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Talking points from European soccer

TALKING points from the weekend in European soccer leagues:

ITALY

INTER AIM TO SEAL TITLE IN MILAN DERBY

Inter Milan were held to a 2-2 draw by lowly Cagliari on Sunday but can still claim the Serie A title with five games to spare if they beat second-placed AC Milan in their next match and recent meetings between the sides suggest that is likely.

Inter have won the last five Milan derbies in all competitions, thrashing Stefano Pioli’s side 5-1 in their most recent encounter in September.,

They beat Milan 3-0 on aggregate in the 2022-23 Champions League semi-finals and won 3-0 in the 2022 Italian Super Cup.

Milan last beat Inter 3-2 in September 2022 in the league.


SPAIN

REAL, BARCA AND ATLETI ALL WIN AHEAD OF BIG EUROPEAN WEEK

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid all won while resting regular starters in their LaLiga matches on Saturday ahead of their Champions League quarter-final, second legs.

Spain will bid to have three teams in the semis for the first time in 24 years as Real visits Manchester City after a 3-3 draw, Barca hosts PSG after a 3-2 win in Paris and Atletico travels to Borussia Dortmund following a 2-1 win at home.

The last time Spain had three representatives among Europe’s top-four clubs was in the 1999-2000 season when Real, Barca and Valencia qualified for the Champions League semi-finals.

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At that time, Real beat Bayern Munich and Valencia shocked Barca to make it an all-Spanish final, the first in which two teams from the same country met in the competition’s history.

Real, who have now been European champions 14 times, beat Valencia 3-0 to secure a record-extending eighth title.


FRANCE

BREST’S ROY SLAMS REFEREE AND VAR AFTER LOSS AT LYON

Second-placed Brest missed the chance to break the club’s all-time points record and close the gap on leaders Paris St Germain after losing 4-3 at Olympique Lyonnais.

Brest, close to securing European qualification for the first time, saw a 3-1 lead disappear by conceding two goals in less than 10 minutes and a penalty deep in added time.

But for coach Eric Roy, the referee and VAR played a big part in a loss that left them 10 points off PSG after not awarding a first-half penalty for a handball by Lyon’s Jake O’Brien, which could have turned the tide in a thriller.

“We’re taken for fools,” Roy told reporters. “It’s a difficult evening but we have already experienced others this season.

“We have been mishandled a few times by unfavourable decisions but that’s football today. We are experiencing some extraordinary moments in football.”

By The African Mirror

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