Liverpool were the big winners of last week, as they followed up Champions League qualification with a 3-1 victory over Manchester United.
The last round of the Champions League was in the center of attention last week. The full list of 16 teams who will compete for Europe’s most prestigious trophy was completed. On Tuesday, Mohamed Salah’s lone goal determined the outcome of the most anticipated matchup of round 6, as Liverpool claimed second place and advanced to the next stage. Once more, Napoli showed quality football throughout the group phase of the competition, but the quality of their opposition awarded them with the small consolation prize that is the Europa League. On the same day, Inter missed a tremendous chance to finish second, as they failed to beat PSV Eindhoven at home. Their 1-1 draw meant that Tottenham, who drew 1-1 with Barcelona at Camp Nou, booked a place in the last 16 despite the odds going against them.
The main attraction on Wednesday was in Amsterdam, where Ajax and Bayern Munich played one of the best matches of the group stage. Two red cards and four goals in the final ten minutes led to a 3-3 draw, which meant Bayern managed to hold on to the first spot on the table. Roma missed a great opportunity as well, as Real Madrid’s embarrassing 3-0 home loss to CSKA Moscow opened the door to first place. Unfortunately for the Italians, they didn’t seem to be prepared for such an outcome and lost themselves on the road to Czech side Viktoria Plzen.
Lyon managed to pull off another (fifth straight) draw in Ukraine, thus eliminating Shakhtar Donetsk from the competition. Elsewhere, Juventus and Manchester United both lost by the same 2-1 score against Young Boys and Valencia in away games they had nothing to play for.
The weekend brought more postponed games in France and not many surprises. The main event was on Sunday, when Liverpool celebrated their Champions League success with fireworks aimed at Manchester United’s goal. Three balls ended in David de Gea’s net, although it could’ve easily been more based on what transpired on the pitch. The game ended in a 3-1 victory for the home team, which kept its spot on Premier League’s summit. Not all of the top 5 teams celebrated victory, though. Southampton snapped Arsenal’s 22-game unbeaten run in all competitions by surprisingly defeating The Gunners 3-2.
In Spain, Barcelona avenged last season’s final game loss to Levante, a game which could’ve seen them go undefeated. Levante’s goalkeeper had to take the ball out of his net five times, three of which were after Argentina’s maestro Lionel Messi found it. Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla all kept pace with the Catalans with wins of their own.
A late Cristiano Ronaldo strike proved to be the difference in a tense local derby between Torino and Juventus in Serie A. Napoli and Inter secured victories by the same 1-0 scoreline to stay within striking distance of the runaway leaders, whereas Atalanta helped Roma, Sassuolo, Sampdoria and Fiorentina (all won) close the gap between them and Lazio with a 1-0 on Monday.
Borussia Dortmund kept marching on in the Bundesliga, where the distance between them and the followers increased to nine points, as Borussia Monchengladbach drew 0-0 in Hoffenheim. Bayern Munich won and now share second place with Die Fohlen. In France, the agony for Thierry Henry continued, as his Monaco side was dismantled by a superior Lyon (3-0), a game in which the visitors saw red early in the second half as well.