Tense finish for Aussie stars
It’s set to be a tense finish to the season for many of our boys in Europe, as titles and relegation battles in the next two weeks to decide final placings in their respective leagues.
It-s set to be a tense finish to the season for many of our boys in Europe, as titles and relegation battles in the next two weeks to decide final placings in their respective leagues.
Scott McDonald (Celtic), Michael Petkovic (Sivasspor) and Scott Chipperfield (FC Basel) will all be hoping for the perfect finish to the season, which needs them to win their final games, but more importantly the teams at the top of the table to lose just one game and they will be champions.
Celtic gave up top spot once again to Rangers with just one game remaining, after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Hibernian. McDonald had one glorious chance at the end of half time to break the deadlock, but skewed his shot across the face of goal. They are now two points behind Rangers with Celtic at home to Hearts and Rangers away to Dundee United in the final game of the season.
Petkovic meanwhile was again in goals for Sivasspor, as they won 2-1 away at Hacettepe and still sit 2 points behind leaders Besiktas with two games to go.
In probably the most crucial title match anywhere in Europe came in Switzerland, where FC Basel in second came up against leaders FC Zurich and came away with a 3-1 win in Zurich. Chipperfield did not play once again due to injury, with the result lifting Basel to within a point of the leaders, with 2 games remaining.
Most interest for Australians in the English Premier League unfortunately is situated down at the bottom of the table, with the twists and turns continuing. Two of Australia-s biggest stars faced off at St James Park, with Mark Viduka-s Newcastle United looking for a win to end their relegation nightmare. Viduka thought he had scored five minutes after the break to draw Newcastle level, but a controversial foul on Aussie No.1 Mark Schwarzer saw it ruled out. Fulham went on to win 1-0 and maintain 7th spot and a Europa Cup spot still there-s to lose. Newcastle meanwhile slipped back into the relegation zone and need a result and other results to go their way to avoid the drop to the Championship.
It was better news for Richard Garcia, as they overtook Newcastle after grabbing a vital point on the road at Bolton Wanderers. Garcia played a full game and it was his ball into the penalty area, that saw Craig Fagan equalise for the Tigers and which they held onto. They however face the daunting task of the EPL Champions Manchester United in their final game of the season, although they could possibly rest a host of stars to refresh them for the European Champions League final four days later.
There was no joy for Brad Jones, as Middlesbrough let a golden opportunity slip to avoid the drop, allowing Aston Villa to score a late equaliser. Jones played a full game for Boro, but they now must win big away at West Ham and hope both Newcastle and Hull City get beaten; Hull by a big margin.
Meanwhile Everton confirmed their place in Europe next season with a 3-1 win over West Ham. Tim Cahill was at the centre of many good things for Everton and when he was brought down in the penalty box, it resulted in a West Ham red card to James Tomkins and Louis Saha opening the scoring. Cahill was replaced with 10 minutes to go and Lucas Neill played a full game for the Hammers. Vince Grella also played a full game, as Blackburn Rovers lost 2-0 away at Chelsea.
In Germany, Josh Kennedy still has a glimmer of hope of staying in the Bundesliga with Karlsruhe, after they scored a surprise 3-1 win away at Werder Bremen. Kennedy played 84 minutes and while they still sit last, they are now only a point behind third-bottom side Arminia Bielefeld, who sit in the relegation play-off spot. All three automatic relegation candidates play at home in the final round, with Karlsruhe playing Hertha Berlin; Arminia playing Hannover 96 and Energie Cottbus playing Bayer Leverkusen.
Meanwhile in the Bundesliga 2 competition, Dario Vidosic came at half time, but this time couldn-t find a winning goal as Nurnberg drew 0-0 away at Hansa Rostock. They now sit three points adrift of 2nd place Mainz, but importantly four points clear of fourth spot. If they finish in 3rd they will play in to the Bundesliga play-off game against the 3rd last place Bundesliga side.
In other action, Mark Bresciano played a full game for Palermo as they won 2-0 against Lazio and keep their hopes of a Europa Cup spot alive; Harry Kewell scored after coming on as a first half substitute, to help Galatasaray to a 2-1 win over Genclerbirligi. Mile Jedinak though continues to remain injured for Genclerbirligi and missed the match, while Bruce Djite and James Troisi both came on as second half substitutes. Luke Wilkshire played a full game as Dinamo Moscow drew 0-0 away at Saturn Moscow, Michael Beauchamp did not play in Aalborg-s 2-2 draw with AC Horsens in Denmark, while Ante Covic played a full game, as Elfsborg continued their impressive start to the season with a 4-0 thumping of Halmstad.