Monday, 16 May 2011

Ajax, Manchester United celebrate league titles

Posted by chardyboy on Monday, May 16, 2011 0 comments

source: London— Reuters

Manchester United won a record 19th English league title with one match to spare as Manchester City lifted the FA Cup, while Ajax Amsterdam secured a 30th Dutch title on the final day of the season. In other European league where the titles had already been decided, the focus switched to relegation issues with Sampdoria condemned to Italy’s second tier while Real Zaragoza are on the brink in Spain, where Valencia secured a Champions League spot.

Double hopefuls Lille won the French Cup and Racing Lens went down in Ligue 1.

Manchester United got the point they needed to secure the Premier League title, drawing 1-1 at Blackburn Rovers to win a record 19th English league title thanks to a Wayne Rooney equaliser from the penalty spot.

The Champions League finalists were forced to share the limelight with their neighbours Manchester City, who beat Stoke City 1-0 in the FA Cup final to win their first trophy for 35 years.
Last year’s champions Chelsea are likely to grab the runners-up spot as they can only be caught on points and have a far better goal difference than Manchester City, who can overtake third-placed Arsenal if they beat Stoke on Tuesday.

West Ham United were relegated after squandering a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic. Two teams out of Wigan, Blackpool, Birmingham City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers will be relegated next Sunday.

After Barcelona wrapped up their third consecutive title in midweek, Valencia made sure of third place and automatic qualification for next season’s Champions League when they drew 0-0 with neighbours Levante and nearest rivals Villarreal lost 3-1 at home to Real Madrid.

Real’s second and third goals were scored by former world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo, his 37th and 38th in the league this season and 50th and 51st in all competitions.

His league tally equals the record jointly held by former Real striker Hugo Sanchez (1989/90) and former Athletic Bilbao forward Telmo Zarraonandia, known as Zarra (1950/51), and he has one more match next weekend in which to set a new best.

Valencia have 68 points from 37 matches, six ahead of Villarreal, who are assured of fourth and go into the qualifying round for Europe’s elite club competition.

Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid made sure of places in the Europa League as eighth-placed Espanyol lost 1-0 at third-bottom Real Zaragoza to fall out of contention.

Sampdoria, fourth last term, were relegated after a 2-1 home defeat by Palermo and will join Brescia and Bari in Serie B next season.

Udinese remained on course for the fourth Champions League qualifying berth with a 2-0 victory at Chievo. Lazio are two points behind heading into the final weekend of the season following their 4-2 success over Genoa.

AS Roma are out of the race for fourth after a last-gasp 2-1 loss at Catania while seventh-placed Juventus suffered more woe in a 1-0 defeat by Parma.

AC Milan celebrated the scudetto they wrapped up last weekend with a 4-1 win over Cagliari.

Ligue 1 leaders Lille lifted the French Cup after a bizarre late Ludovic Obraniak free kick sealed a 1-0 win over last year’s winners Paris St Germain and set up the prospect of a surprise double.

Second-placed Olympique Marseille could only draw 2-2 at FC Lorient so Lille can effectively seal the title if they win their game in hand at home to Sochaux on Wednesday.

Racing Lens were relegated but their 1-1 draw with Monaco dragged the principality team back into the bottom three.

Champions Borussia Dortmund celebrated their title-winning season with a 3-1 home win over Eintracht Frankfurt which sent their opponents into the second division on the last day of the season.
Bayer Leverkusen held on to second place with a 1-0 win at Freiburg to book their automatic Champions League qualification, leaving Bayern Munich in third with a spot in the Champions League qualifying rounds.

Five-times Bundesliga champions Borussia Moenchengladbach will face VfL Bochum, who finished third in the second division, in a relegation playoff later this month.

Ajax Amsterdam won their first league title since 2004 when they beat Twente Enschede 3-1 to leapfrog their championship rivals and settle an exciting battle on the final day of the season.

Ajax, who were a point behind 2010 champions Twente going into the match, secured victory thanks to two goals from Siem de Jong to capture the Dutch title for the 30th time.

Champions Porto became the first team in 33 years to complete a Portuguese Premier League season undefeated by winning 2-0 at Maritimo with goals by winger Silvestre Varela and Brazilian striker Walter.

Porto had clinched their 25th title last month and completed the season with 84 points after 27 wins and three draws.

Last season’s champions Benfica drew 3-3 at home to Uniao Leiria to finish second on 63 points and will play in the third qualifying round of the Champions League next season, with Porto going straight into the group stage.

Sporting beat Braga 1-0 away to overtake the northern side and claim third place, with both clubs entering the Europa League qualifying stage next season.

Rangers won their third successive Scottish Premier League title after a 5-1 victory at Kilmarnock ensured they finished a point ahead of bitter Glasgow rivals Celtic.

The win featured a Kyle Lafferty hat-trick and ensured manager Walter Smith headed into retirement on a high. He will be replaced in the Ibrox hotseat by his assistant Ally McCoist.

AEK Athens are leading the chase for Greece’s second Champions League spot after strolling to a 3-0 win over PAOK Salonika to move two points clear at the top of the playoff table.


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