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The Stagcom 24th April Round Up

If you're a football fanatic, then that was a weekend for you. High drama, high quality; there was a bit of everything in the world of football.

There was so much going on that you may not have been able to keep on top of all the action, so luckily for you - we did! Here we bring you all of the talking points from the weekend in our round-up.

FA CUP SEMIS

The FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley over the weekend more than lived up to expectation, with two fantastic ties taking place.

On Saturday, Chelsea overcame an impressive Tottenham Hotspur to eventually come out 4-2 winners. Antonio Conte surprised many by resting Eden Hazard and Diego Costa, but one of the replacements, Willian, fired in an early free-kick. Harry Kane levelled with a stooping header, but Chelsea went in ahead at the break after Willian scored again with a penalty. Dele Alli scored to make it 2-2, but two stunning late goals from Hazard and Nemanja Matic gave Chelsea the win.

The Premier League leaders will face Arsenal in the final after the Gunners overcame Manchester City in the other semi-final. It looked like it would be another bad day at the office for Arsene Wenger's side when Sergio Aguero gave City a second-half lead, but they found an equaliser through an unlikely source in Nacho Monreal to take the game to extra-time. Fernandinho hit the crossbar with a header in the first period of extra-time, before Alexis Sanchez made himself the hero with a close-range finish. Could the FA Cup save Arsenal's disappointing season?

IMPORTANT WINS

In the Premier League, it was a pivotal weekend at the bottom of the Premier League. With Sunderland and Middlesbrough all-but relegated, it looks to be between Swansea City and Hull City for the last relegation spot.

It's the Swans who currently occupy that spot, but they gained a valuable three points on Saturday with a win over Stoke City. Fernando Llorente scored a first-half header to put the Swans ahead; Stoke then missed the chance to level when Marko Arnautovic blaze a penalty high over the bar. Within a minute, Tom Carroll doubled the hosts' lead to seal the win.

That win meant that Hull needed to follow suit, to remain above the drop zone and they duly delivered with a 2-0 win over Watford. Oumar Niasse was harshly shown a straight red card early on, but Hull responded well and went ahead through Lazar Markovic in the second-half, before Sam Clucas wrapped up the points with a stunning volley.

MESSI MAGIC

We usually focus our weekend round-up on British sport, but there's no way we could bring you this week's without mentioning Lionel Messi's stunning performance in El Clasico.

The Argentinian forward reaffirmed his status as the world's greatest player by scoring a brace as Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3-2 at the Bernabeu.

Casemiro gave Real the lead, but Messi soon equalised with a composed finish. Ivan Rakitic looked to have won the game for Barca with a thunderous left-footed strike, but James Rodriguez levelled in the dying moments. The game looked to be heading for a draw until, with the last action of the game, Sergi Roberto made a surging run forward and played the ball out to Jordi Alba, who cut the ball back for Messi to slot home to claim a priceless three-points.

FINALISTS CONFIRMED

It was semi-finals weekend in the European Champions Cup and we were treated to two pulsating ties. Defending champions Saracens overcame a stern test from Munster to run out 26-10 winners.

Munster dominated the first-half, but the score line didn't reflect it and Sarries pulled away in the second-half thanks to ties from Mako Vunipola and Chris Wyles to set up their third Champions Cup final in the past four seasons.

Their opponents in the final will be Clermont Auvergne after the French side defeated Leinster on Sunday. Clermont raced into an early lead thanks to scores from Peceli Yato and David Strettle, but the two-time finalists had to survive a late onslaught from the Irish side.
The final between Saracens and Clermont will take place in Edinburgh on Saturday, 13 May.

Image Credits: Acca Tracker, HNV News, Billy Crawford, Sky Sports, Saracens

Back to articles Date Posted: Monday 24th April 2017 Author: George Crewe