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A look back at a wild day across Europe

SuboticRobben (Getty Images)

It was just one of those days in European soccer.

A wild stretch in which Alessandro Del Piero showed he still has it in a landmark appearance, Wigan Athletic beat Manchester United for the first time, Arjen Robben was twice the goat for Bayern Munich, a third-tier French side reached the final of a domestic cup and Cristiano Ronaldo struck for a hat trick transpired in a matter of hours overseas in one of the more memorable days of the season.

Here's a look back and some video highlights of the madness:

ENGLAND

Wigan Athletic handed Manchester United their first loss since Jan. 4 and grabbed their first win over the Red Devils in 15 tries in stunning fashion at DW Stadium.

Shaun Maloney's bending shot from the top of the box after a corner kick was the only goal Wigan needed to pull the stunner and grab three huge points while the club fights for its top-flight life. Those points brought Wigan out of the drop zone — for the first time since October — and into 17th place, while Bolton, who has a game in hand, trails the Latics by two points.

With the Red Devils leaving the door open, Manchester City crept back into the title race after being left for dead, thrashing West Brom 4-0 behind two goals and two assists from Sergio Aguero with one of those assists setting up reinstated starter Carlos Tevez.

United's lead is down to five points with five games remaining, including one massive match at Etihad Stadium against City on April 30.

Arsenal, meanwhile, took care of business against Wolves with a 3-0 victory that fortified the Gunners' standing in third place. They are now five points clear of both Tottenham and Newcastle and seven points clear of Chelsea.

GERMANY

Borussia Dortmund took a major step toward defending their Bundesliga title with a thrilling 1-0 victory over second-place Bayern Munich to sweep the season series and open up a six-point lead in the table.

Robert Lewandowksi's 77th-minute goal was the difference, but not before an enthralling stretch in which Robben drew a penalty and had it saved by Roman Weidenfeller and then missed a wide open net from point-blank range after Neven Subotic's backwards header hit off the crossbar, narrowly missing out on becoming an equalizing own goal. Here are the highlights:

SPAIN

Cristiano Ronaldo's two golazos and a penalty kick helped Real Madrid to a 4-1 win over rival Atletico Madrid and gave the Spanish leaders some much-needed breathing room atop the table with a Clasico against lurking Barcelona around the corner.

Ronaldo's first-half, swerving free kick put Real Madrid up top, but Colombian hitman Radamel Falcao tied things up with a second-half header to bring the supporters Estadio Vicente Calderon to their feet. Ronaldo struck again, though, tucking a blast from outside the area inside the far post for the decider before scoring from the spot for his 40th league goal of the season, pulling one ahead of Lionel Messi and matching his own record. Ronaldo capped off his day by assisting Jose Maria Callejon for the final tally. Here are the highlights:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RL669__W78Q]

ITALY

Juventus stayed undefeated on the season, with Del Piero marking his 700th club appearance with a late free kick that gave Juve a 2-1 victory over Lazio. Simone Pepe's bicycle kick off a perfect feed from Andrea Pirlo opened the scoring before Mauri tied things up. 

The win helped Juventus back to the top of the table after AC Milan had taken a brief two-point edge after their victory over Chievo Verona on Tuesday. Here are the highlights:

FRANCE

Never heard of third-tier side Quevilly? That's OK. They've only reached the final of the Coupe de France.

The club's stunning run through the tournament reached a new high after a stoppage-time goal gave Quevilly a 2-1 semifinal victory over Stade Rennes.

Quevilly, which upset Marseille in the quarterfinals, will look to claim their third consecutive Ligue 1 opponent in the final, when they meet Lyon.

NETHERLANDS

AZ Alkmaar allowed FC Twente to steal a draw with a 90th-minute goal, and Ajax's 5-0 victory over Heerenveen allowed the league leaders to increase their edge to three points over Jozy Altidore's side with five matches to go in the season.

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What did you think of all of today's action? Which result stood out for you the most?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. I guess I’d have to ask if your contempt is a matter of a strict moral standard you measure people by, or the fact that their decision regarding how to live their life wasn’t to the advantage of your rooting interest. If it is a matter of morality… do you use the same standard / hold the same contempt for the players on the USMNT that made very similar decisions?

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  2. I would never wish injury on someone, but I also reserve my right to hold those players that opt against playing for the US in a special place of contempt. Although I must say I don’t hold Subotic in the same class as I hold _____ from Jersey.

