Thursday Kickoff: Madrid clinch La Liga, coach axed for attacking player & more

Thursday Kickoff: Madrid clinch La Liga, coach axed for attacking player & more

Mexican Soccer

Thursday Kickoff: Madrid clinch La Liga, coach axed for attacking player & more

HalaMadrid (Reuters Pictures)

Add Spain to the list of countries that Jose Mourinho has conquered.

Real Madrid defeated Athletic Bilbao 3-0 Wednesday to put the finishing touches on their record 32nd La Liga championship and first since the 2007-2008 season. With two games remaining in the season, Madrid lead Barcelona by seven points, thus ending their rivals' three-year reign in Spain.

Cristiano Ronaldo recovered from a penalty kick miss to assist on Mesut Ozil's goal and score one of his own after Gonzalo Higuain opened the scoring on the road against Bilbao, the UEFA Europa League and Copa del Rey finalists.

For Mourinho, he now has won league titles in England (Chelsea), Italy (Inter Milan), Portugal (Porto) and Spain, adding another accomplishment to his coaching resume.

Here are a few more stories to get your Thursday going:

FIORENTINA COACH FIRED FOR ATTACKING PLAYER

The lesson, as always: Don't physically attack your players on the sideline.

Fiorentina boss Delio Rossi found that out the hard way, as he was immediately axed after attacking one of his players during the club's 2-2 draw with Novara on Wednesday. 

Rossi went after Adem Ljajic, who sarcastically gave the thumbs up for Rossi subbing him off in the first half of the match. Here is video of the incident:

TIJUANA, PACHUCA FACE UPHILL CLIMBS

If Joe Corona, Edgar Castillo, Greg Garza and Jose Francisco Torres want to taste championship glory, their teams will have to come up with some inspired performances on the road.

Corona and Castillo both started in Tijuana's 2-1 home loss to Monterrey in the first leg of the Mexican liguilla quarterfinals Wednesday night. Castillo played all 90 minutes, while Corona was subbed off in the 71st minute for Raul Enriquez, whose 87th-minute goal gives Xolos a lifeline heading into next week's return leg. Garza was an unused substitute.

Torres, meanwhile, went the distance in Pachuca's 3-1 home loss to Club America. Pachuca fell behind 3-0 before Leobardo Lopez' late penalty kick got them on the board. Both second leg matches will be played on Saturday.

MOTHERWELL CLINCH CHAMPIONS LEAGUE BERTH

The Scottish entrants into the Champions League are a bit more different than usual. Celtic will occupy one of the country's two places in the qualifying round after clinching the league title, but with rival Rangers set to be ineligible because of their financial situation, third-place Motherwell has benefited and will play on Europe's biggest stage.

Rangers' 5-0 win over Dundee United Wednesday ensured that Motherwell would finish in third, qualifying for the Champions League for the first time.

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Where do you think winning La Liga ranks for Mourinho's accomplishments? What do you make of Rossi's actions? Think either Tijuana or Pachuca can rebound and advance to the semifinals? Think Motherwell has a chance to advance past the opening UCL qualifying rounds?

Share your thoughts below.

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