By RYAN TOLMICH
Sunderland’s dream end-of-season run continued on Saturday, with a 1-0 victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford drawing them ever closer to securing safety from relegation.
Sebastian Larrson’s 30th minute goal proved to be just enough for the visitors with United failing to find a goal in front of the Old Trafford crowd. The victory gives Sunderland a major boost in their quest to remain in the Premier League, as the Black Cats now lead Norwich City by three points and a 13-goal edge in goal difference in the fight for safety, while also holding a game in hand.
Sunderland’s win sealed Fulham’s fate as well, with the Cottagers’ 4-1 loss to Stoke City dooming them to a drop to the League Championship next season, marking Fulham’s first relegation in 13 years.
In other Premier League action, United’s crosstown rivals, Manchester City, took care of business at Everton 3-2 behind an Edin Dzeko brace. With the win, City keep control of their own destiny in the Premier League title race, while Arsenal clinch Champions League qualification due to the Everton defeat.
Here are some more news items from around Europe:
NAPOLI FAN SHOT PRIOR TO COPPA ITALIA FINAL
The start of Saturday’s Coppa Italia final between Napoli and Fiorentina was delayed for 45 minutes after a Napoli fan and a plainclothes police officer were shot prior to the game.
According to Italian police, the civilian victim, a Napoli supporter, was initially believed to have been shot by Roma fans in an act of hooligan violence. Police are now under the impression that local criminals were responsible in an effort to take advantage of the chaos brought about my a major cup final.
The actual match, which was scheduled to kick off at 8pm local time, was delayed after discussions between club officials, police and fans. Napoli captain Marek Hamsik even entered the Napoli supporters section in an effort to resolve the situation.
Both victims suffered injuries that aren’t believed to be life-threatening.
Napoli went on to win the Coppa Italia final, with Lorenzo Insigne scoring two goals in a 3-2 victory.
BARCELONA DRAWS GETAFE DUE TO STOPPAGE TIME EQUALIZER
Barcelona’s chase of the La Liga title suffered a major blow Saturday afternoon due to a 2-2 draw with Getafe brought about by a 92nd minute equalizer.
Lionel Messi opened the scoring for the hosts in the 23rd minute, paving the way for a Lafita equalizer just 14 minutes later. Alexis Sanchez restored the Barca advantage in the 67th, but Lafita once again found the back of the net, earning his side a crucial point in the fight against relegation.
With the draw, Barca now find themselves three points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid, despite Atletico having a game in hand. The Balugrana will look to rebound next Saturday when they take on Elche.
What did you think of Sunderland’s performance today? Will City win out? Are Barca officially out of the race?
Share your thoughts below.