaking PSG’s dominance.
Although the title was long expected from a side scoring 92 goals in 32 games so far, it took longer than it should have.
PSG could have won it three games ago, but drew 2-2 at home to Strasbourg when a win would have clinched it.
Then PSG needed a draw at Lille last Sunday, only to lose 5-1 in the club’s heaviest defeat since Qatari investors QSI took charge of the club in June 2011.
A win away to Nantes would have sufficed, too, on Wednesday night only for PSG to lose 3-2 .
The 10 goals conceded in those three games made for PSG’s worst defensive record during a three-game spell since 1985.
Also Sunday, striker Kalifa Coulibaly scored twice as 13th-place Nantes beat 17th-place Amiens 3-2.
Later, Saint-Etienne needed a draw at Reims to move above Marseille and into fourth place.
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Jurgen Klopp knows that more than a few clubs would’ve slipped up Sunday at Cardiff City, given the hosts’ desperation and the visitors’ midweek triumph, but his Reds stood up to the test.
[ RECAP: Cardiff 0-2 Liverpool ]
Liverpool beat Cardiff City 2-0, scoring a pair of second half goals to go back atop the Premier League before Manchester City plays its final match-in-hand of the season in a midweek Manchester Derby.
“It was prepared to be a proper banana skin and we knew that, the boys were unbelievable,” Klopp said after his team kept a second consecutive clean sheet.
He insists that he’s not feeling pressure as Liverpool may need to win every one of its matches and get help to capture its first Premier League crown.
“I only know about me and I didn’t feel it (the pressure) we have to do it like we do it. We cannot change it. The boys try really with all they have, we only speak about the things we have to do. Their attitude is outstanding and it’s a tough season but a very positive one as well.”
Liverpool has two banana skins left, a visit from Huddersfield and trip to Newcastle, closing out the league slate with Wolves at Anfield.
- Benteke scores first goal since April 28, 2018
- Zaha nabs ninth of season
- Ozil goal forges brief deadlock
Christian Benteke scored a goal and added an assist as Crystal Palace handed much-changed Arsenal a 3-2 set back at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Wilfried Zaha and James McArthur also scored for the Eagles, while Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang posted Arsenal’s goals.
The win boosts Palace into 12th with 42 points, while Arsenal remains fourth with 66.
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Roy Hodgson‘s men took a surprising early lead through a strangely surprising source, given that Benteke was once a prolific and danger scorer.
With room to operate, the Belgian turned a header past Bernd Leno to put the Eagles on top.
Palace was fortunate not to concede a penalty through an Aaron Wan-Bissaka handball in the box, and Cheikhou Kouyate saw two bids to beat Leno saved by the keeper.
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Arsenal needed less than two second half minutes to equalize, with Iwobi finding Lacazette with a deft outside-of-the-boot pass. The Frenchman slid Ozil through on goal, and Ozil blasted it near side for a 1-1 score line.
Palace restored its lead thanks to a Benteke flick toward Zaha, with the Ivorian going around Shkrodan Mustafi before beating Leno.
And then it was 3-1, a 69th minute corner kick from Luka Milivojevic finding the back of the goal when James McArthur redirected a header into the goal.
Aubameyang needed a fortunate bounce to line up his shot, but deserved every bit of his 77th minute goal.
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