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Soccer Wrap: Joy for Sociedad, heartbreak for Espanyol

May 29, 2023 00:24 IST
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Beaten Real Sociedad secure Champions League spot, Espanyol relegated

Real Sociedad

IMAGE: Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

Real Sociedad suffered a 2-1 defeat at Atletico Madrid in LaLiga on Sunday, but secured a top-four finish and Champions League qualification after Villarreal also lost 2-1 at Rayo Vallecano.

With one round remaining, Real Sociedad are fourth with 68 points, five ahead of fifth-placed Villarreal.


Real Sociedad will join Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, and LaLiga champions Barcelona in Europe's elite club competition next season.

Atletico Madrid showed no mercy to Sociedad, with Antoine Griezmann scoring eight minutes before the break and Nahuel Molina doubling their lead after 73 minutes.

Alexander Sorloth pulled one back for Sociedad in the 88th minute, but they could not find a leveller.

Espanyol will join the already-relegated Elche in the second tier after a 2-2 draw against Valencia earlier on Sunday.

The Barcelona-based club needed to win to maintain any chance of avoiding relegation, but their hopes were dashed when Valencia's Samuel Lino equalised three minutes into stoppage time.

"To get to this situation we have done many things wrong, but I think sincerely, from the most self-critical position personally and as a group, that we don't deserve this in this way," Espanyol midfielder Sergi Darder told Movistar.

Milan seal top four finish with 1-0 win at Juventus

AC Milan

IMAGE: AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli celebrates with Olivier Giroud after the match. Photograph: Massimo Pinca/Reuters

AC Milan secured a place in the Champions League next season with a 1-0 victory at Juventus as a goal from Olivier Giroud ensured a top-four finish in Serie A on Sunday.

Fourth-placed Milan on 67 points hold a six-point advantage over fifth-placed Atalanta heading into the final round of matches, while Juventus sit seventh with 59.

Milan took the lead five minutes before the break when Giroud steered home a header inside the box.

As a tired-looking Juventus side failed to find an equaliser the match fizzled out accompanied by boos from the home fans.

Juve's season ended with Europa League exit at Sevilla says Allegri

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri said on Sunday that their season effectively ended after a 3-2 aggregate defeat in their Europa League semi-final against Sevilla earlier this month.

Shortly after the European exit, Juve were docked 10 points in Serie A in connection with their transfer dealings, dropping them to seventh place where they currently stand on 59 points.

Since then, Juventus have suffered a shock 4-1 defeat at lowly Empoli and a 1-0 loss at home to AC Milan on Sunday that dashed any faint hopes of a top-four finish.

"It’s sad to say it, but our season ended in Seville. That is where we ran out of mental energy," Allegri told DAZN after Milan secured a Champions league spot with their win.

"...It has been an anomalous season, the team put together 69 points, so we should be proud and thank them for what they did," Allegri added, stressing that without the points penalty, they would have qualified for the Champions League.

"Football gives, football takes away, just like life. We will emerge fortified from this situation. But some teams qualified for the Champions League because we had 10 points taken away. Everyone can agree on that, can’t they?”

Allegri said the foundations of the club remained strong and the accomplishments of the season should not be underestimated.

"There are some teams who spent six years without being in the top four. On the field, we were in third place. We played the Europa League semi-final and the Coppa Italia semi-final."

With one match left at Udinese next Sunday, Allegri said the season cannot end soon enough for his tired squad.

"The main thing now is just to rest, the sooner, the better. After the Udinese game, we must calmly evaluate and realise there are good foundations, it is not all to be thrown away."

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