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Football PIX: Ajax complete Dutch double; Lazio win Coppa Italia

May 16, 2019 09:31 IST

IMAGE: Ajax Amsterdam's players celebrate after winning the Dutch league title. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Ajax Amsterdam clinched the Dutch league title by finishing the season with a 4-1 win at De Graafschap on Wednesday.

They ended three points clear of PSV Eindhoven, who won 3-1 at home to Heracles Almelo on the last day of the campaign.

Ajax’s first title since 2014 and a record-extending 34th overall completed the double after they won the KNVB Cup earlier this month.

 

Ajax had been neck-and-neck with PSV over the last weeks, but made all but sure of the title on Sunday when they beat Utrecht while defending champions PSV lost.

That allowed Ajax to take a three-point advantage, plus a massive plus 14 goal difference, into Wednesday’s match.

Dusan Tadic scored twice against De Graafschap as Ajax said farewell to key midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who is joining Barcelona, and possibly several other players who are in demand following Ajax’s superb run to the Champions League semi-finals.

Ajax ended with 86 points and 119 goals scored in 34 games. PSV collected 83 points to join them in next season's Champions League.

Feyenoord came third after winning 4-1 at Fortuna Sittard, the last game in charge for their coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

Derby rally to beat Leeds; set final date with Villa

IMAGE: Derby County manager Frank Lampard celebrates winning the match against Leeds United. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Derby County moved a step closer to the English Premier League after reaching the Championship playoff final with a 4-2 win over Leeds United on Wednesday, as they roared back from a two-goal aggregate deficit to win 4-3 over two legs.

Jack Marriott came off the bench to score twice for Derby, including an 85th-minute winner in a pulsating encounter in which both teams were reduced to 10 men.

With Aston Villa awaiting the winners, Derby, managed by former England and Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, became the first team to turn around a first-leg home defeat in the playoffs, which provide the final promotion spot to England's top flight.

Leeds took the lead in the 24th minute when Kalvin Phillips launched a free kick into the box which bounced through the area and out off the post with Stuart Dallas reacting well to slot the ball home from close range.

That put Leeds 2-0 up on aggregate but just before the break, a terrible defensive mix-up between Leeds keeper Kiko Casilla and defender Liam Cooper allowed Derby substitute Marriott to convert into an empty net with his first touch of the game.

A minute after the interval Mason Mount put Derby 2-1 up with a fine finish after a clever touch from Harry Wilson, who then made it 3-1 on the night with a 58th-minute penalty.

Derby were attacking with pace and invention and scrapping for every ball in midfield but Leeds, managed by Argentine Marcelo Bielsa, were able to get back on level terms on aggregate with a fine effort from Dallas.

He cut in from the left and fired home a diagonal drive in the 62nd minute.

IMAGE: Harry Wilson, left, scores the third goal for Derby County from the penalty spot. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Leeds went down to 10 men though in the 78th minute after Gaetano Berardi was dismissed after a second yellow card for a late lunge on Bradley Johnson.

That gave Derby the belief to push for the decisive fourth goal with Wilson hitting the post in the 84th before Marriott grabbed the decider moments later with a clinical finish after good work from Richard Keogh.

Derby's celebrations were dampened slightly, however, by Scott Malone's red card in stoppage time, ruling him out of the final.

Lampard, who will come up against his former Chelsea team mate John Terry, who is assistant coach at Villa, hailed the approach of his players.

"I said to the lads that everyone had written us off. We changed the system and made a little tweak. But we needed the lads to show bravery on the ball and they did," he said.

"The goal before halftime gave the players belief and I am so delighted for Jack Marriott. I felt it was his night but I didn't know he'd do that. We have to enjoy the moment but now prepare for Aston Villa, but we'll be underdogs again," he said.

The final will be played at Wembley Stadium on May 27.

Lazio strike late to beat Atalanta in Coppa Italia final

IMAGE: Lazio's players celebrate with the trophy after winning the Coppa Italia . Photograph: Ciro De Luca/Reuters

Two late goals gave Lazio a 2-0 Coppa Italia final win over Atalanta at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday.

Substitute Sergej Milinkovic-Savic headed in from a corner with eight minutes remaining before Joaquin Correa's solo goal settled a nervy match in stoppage-time.

It was the seventh time Lazio have won the competition and their first triumph since 2013, the capital club’s victory ending four years of Juventus dominance in Italy’s domestic cup competition.

The victory also earned Lazio a place in the Europa League group stage for next season.

"It was a wonderful evening in front of marvellous fans," Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi told Rai.

"We had a great game, but also congratulations to Atalanta, as it was hard fought, the same way it was in Serie A, and this time we did well to turn the incidents our way.

"I told the lads that at times those who come off the bench are more important than the starting 11. I am satisfied, as we had a wonderful run in this Coppa Italia."

Atalanta, who were looking to lift the Coppa Italia for the first time since 1963, have been the story of the season in Italy, after making a surprise charge into the Champions League places in Serie A.

The game was a nervy affair from the start, but the Bergamo side created the best chance of the first half when Marten de Roon’s deflected shot struck the post with the goalkeeper beaten.

Lazio took the lead when Milinkovic-Savic rose to direct a header into the corner just minutes after coming off the bench.

Correa then put the result beyond doubt in stoppage time as he skipped past a defender, rounded the goalkeeper and tucked a finish in from close range.

“It’s a pity, but these finals are like that," Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini said.

"In the decisive moment, we seemed to be in better shape, but we lost the game on a corner. It’s a shame."

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