This Saturday saw the finish of most of Europe’s largest domestic tournaments. Though the Coppa Italia had already ended, the FA Cup, Copa del Rey, Coupe de France and DFB Pokal finals were all played.
Arsenal and Aston Villa competed in the final of the FA Cup. At first it looked fairly even, but Arsenal quickly started looking like the better team. The match stayed tied for the first 40 minutes. Right before the end of the half, Theo Walcott scored to break the deadlock. Arsenal broke loose after that. Sanchez, Mertersacker, and Giroud all added on before the slaughter was over. The victory makes Arsenal the most
successful team in the FA Cup, with 12 victories, just edging Manchester United. It could be the start of a breakthrough for them, as they also won the FA Cup last year.
The next big tournament played was the Copa Del Rey. Another where the latest winners also hold the record for the most wins. Barcelona’s 3-1 triumph over Athletic Bilbao brought their total number of victories up to 27. Ironically, Bilbao have the second most wins, 24. Anyways, it was another domination match by Barcelona, with Messi striking two great goals. Neymar had one, making him top goal scorer in the tournament with seven. There only slip up was letting Williams head in an 80th minute consolation goal. Barcelona played their usual possession game, ending with an enormous 77%. One of the most notable points of the game is that it was Xavi Hernandez’s last in the Camp Nou. His last in a Barcelona kit will be against Juventus in Berlin for the Champions League final.
Paris Saint-Germain beat out 8500 other clubs, including Auxerre 1-0 in the final to claim the Coupe de France title for the 8th time. Edinson Cavani continued his good run of form by scoring the winning goal. The most notable reason for mentioning the Coupe de France is that it makes PSG the first club to win a domestic French treble. That means they won Ligue 1, the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue. A large achievement, despite the fact that they were, you know, favorites for all three competitions.
Despite all those great tournaments, the one that will probably be talked about the most is the German DFB Pokal final. It was played between VFL Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund. It was the last game Dortmund played under legendary manager Jürgen Klopp, and they wanted to send him off with some silverware. They had already shocked favorites Bayern Munich in the semi-finals by eliminating them on penalties, so a win against another large club would mean a great deal. Dortmund got off to a great start, with Aubameyang scoring early. Wolfsburg fought back though, and Dortmund lost their last game with Klopp in charge 3-1. This could be the end of an era for Dortmund, so it’s a shame they couldn’t send Klopp off better. A disappointing end to a disappointing season.
Two other games I want to talk about quickly. Napoli lost 4-2 to Lazio on the final Serie A matchday, losing a chance to claim Lazio’s Champions League spot. Napoli manager Rafa Benitez will join Real Madrid in time for next season, so it would have been nice if he could have given Napoli a chance to get into the Champions League.
In MLS news, DC United came from behind to beat Philadelphia Union 2-1 to secure their spot on top of the eastern conference. 2nd place New England tied the LA Galaxy, leaving the gap at 4 points with 14 games played.
Did you know that the FA Cup is the oldest soccer competition in the world. The first year it was held was 1871.