Nowhere was the drama more enthralling this weekend than in Italy, where AC Milan staged a stunning comeback to secure UEFA Champions League football next term. Arsenal FC can also look forward to Europe's premier club competition after securing fourth place in England and FC Schalke 04 likewise did the necessary in Germany, while FC Porto wrapped up the Portuguese title without suffering a single defeat and PFC CSKA Moskva clinched the league laurels in Russia. UEFA.com recaps the action.
The Serie A season reached a thrilling climax on Sunday as Milan battled back from the verge of disaster to seal third place and a UEFA Champions League berth. Needing a win, the Rossoneri were trailing relegated AC Siena 1-0 before Mario Balotelli and Philippe Mexès registered in the last six minutes to spell heartbreak for ACF Fiorentina, who swept aside Pescara Calcio 5-1 but finished fourth. "I want to thank the players and the fans, who deserved a night like this," commented Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri. "Tonight we ran into a great goalkeeper and hit the woodwork, while we were a little too hasty and felt the tension of the occasion." Meanwhile, Udinese Calcio made sure of UEFA Europa League football by defeating FC Internazionale Milano 5-2 and champions Juventus signed off with a 3-2 reverse at UC Sampdoria.
There was just one question left in the Premier League and Arsenal came up with the answer as they triumphed 1-0 win at Newcastle United FC to seal fourth place and England's final UEFA Champions League spot. "It was in our hands and we did the job," said forward Theo Walcott. "We had to prove people wrong. A lot of people thought we wouldn't do it today, so it's nice to show them we could." The win kept the Arsenal above Tottenham Hotspur FC – who beat Sunderland AFC courtesy of Gareth Bale's late effort – but it was not enough to lift them ahead of Chelsea FC, 2-1 victors against Everton FC. As for Sir Alex Ferguson, his final game as Manchester United FC manager was a sensational 5-5 draw at West Bromwich Albion FC.
FC Bayern München fought back from 3-1 down to edge out VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach 4-3 in Jupp Heynckes' final league game in charge. "I joked with my assistant Peter Hermann that I had the feeling my players were still at the title party," said Heynckes. "We weren't organised and our passing was poor. I had to correct a few things at half-time." TSG 1899 Hoffenheim claimed an unlikely 2-1 win at Bayern's fellow UEFA Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund, while Schalke secured fourth place and a UEFA Champions League qualifying spot by overcoming SC Freiburg 2-1. In third, Bayer 04 Leverkusen won too, snatching a 1-0 success at Hamburger SV.
"Tonight was a fantastic evening, and will remain forever an excellent memory for all of us," said Paris Saint-Germain FC coach Carlo Ancelotti after the Ligue 1 champions continued their memorable campaign by beating Stade Brestois 29 3-1. "To win this title is something very special for this club and the players, and the celebration with our supporters is something really incredible," added David Beckham, who played what is likely to be his last game before retiring. Elsewhere, AS Saint-Étienne put pressure on third-placed Olympique Lyonnais by beating Olympique de Marseille 2-0, before Lyon gave themselves a two-point cushion with a single game remaining with a 1-1 draw at OGC Nice.
The tussle for fourth place in the Liga continues to be tense after Real Sociedad de Fútbol posted a vital 2-1 comeback win at Sevilla FC to remain above Valencia CF, who edged Getafe CF 1-0. With two matches remaining, the clubs are locked on 62 points apiece. "It was a tight game," said Sociedad coach Philippe Montanier. "The most important thing for us now is to make sure we finish in the top four." Elsewhere, RC Deportivo La Coruña climbed out of the Liga relegation zone with a 2-0 victory against RCD Espanyol, jumping ahead of Real Zaragoza, who suffered a late 2-1 loss to Athletic Club. And on Friday, Club Atlético de Madrid beat neighbours Real Madrid CF 2-1 after extra time to lift the Copa del Rey.
"In a moment like this, I think it's crucial to thank all our families, our players, the board, and of course, our fans," enthused Porto coach Vítor Pereira after his unbeaten side overcame FC Paços de Ferreira 2-0 to clinch their 27th Portuguese title. There were plenty of championships settled elsewhere too, with CSKA Moskva securing their fourth Russian league crown with a match to spare, RSC Anderlecht tasting glory in Belgium and ŠK Slovan Bratislava triumphing in Slovakia to complete a league and cup double. On the knockout front, FK Jablonec lifted the Czech Cup on penalties, KF Laçi celebrated their maiden Albanian Cup success, FC Flora Tallinn enjoyed a sixth Estonian Cup win, FK Ventspils came out on top in Latvia and VMFD Žalgiris did likewise in Lithuania.
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.