Yesterday’s football schedule produced four cup winners across Europe’s major league competitions of England, France, Germany and Spain. Arguably, all winners were favourites and some of the results turned out to be stark reflection of that.
In Spain, Barcelona beat Athletic Bilbao with a score line of 3-1 and Lionel Messi delivered one of his all-time best performances in a Barca shirt. The Argentine contributed a brace of goals, the first of which might turn out to be the best of his career. Barcelona’s No. 10 took on four Bilbao players after picking up the ball near the halfway line, before cutting inside from the right to bury the ball in the bottom right corner of the goal, leaving Bilbao’s Iago Herrerin without a chance. Barcelona were in control throughout and have now taken home their second major trophy of the season. They travel to Berlin next week to go for the treble, when they take on Juventus at the Olympic Stadium on 6th June.
In Germany, Jurgen Klopp’s last game got off to a good start, when Dortmund’s Aubameyang made it 1-0 after just five minutes. However, led by Kevin de Bruyne, Wolfsburg struck back soon and went into halftime with a 3-1 lead. No more goals were scored, as Wolfsburg turned out to be the more efficient side in a game that was fairly balanced. Whilst Jurgen Klopp did not get the fairytale ending that a cup win would have provided, Wolfsburg finish the season with their first-ever DFB Cup title and their second-ever domestic title, following the league win in 2009.
In France, PSG simply continued their domestic dominance and beat Ligue 2 outfit AJ Auxerre by 1-0. The second tier club were able to hold on against a controlling Parisian performance, but were ultimately broken down when Edinson Cavani scored the first and only goal of the game in the 65th minute. PSG enjoyed 65% ball possession and the team’s solid performance prevented a passionate Auxerre side from winning their 5th Coupe de France title.
Finally, Arsenal retained their FA Cup trophy by crushing Aston Villa with a score line of 4-0. The Gunners were in control from the very first minute and it was surprising that it took them 40 minutes to score their first goal, given the amount of chances wasted before. In 90 minutes, Villa did not manage a single shot and were lucky to escape with only four conceded goals. Ultimately, goals from Walcott, Sanchez, Mertesacker and Giroud secured Arsenal’s record 12th FA Cup victory. Whilst the Gunners end their season in similar fashion to last year, Villa can be happy about retaining Premiership status and a great cup run, although supporters might not want to remember this particular game.