Garcia celebrates while despair for Viduka and Jones
There was despair and joy across Europe for many of Aussie players with several suffering the indignity of relegation with their teams, while Richard Garcia was celebrating Hull City’s great escape.
There was despair and joy across Europe for many of Aussie players with several suffering the indignity of relegation with their teams, while Richard Garcia was celebrating Hull City-s great escape.
In the English Premier League, Mark Viduka-s Newcastle United and Brad Jones Middlesbrough were relegated to the Championship next season, after they both suffered losses to Aston Villa and West Ham respectively. Also suffering relegation was Josh Kennedy, although his was bitter-sweet as he notched his first goals for Karlsruhe since last year in a 4-0 win.
Most interest for Aussie fans was in the English Premier League, with four teams staring down the barrel of relegation. In the end, all four teams lost, ensuring that Sunderland and Hull stayed up and north-east giants Newcastle and Middlesbrough were relegated.
Viduka was replaced in the 75th minute, setting up a good chance for Martins early on with some of his special ingenuity, but for the most part he was given little room and chances in the 1-0 loss to Villa. Newcastle finished 18th.
At Upton Park, Brad Jones made a costly error to gift West Ham a second goal, letting the ball slip through his outstretched arms as he dived for what looked a fairly relegation low save. The goal came shortly after Boro had equalised and still within a shot of avoiding relegation with the other teams all down in their matches. Lucas Neill played a full game for the Hammers. The loss saw Boro remain in 19th position, while West Ham was 9th.
It was a happier time for Garcia though, despite a 1-0 loss to an under-strength Manchester United side. At the final whistle, there was wild celebrations when news of all the other results going their way. Garcia played 82 minutes of the match.
Elsewhere in the EPL, Vince Grella was replaced in the 70th minute, as Blackburn Rovers drew 0-0 with West Bromwich Albion; Mark Schwarzer played a full game, as Fulham secured a place in next season-s Europa League, despite going down 2-0 at home to Tim Cahill-s Everton. Cahill played a full game as Everton finished in 5th spot and Fulham in 7th.
There was heartbreak for Scott McDonald in Scotland, with Celtic handed the title to fierce rivals Rangers. While Rangers were winning comfortably at Dundee United, Celtic was struggling to find the back of the net at home against Hearts, eventually drawing 0-0. McDonald was replaced in the 69th minute, as Celtic had to settle for second spot.
Meanwhile Danny Invincibile returned from injury for the final game of the season and scored in a 2-1 win away at Motherwell. Invincibile opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a 12-yard shot and played the full game.
In Germany, Josh Kennedy scored twice in the second half to help Karlsruhe to a stunning 4-0 win over Hertha Berlin, but it was too little too late, as they jumped only one spot on the final ladder, with Energie Cottbus winning 3-0 to stay ahead of Karlsruhe and in position for the Bundesliga play-off game against Nurnberg. Up 2-0, Kennedy showed what he could do, with two close range goals that effectively the sealed the win for his side.
Dario Vidosic came on in the 76th minute, as Nurnberg won 2-1 against 1860 Munich that left in 3rd spot and the chance to win promotion to the Bundesliga, with a play-off game against Energie Cottbus.
In Italy, the news wasn-t much better for Mark Bresciano, who played a full game in Palermo-s 2-2 draw away at Atalanta. The draw ended any hopes Palermo had of making it to next season-s Europa Cup, after nearest challengers Roma beat AC Milan 3-2. Carl Valeri also saw Grosseto-s promotion chances evaporate on the weekend, after they were held to a draw by Ancona with Valeri coming on in the 57th minute. Grosseto sits three places and four points out of the promotion spots.
Michael Petkovic-s Sivasspor still remain in contention for the Turkish title after surviving a torrid test from Genclerbirligi, whom featured its three Aussie stars. Sivasspor won 3-2 with Petkovic playing a full game, while James Troisi scored for Genclerbirligi and played a full game, as did Mile Jedinak returning from injury, while Bruce Djite came on as a late substitute. Sivasspor remain two points behind Besiktas, who won 2-1 at home against Galatasaray, with Harry Kewell playing a full game and scoring Gala-s goal in the 49th minute. There is one game remaining.
Meanwhile in Switzerland, Scott Chipperfield made a return from injury to the FC Basel side, coming on as a 59th minute substitute, although it ultimately in a 4-1 loss at Grasshoppers. The loss effectively ended any hopes Basel had of winning the title.
Finally, Luke Wilkshire played a full game, as Dinamo Moscow won 1-0 at home against Zenit St Petersburg.