First title of the season
First title of the season
By Kyle McCarthy, FOXSoccer.com
Ronaldinho returned to Brazil with one rather glaring omission from his staggering list of honors. And now the Copa Libertadores is within his grasp.
The veteran schemer will lead Atlético Mineiro into uncharted territory in Asuncion on Wednesday night. Both he and his club hope to emerge triumphant in this competition for the first time at the end of this two-legged tie. It will not prove an easy brief to fulfill with three-time champions Olimpia standing in the way of Libertadores glory.
“We have no greater wish than to bring the title to Atlético,” Ronaldinho Tweeted on Monday.
Estamos treinando forte pra esses próximos 2 jogos. Nada é maior do que a vontade de trazer o título pro Galo. pic.twitter.com/wZxqXfDKfU— Ronaldinho Gaúcho (@10Ronaldinho)
Atlético enters the final as slight favorites after engineering a great escape in the second leg against Newell’s Old Boys in the semifinals a week ago. Guilherme struck in the sixth minute of stoppage time to draw level on points in the series. Ronaldinho then converted the winning penalty to ensure Galo booked its place in the final.
The ample talent with Atlético’s ranks – including Brazilian internationals Bernard (expected to depart for a major European club after this tie concludes), Jô and Réver – warrants significant attention, but the Paraguayan outfit possesses the resolve to create significant problems for its lauded competition. Olimpia proved its mettle by securing its place in the final with a 1-0 defeat against Independiente Santa Fe in Colombia last Wednesday and underscored its ability to claim the title by holding out under significant duress in the waning stages of that affair.
Ronaldinho seeks his first Copa Libertadores title (Photo: Victor R Caivano/AP Images).
Ever Almeida’s side must produce similar heroics over these two legs to set the stage for another Libertadores triumph in these trying circumstances. The contrast in styles – Atlético with its array of attacking weapons, Olimpia with its reliance on organization and shape – presents the possibility for an intriguing final if the two sides play to their strengths over the two legs.
Those technical concerns, however, fall well down the pecking order of priorities for the former Barcelona star. His focus – as always – remains on the overriding objective and the prospect of adding this elusive title to his protracted level of success.
Congrats Bayern Munich!
Watching your club win a title is always memorable. One lucky fan in particular this week will remember it for very special reasons though.
Celtic may have won the Scottish Premier League as far back as mid-April, but yesterday’s 4-0 home win over rivals St Johnstone signed off their final home game in style.
The Scottish club, who claimed their 44th division title with ease last month, were finally able to parade their medals and the famous trophy at their Celtic Park ground after the game.
The biggest story was still to come however. Manager Neil Lennon, who has been linked with the soon-to-be-vacated manager’s job, cherished the title victory but handed his medal to a lucky young Celtic fan in the crowd.
Watch the video to see just how gobsmacked the little girl is. Brilliant!
What a finish!
Porto’s Kelvin scored this wonderful goal in the 91st minute Saturday to beat Benfica 2-1 and unseat them at the top of the Primeira Liga with just one more match to play. It may very well have decided the title, as Porto (still undefeated in league play) can clinch with a win next weekend.
As the goal was struck, Benfica coach Jorge Jesus fell to his knees, knowing his team may have just blown the championship. Poor Benfica, but hey, at least they can grab some silverware on Wednesday, when they play Chelsea in the Europa League final (2p ET on FOX Soccer)
Ajax defeated Willem II 5-0 to secure the Eredivisie title for the third year in a row and were rewarded with a tremendous trophy presentation. Still full of adrenaline and excitement, Ajax defender Daley Blind got a little carried away during the presentation and knocked the trophy to the ground.
Thankfully, the trophy is still intact, so no harm no foul. Fast forward to the :28 mark to see Blind’s blunder.
The Barclays Premier League trophy slipped further from Manchester City’s grasp after the champion lost 3-1 at Southampton on Saturday and gave Manchester United the opportunity to surge 12 points clear.
A spirited Saints side were 2-1 up by the break and Gareth Barry compiled a nightmare afternoon for the defending champions when he put through his own net after the restart, failing miserably in trying to shepherd the ball back to goalkeeper Joe Hart after Rickie Lambert had tried to pick out Jason Puncheon in the box.
The entertaining two-horse Premier League title race might have dropped to one thoroughbred following Manchester City’s flat 2-2 draw against Liverpool, leaving Manchester’s other club, United, with a commanding nine-point advantage over their noisy neighbors on Sunday night.
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