Welcome to this week’s edition of The Corner where we take a look at football leagues across Europe.
We start this week with Benfica who on Sunday and with two games spare were crowned champions of Portugal.
The Eagles won the title when they beat Olhanense thanks to a Lima double.
Their 33th domestic league title not only washed away the bitter taste of losing out on the crown on the penultimate day last term but also handed the club the ideal confidence boost ahead of Thursday’s Europa League semi-final with Juventus.
Atletico continue march towards title
It’s still all to play for over the border in Spain although Atletico Madrid did enjoy their 8th consecutive league win and with it edged closer to a first La Liga title in 18 years.
Atletico battled past Elche on Friday. After a missed David Villa penalty, Miranda and Diego Costa came to the rescue late on for a 2-0 win.
Troubled Barcelona were tested at home by Athletic Bilbao.
Three straight defeats has sent the Catalans out of the Champions League, cost them the Kings Cup title and left them trailing in the League.
But Barca celebrated a 2-1 comeback win over the weekend against Bilbao with Lionel Messi smashing home a superb free kick for the winner.
Four points now separate Barca and Altetico.
Real Madrid are 6 points off the leader’s pace but have a game in hand.
Real were not in action over the weekend following Wednesday’s Kings Cup triumph over Barca in which Gareth Bale scored a stunning solo effort for the winner.
Real are also still in the Champions League at the semi-final stage meaning Carlo Ancelotti and his men remain on track for a treble-winning season.
Schalke fall off the pace for second place
In Germany Borussia Dortmund cemented second place in the Bundesliga following a 4-2 win over Mainz on Saturday.
The players were even able to sit back and enjoy watching their rivals Schalke lose on Sunday.
It was an important game for both Schalke and Stuttgart at opposite ends of the table.
Stuttgart started the afternoon one point above the drop zone but went ahead on 23 minutes thanks to Martin Harnik.
Germany striker Cacau made the most of a deep cross by Ibrahima Traore to neatly head the ball past keeper Ralf Fahrmann and double Stuttgart’s lead 54 minutes in.
Austria forward Harnik was back on the scoresheet shortly afterwards when he slotted in the third to give hosts some extra breathing room.
With 20 minutes remaining Schalke pulled one back through substitute Ádám Szalai but Stuttgart held firm to enjoy a 3-1 win – their third victory in seven league outings since Huub Stevens took over last month.
With three games to go, the Schalke trail Dortmund by six points but now have Leverkusen lurking close behind after their win at Nuremberg.
Stuttgart meanwhile are in 15th position four points clear of the relegation playoff spot in 16th.
Zwolle stun Ajax for maiden Dutch Cup title
In Rotterdam Ajax suffered a shock defeat by PEC Zwolle in the Dutch Cup final.
It was a heated affair in which play was interrupted twice as fans threw fireworks onto the pitch.
It turned out to be a sensational upset against 18-time champions Ajax who got off the mark first and in stunning fashion thanks to Ricardo van Rhijn – a goal that prompted a second wave of fireworks to descend upon the pitch and cause a delay in play.
Three minutes after teh action resumed New Zealand teenager Ryan Thomas leveled matters through a deflected effort.
Four minutes later Thomas was at it again and knocked in a rebound to put his side in control.
Guyon Fernandez added two more in the space of four minutes to put the unfancied Zwolle 4-1 up.
Bram van Polen scored what turned out to be the final goal of the tie just after the break to leave Zwolle celebrating a maiden Dutch Cup title and a shell-shocked Ajax scratching their heads.
Paris win League Cup final
In France Paris Saint Germain celebrated their first silverware of the year.
Laurent Blanc’s team beat Lyon to win the League Cup.
Edinson Cavani’s double handed the capital club the title for a record fourth time whilst exacting sweet revenge for their league defeat to Lyon last week.
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