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United, Ajax and Rangers cross title threshold

Published: Monday 16 May 2011, 0.30CET
Various championships were decided around Europe this weekend with England, the Netherlands and Scotland witnessing record title triumphs, as recaps in a survey of the action.

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Published: Monday 16 May 2011, 0.30CET

United, Ajax and Rangers cross title threshold

Various championships were decided around Europe this weekend with England, the Netherlands and Scotland witnessing record title triumphs, as recaps in a survey of the action.

It was a weekend for records both new and improved as Manchester United FC finally overtook Liverpool FC's longstanding milestone by securing their 19th title, AFC Ajax adorned their shirts with a third star to commemorate their 30th Dutch crown and Rangers FC extended their own global benchmark by collecting an unprecedented 54th championship. rounds up all the latest action from around Europe.

Manchester United broke new ground in England by winning their 19th league title after Wayne Rooney's penalty clinched a 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers FC. "It's a fantastic performance by the lads," said Sir Alex Ferguson, after his 12th title at the United helm. "We were 1-0 down after giving away a bad goal, but we kept on going." Chelsea FC confirmed second place with their 2-2 draw against Newcastle United FC and Arsenal FC's 2-1 defeat at home against Aston Villa FC, which has given Manchester City FC – 1-0 FA Cup final winners against Stoke City FC – the opportunity to finish above the Gunners in third. At the bottom, a 3-2 loss at Wigan Athletic FC condemned West Ham United FC to relegation.

It proved a superb weekend for LOSC Lille Métropole in both league and cup, with Les Dogues kicking things off by lifting the French Cup at Paris Saint-Germain FC's expense on Saturday. Ludovic Obraniak hit the only goal with a late free-kick to give Lille their first major trophy in 56 years. "We'll savour this win and then we'll institute a curfew to prepare for our next match in the best possible circumstances," said coach Rudi Garcia, who would have been delighted to see Ligue 1 rivals Olympique de Marseille held to a 2-2 draw at FC Lorient on Sunday. The champions lie three points behind Lille having played one game more. For Lille's northern neighbours RC Lens, on the other, their demotion fears were confirmed.

Champions Borussia Dortmund left another mark on the Bundesliga in the final round of matches as their 3-1 home win against Eintracht Frankfurt consigned their opponents to the division below. "Now we have to handle the disappointment," commented Frankfurt coach Christoph Daum. "I myself need a little distance." Third from bottom following their 1-1 draw at Hamburger SV, VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach face a relegation play-off against the side which finishes third in the second tier, with VfL Wolfsburg having lifted themselves to safety courtesy of a 3-1 success at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. In the upper reaches, meanwhile, Bayer 04 Leverkusen held on to second spot, their 1-0 triumph at SC Freiburg keeping them clear of FC Bayern München.

The top two places in the Liga were decided quite some time ago, but the race for third and the last automatic UEFA Champions League spot came to a head with a game to spare this weekend. Incumbents Valencia CF could only draw 0-0 with Levante UD, but that proved enough to keep them clear of Villarreal CF, who lost 3-1 at home against Real Madrid CF. Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice in the match to take his individual haul this season to 38 goals, equalling the record previously set by Telmo Zarra and Hugo Sánchez. "The three goals we scored tonight make us the top scoring side in the championship," said assistant Madrid coach Aitor Karanka. "Small motivations allow the team to end the season in top form." Titlewinners FC Barcelona played out a goalless stalemate with RC Deportivo La Coruña, while Getafe CF and Real Zaragoza both won to leave the final relegation spot still undecided.

AC Milan travelled to their final home game in style, taking an open top bus, complete with Scudetto, from a crowded Piazza Duomo to San Siro, where the Rossoneri completed an equally impressive 4-1 defeat of Cagliari Calcio. FC Internazionale Milano had to settle for second, a position guaranteed by their 1-1 draw with SSC Napoli, for whom a point ensured UEFA Champions League action next season. The fourth and final place will go to either Udinese Calcio or S.S. Lazio, with the Friulani laying the strongest claim after preserving their two-point lead over the Biancocelesti. Juventus look destined to fall short of European football next term following a defeat against Parma FC that left coach Luigi Delneri in rueful mood. "We are basically out of Europe," he said. "We did very little to avoid defeat, so there are no excuses. Let us not clutch at straws here."

It was a very happy 41st birthday for Frank de Boer, whose Ajax side gave him the perfect present by winning the club's first Eredivisie title in seven years. In a tense title-decider, the Amsterdam giants avenged last week's Dutch Cup final loss to FC Twente by securing the victory they needed against the Eschede outfit to wrest the title away from their rivals. Another of De Boer's former sides also clinched their domestic championship on Sunday, Rangers holding on to top spot with an emphatic 5-1 victory against Kilmarnock FC. Kyle Lafferty scored a hat-trick in a win that kept rivals Celtic FC, who also won by four goals, a point behind.

It was a derby that decided the outcome of the Polish championship, meanwhile, Wisła Kraków sealing their 13th league title following a 1-0 win against rivals MKS Cracovia, and in Romania, FC Oţelul Galaţi downed pursuers FC Timişoara 2-1 to edge closer to their maiden crown. FC Zestafoni secured their own first title in Georgia and there were cup successes in Lithuania and Latvia for FK Ekranas and FK Ventspils respectively.

Last updated: 07/12/13 3.53CET

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