As the 2017/18 campaign comes to a close across Europe, we are usually treated to an abundance of sensational showdowns and teary-eyed farewells, and this year has been no different – maybe even more spectacular than any other.
So, sit back, relax and enjoy the final European football round-up of the season.
1. A Header From the Heavens: Inter Break Lazio Hearts in Dramatic Fashion
As 78 minutes struck, leading 2-1, Lazio were heading for the Champions League at Inter Milan’s expense.
However, a Mauro Icardi penalty swiftly followed up by Matias Vecino’s bullet header initiated unadulterated limbs amongst the travelling Nerazzurri following.
After 38 games, it had come down to a corner 12 minutes from time inside the Stadio Olimpico to secure the San Siro outfit’s place in next year’s European elite competition, and doing so on the head-to-head record between the two sides made it all the more sweeter for the Milan club.
2. Crowned Again: Celtic Secure Unprecedented Double Treble
Glasgow Celtic have been the dominant force in Scottish football following Glasgow Rangers’ demise in 2012.
League success has been ever-present – as have other domestic trophies – but on Saturday Brendan Rodgers’ Hoops wrote their name into the history books by securing a somewhat unprecedented double treble; becoming only the third European side in history to do so.
First half goals from Callum McGregor and Olivier Ntcham were enough to down Motherwell in a repeat of the Scottish League Cup final from earlier in the season and maintain the former Liverpool boss’ record of securing every domestic trophy he has entered since taking over at Parkhead in 2016.
3. Past vs Future: Dramatic Eintracht Deny Bayern
If there were a more fitting cup winning story than Eintracht Frankfurt’s success in the DFB Pokal this weekend, however, I would like to see it.
Niko Kovac – the man picked to succeed Jupp Heynckes next season in the Bayern Munich dugout after others allegedly turned the job down – stood and watched on in his final game as Die Adler coach as his side denied the Bavarians a domestic double with a scintillating 3-1 victory.
Ante Rebic’s double would have proved enough to counteract Robert Lewandoski’s strike for the Reds; but a dramatic stoppage-time period, which saw Bayern’s penalty claims waved away and Mijat Gacinovic run the full length of the pitch before slotting home into an empty net, rounded off a sensational afternoon for the unfancied Hessens.
4. Adios & Addio: A Weekend of Farewells
Although three of this generation’s greats bade farewell to their respective clubs this weekend, none are set to hang their boots up for good this summer.
However, that did not stop the teary-eyed departures of Andres Iniesta of Barcelona, Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus and Fernando Torres of Atletico Madrid – who scored a brace in his send-off – taking centre stage.
The significance of the changing of the guard will be felt more at Barca and Juve undoubtedly, as their search to now find suitable replacements for the arguably irreplaceable begins.
5. Tempers Flare: Legia Warsaw Crowned Champions Amid Crowd Trouble
In a bizarre end of season moment, Legia Warsaw were crowned champions of Poland without actually completing 90 minutes.
This was due to Wojskowi being awarded a 3-0 walkover after Lech Poznan fans threw flares onto the pitch as Legia went 2-0 up on the 77th minute, forcing the referee to abandon the game.
Following the contest, the Polish Ekstraklasa league commission granted Dean Klafuric’s side maximum points – meaning they finish up with a three-point buffer over next in line Jagiellonia Bialystok.
6. Fan Frictions: Sporting Lisbon Suffer Shock Defeat After Attack
In Portugal, Sporting Lisbon suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to relegation survivors Aves in the Portuguese Cup final, just five days after the players were attacked by fans.
A 50-strong group of hooded supporters attacked players and officials at Sporting’s training base on Thursday – leaving doubts over the participation in their final.
However, after deciding to go ahead, Aves, a side who have spent just three years in the Portuguese top-flight since 1930, secured the silverware through Alexandre Guedes early on before Oeiras added a second 15 minutes from time.
As the underdogs netted their second, Sporting fans were seen clashing with police as they made their distaste known.
7. ‘I’ll Be Back’: Parma Secure Third Straight Promotion
However, always wanting to leave on a high note, Parma are back in Serie A three years after they were declared bankrupt following a dramatic third successive promotion.
Despite leading 2-0 against Spezia, Frosinone’s 2-1 lead over Foggia was expected to condemn the former Uefa Cup winners to the promotion play-offs.
But in the 89th minute, Foggia managed to net a dramatic equaliser, meaning Parma secured second spot in Serie B via their head-to-head record with Frosinone.