By Mohammed Youshaa Hoosen
We recap this weekend’s football action as the international domestic season comes to a close, we cover Real Madrid champions League glory, Hull City’s promotion to the Premier League and preparations for the upcoming Uefa Euros and Copa America. Locally, Supersport United won their second Nedbank Cup since its inception, and things heat up in the PSL/NFD promotion/relegation battle.
Real Madrid were crowned Uefa Champions League winners on Saturday night after a gruelling game against city rivals, Atletico Madrid.
Sergio Ramos opened the scoring as Los Blancos capitalized on their fantastic start, playing some exceptionally flowing football. A free-kick from Toni Kroos, flicked on by Gareth Bale, saw Ramos catch Atletico defence napping to put the ball through Jan Oblak’s legs. Atletico weathered the storm and came back into the game, dominating possession of the ball from then onward. It was in the 79th minute that Belgian substitute, Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco, finished off a well-worked move from the right to equalize, as Los Colchoneros turned up the pressure on their neighbours. The Madrid clubs battled it out for 120 minutes all through extra time until penalties were to decide the victors. Juanfran was the only player to miss, his penalty hitting the left post and leaving Ronaldo to strike the final blow condemning Atletico to their third final in history without a win. Real Madrid winning 5-3 on penalties.
Hull City have won promotion to the English Premier League for the 2016-2017 season. Mohamed Diamé scored the winner against Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley Stadium to take Steve Bruce’s Tigers into the 1st tier of English football. Mo Diamé spoke after the game to the Football League, “I’m happy to put all the smiles on all these faces, I’m happy, I think we deserve it. We had a really hard season, a tough one. It was difficult. We had good run, bad run… Tonight was just amazing.” Along with Hull City, Middlesbrough and Burnley have also been promoted to the Premier League
Wrapping up some International football action as preparations for the Copa America and Uefa Euros are well underway. Germany fell to their third loss in four matches, losing 3-1 to Slovakia in a drenched affair at the WWK Arena in Augsburg.
Elsewhere, England continued their preparations against a defiant Australian side. The biggest talking point of their 2-1 victory over the Socceroos was the debut of Manchester United youngster, Marcus Rashford, who grabbed a first-half goal along with an impressive overall performance. Roy Hodgson will announce his final 23-man squad before midnight on Tuesday.
Selected results include:
Germany 1 – 3 Slovakia
Spain 3 – 1 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Romania 3- 4 Ukraine
Italy 1 – 0 Scotland
Panama 0 – 2 Brazil
Argentina 1 – 0 Honduras
Going local, Supersport United have won their second ever Nedbank Cup title since its initiation making them the joint most successful team in the cup along with beaten finalists Orlando Pirates and PSL Champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
Matsatsantsa beat The Bucs 3-2 to take the cup to Pretoria once more. It was an eventful game, in which either defence did not cover themselves in glory. Pirates took the lead through Luvuyo Memela in the 12th minute after Supersport failed to play the offside trap correctly. Brockie equalised in the 14th minute with a free header in the 6-yard area to make it 1-1. Supersport then took the lead in the 30th minute through Grobler as Rakhale miss-controlled a pass letting in Brockie for the shot, which Mhlongo parried but only as far as Grobler to volley it into the back of the net. Boxall went on to make it 3-1 five minutes before half time as Supersport countered with striking efficiency. Clayton Daniels scored an own goal in the 53rd minute as the pressure was back on Matsatsantsa, also losing their keeper, Ronwen Williams, with 20 minutes remaining. Supersport weathered the storm as debutant Boalefa Pule, made some great saves between the sticks to deny Pirates and came out on top in an exciting cup final which saw Michael Morton named Man of the Match. Supersport United went home with a 7 million rand cheque and entrance into the African Champions League for next season.
Over in Pretoria at the AmaTuks stadium, University of Pretoria hosted Mbombela United FC in a crucial encounter. Mbombela could not afford to lose again, and they came out guns blazing as Mxolisi Gumede finished in the 39th minute, the game ending 1-0 to Mbombela United.
Mbombela United sit second in the table behind Highlands Park, after playing a game extra. The remaining fixtures for the play-offs are as follows:
11 June 2016 @ 15:00 – Highlands Park vs Tuks @ Makhulong Stadium
15 June 2016 @ 15:00 – Highlands Park vs Mbombela United @ Makhulong Stadium
18 June 2016 @ 15:00 – Mbombela United vs Tuks @ Kanyamazane Stadium
22 June 2016 @ 15:00 – Tuks vs Highlands Park @ Tuks Stadium