Each weekend you hear the latest goings on at the big clubs but there is plenty of news happening elsewhere that you might have missed.
We’re going to shine the spotlight on clubs and leagues outside of the biggest names.
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Championship playoffs hot up
The playoffs in the Championship are finely poised following the first legs of the semi-finals. On Friday evening, Luton and Huddersfield played out a 1-1 draw, with the second leg set to be played on Monday evening at John Smith’s Stadium.
The other play off saw Nottingham Forest take a 2-1 first leg lead over Sheffield United. With the second leg taking place at City Ground on Tuesday, Nottingham Forest look favourites to be playing at Wembley later this month.
Playoffs in League One are set
The League One Playoff Final is set with Sunderland and Wycombe Wanderers clashing at Wembley Stadium on May 21st. Sunderland overcame Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 on aggregate with a stoppage time goal from Patrick Roberts in the second leg proving to be the difference.
The other semi-final pitted Wycombe against MK Dons and The Chairboys were able to overcome The Dons by a 2-1 scoreline. Wycombe have become adept at overcoming the odds in the past few years, but will they be able to return to the Championship at the first time of asking?
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Swindon and Mansfield hold League Two advantage
The third tier of English football has also seen their playoffs start with both Mansfield Town and Swindon Town both holding 2-1 advantages following their first leg ties. The final is set to take place on May 28th and both sides will be keen to book their places.
Mansfield were able to come out on top against Northampton Town in the first leg but face a tough trip to Sixfields Stadium on Wednesday evening to face a side that only missed out on automatic promotion on goals scored. Swindon Town are in a similar boat, facing a tricky second leg away to Vale Park, where they will hope their slender lead will be enough.
Stockport County make triumphant return to EFL
The National League season came to a close on Sunday, with Stockport County doing enough to seal their promotion back to the Football League after three seasons in the non league. Who they will be joined by remains a mystery with Wrexham, Solihull Moors, Halifax Town, Notts County, Grimsby Town and Chesterfield all entering the playoffs in the hope of becoming part of the 92.
A thriller in Portland
The MLS had a cracking match up overnight on Sunday when Sporting KC travelled to Portland to take on the Timbers. The first half didn’t see much action, with Portland taking a 1-0 lead into the break but the second half sprung into life with eight goals and two sending offs.
Portland raced into a 4-0 lead before the hour mark and you wouldn’t be forgiven for assuming the game was over. A furious half hour followed though with Portland scoring three more times, Sporting KC doing their best to haul themselves back into the match with two goals and both sides having a man sent off within four minutes of each other.
It was a break taking second period that showed the best (and worst) of one of the more exciting leagues in world football.
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Chelsea make it four FA Cups in eight years
The Women’s FA Cup Final took place on Sunday with Chelsea pitted against Man City. Chelsea looked to be heading towards victory, before a 89th minute equaliser from Hayley Raso sent the game to extra time.
Sam Kerr was, once again, the women Chelsea turned to for inspiration though and the two time WSL golden boot winner delivered, scoring int the ninth minute of extra-time to allow The Blues to retain their FA Cup and secure the double.
Salernitana’s great escape
Serie A is about to reach a blistering climax at both ends of the table with the relegation picture still blurry. Venezia and Genoa are already relegated but the final place in the bottom three is still to be decided. Salernitana looked dead and buried not too long ago after going on a run of just one win in twenty games but the side have come together and put together an incredible run of form to end the season.
They’ve gone seven games without a loss, winning four of those and gaining 15 points, just under half of their total for the entire season (31). It’s a run that has seen them rise out of the bottom three and put Cagliari in real danger of a return to Serie B.
The final weekend promises plenty of drama but will Salernitana be able to pull off the great escape?
Ben Yedder’s 10 minute hat trick
Monaco’s Champions League hopes hung in the balance at one point on Saturday, with Brest taking an early 2-0 lead against them and Rennes looking comfortable against Marseille, but they were able to look towards their top scorer and he duly delivered.
Wissam Ben Yedder netted a hat trick within ten minutes, albeit it either side of half time, to haul his side back into the lead and move them to within just one point of Champions League football next season. The third goal was his 24th of a remarkable season and really proved his worth to Monaco as they look to return to Europe’s elite.
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League winners around Europe
- Ajax were able to tie up the Eredivisie title to send Erik ten Hag on his way with a championship. Their 2-2 draw with Vitesse proved to be enough to see them finish two points ahead of PSV.
- Lech Poznan won the Polish Ekstraklasa with a 2-1 victory over Warta Poznan, giving them their first championship since 2015.
- Club Brugge retained their Belgian Jupiler Pro League title with a 3-1 win over Antwerp. It was an incredible season for Union SG in the first season back in the top flight but they came up just short in their quest for another league title.
The 2017/18 season started as a disaster for Crystal Palace. They lost their opening seven league games and were odds on favourites to be relegated to the second tier of English football. They went for broke though, dismissing Frank de Boer and appointing Roy Hodgson as their new manager.
Hodgson was able to work his magic, and Palace lost just four of their following 19 games. It was an incredible turn around for the side and they ended up finishing in 11th position in the Premier League.
Fast forward to 30th September 2021 and La Liga minnows, Getafe, found themselves in the same position. Seven games played, seven losses. Commence #MisiónCrystalPalace.
Tenemos una misión. 🎯
Junto a vosotros, lo vamos a conseguir. 💙
— Getafe C.F. (@GetafeCF) September 30, 2021
They set themselves the target of emulating Hodgson’s Crystal Palace side in order to save their status in Spain’s top flight. It was a mission they accomplished at the weekend, with the club securing the point they needed against Barcelona, of all sides.
There aren’t many links between the two clubs but this one seems unbreakable with both teams pulling off the greatest of escapes.
Crystal Palace 🤝 Getafe CF