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  3. Did anyone else notice the bananas on the ground in the Bayern goal when Dortmund scored? I’m sure that had nothing to do with Boateng and Gustavo’s skin color. You stay classy Germany.

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  4. Man U also lost to some pretty weak teams in European competition this year EPL has definitely dropped its level if this Man U can just run away with the title.

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  5. I’m assuming the Coupe de France winner gets a Europa spot? Go Quevilly! Would be kind of awesome/hilarious to see a 3rd division side in European competition.

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  6. I don’t think it matters what Dempsey would do to Subotic, when I totally see Dempsey doing the exact same thing to Robben.

    If it were just a penalty miss, yeah, it’d be a punk move. But under the circumstances, props to Subotic.

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  7. So it’s a joke because United lost to Wigan? I would think that’s also an indication that the league is somewhat strong throughout and any team can beat any team potentially. Would you rather United win the league by 20 points? To me, that would be a joke league. This year there are battles for first, the CL spots, and relegation spots. I agree the quality of play has gone down, especially in Europe, since a couple years ago, but come on, a joke?

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  8. Agree with posters above that Subotic was unsportsmanlike to have screamed in Robben’s face. But also agree that Robben is not a likable guy (ask his teammates!). Plus FC Bayern is one of the most arrogant teams in the world and was talking trash all week leading up to the game and the energy level in the 80,000-seat stadium yesterday matched the level during the epic Germany-Italy semifinal game in the same stadium in WC2006 (with German Coach Klinsmann). So while not nice, can sort of understand an adrenaline-charged Subotic rubbing it in. And if the soccer gods would have truly been angry with Subotic, then they would have made sure his bad head clearance at the end crossed the goal line for the Bayern equalizer.

    And speaking of Clint Dempsey, I think he could fit in at Dortmund, which was humiliated in the Champions League this season, a young team that got rattled on the European stage. Dortmund could benefit in its next CL campaign from the steady and calming leadership of a fearless experienced player like Dempsey mixed in with the youngsters. Dempsey has the grit and spirit that Coach Jurgen Klopp loves.

    As for Timothy Chandler, it’s interesting that after two relatively quiet months at right wing, he returned to right back yesterday (I think to cover for a suspended or injured player) and he had a great game. I had been promoting Chandler as a right winger, but I am not so sure anymore. Man, but Fabian Johnson could be converted into an attacking left winger. His goal was beautiful. He is awesome.

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  9. Look over the guys who were picked over him at the Youth level. If I had the opportunity to partner Vidic arguably the best defender in the world, or Gooch, wouldn’t think twice.

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  10. How many times has a team gone w/o a loss?? Has that team ever not won their league? I’m still learning lots of soccer history.

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  11. Swallow some of that bitterness and bile, that hate…. it’ll kill you, you know?.

    Big USMNT supporter here…. don’t wish anything of the sort and support a man’s right to make decisions even though they may disappoint me or differ from my own. I am certain there are a lot of conflicting emotions/loyalties to family and other nuances that go along with his decision of which I have no clue. The good news is… being a citizen of this country does not make you an indentured servant. Cheeeeeeers mate.

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  12. The missed PK and Subotic’s antics had me laughing and sure felt like sweet justice to me. If only all divers got the same.

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  13. Any USMNT fan has to hope that Subotic blows a knee, or something else terrible happens to him. This country gave him a safe haven, gave him a childhood. And he turned his back on us.

    SCREW SUBOTIC.

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  14. well, Robben is a diving little cheat. Subotic may have lacked class there, but Robben deserves to be repeatedly kicked in the nuts for his pansy ways

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  15. I get the heat of the moment and all, but that lacked class. If you’re making Arjen Robben look sympathetic you’ve got to question your actions.

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  16. I’m with you.

    It was totally unsportsmanlike, HOWEVER, Robben is an ego-maniac pr!ck who still thinks team is spelled A-R-J-E-N.

    I was rooting for Bayern, but I had no problem with Subotic’s moment of craziness.

    If I were the captain, though, I’d let Subotic know that he should save all that emotion for when the hoist the trophy.

    Glad the game didn’t end 0-0.

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  17. Subotic may very well be a prick. I don’t know. But the “punk” here is Robben for committing the fey dive. Definitely not a penalty. Justice was served.

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  18. Subotic is unbelievable. If Robben wasn’t a wuss, he would have decked him. Obviously, that is what Subotic wanted, but none the less. I guarantee, if he did that to Dempsey, he’d be very Sorry. What a punk!!

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