Juventus Wins Italian Soccer League; Ajax Secures Dutch TitlePeter-Joseph Hegarty
Juventus secured its record-extending 29th Italian soccer championship with a 1-0 win against Palermo. Ajax clinched the Dutch title for a third straight season.
Lionel Messi scored twice in a 4-2 comeback win yesterday that pushed Barcelona to the brink of the Spanish league title, while 10-man Paris Saint-Germain drew 1-1 to move to within one victory of its first French championship since 1994.
Juventus only needed a draw at home yesterday to retain its Serie A crown, though took all three points with a 59th-minute penalty by Arturo Vidal. With three games remaining, Turin-based Juventus has an unbeatable 11-point lead over Napoli, which beat Inter Milan 3-1 last night.
“It wasn’t easy for us to reclaim our title this year,” Juventus manager Antonio Conte said on his team’s website. “Starting out as favorites doesn’t do you any favors.”
Ajax won the Dutch league for a record-extending 32nd time, and the third straight year, with a 5-0 home victory over the Eredivisie’s last-place team, Willem II.
Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Christian Eriksen put Ajax 2-0 up by halftime and the Amsterdam-based team added goals by Viktor Fischer, Siem de Jong and Danny Hoesen after the break.
Ajax has 73 points, four more than second-place PSV Eindhoven with one game left. PSV had a 4-2 home win over NEC, while third-place Feyenoord lost 2-0 at Den Haag.
Frank de Boer is the third coach to lead Ajax to three straight league titles, after Rinus Michels and Louis van Gaal. De Boer also won the league three times in a row as a player in the 1990s with Ajax, which automatically reaches next season’s Champions League, with PSV set to go into a qualifying round.
“It is a very nice list to be part of,” de Boer told reporters. “When you are compared with people like that, you can only feel proud.”
In Spain, World Player of the Year Messi scored twice after coming on as a substitute to give Barcelona the win against Real Betis after it twice trailed.
Barcelona has an 11-point lead with four matches remaining and would clinch its 22nd title if defending champion Real Madrid fails to beat Malaga on April 8. Real Madrid defeated Real Valladolid 4-3 two days ago as Cristiano Ronaldo got two goals at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
In France, Ligue 1 leader PSG drew 1-1 at home against Valenciennes last night after losing Thiago Silva to a 43rd-minute red card. Gael Danic put Valenciennes ahead in the 17th minute, and Alex tied it for PSG with seven minutes left.
The capital club leads second-place Marseille, which beat Bastia 2-1 two days ago, by seven points with three games to go.
In Germany, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich drew 1-1 in a warmup for their Champions League final on May 25. Bayer Leverkusen beat Nuremberg 2-0 to clinch third place.
Bayern, which secured its 23rd German league championship last month, is 20 points ahead of second-place Dortmund.
Elsewhere, Galatasaray retained the Turkish league title after a 4-2 home win against Sivasspor lifted it 10 points clear of Fenerbahce, while FC Copenhagen was confirmed as Danish champion for the 10th time following a 0-0 draw with Brondby.