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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:


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:



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.


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.


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.


  1. NO. he is 29 and brings nothing to the table that we do not already have. with players like Boyd, Wooten, Gyau and Gomez available, there is no need for him.

  2. For a moment I thought the headline read “Madrid clinch La Liga, coach axed”

    Has happened before so, who could blame me.

  3. I think there’s an argument to be had between Herc and Wondo. For me it’d come down to form. In league they’re both doing great, and the coaches might just have to call them both up and see in camp who clicks better with the less bubblicious players.

  4. I’m not bashing them. I love the underdog in neutral matches, but SPL (Rangers and Celtic)teams have been poor in Champions League play. You can argue that Motherwell is another step below Rangers and Celtic. That said, stranger things have happened in sport. Maybe they get inspired.

  5. You never know with the draw. Maybe they get the winner of the Belarus Cup and get through a round. Home and Away you never know.

  6. I can agree that he has limited attributes but I think we need to address the fact that he is just pouring the ball into the net. Some guys bloom later and his ‘slickness’ is improving. Buddle is out of form somewhat and Bunbury has really been a disappointment.

    Now, there IS the valid argument that Herc is a better choice in the ‘garbage-man’ category. But I gotta say both have a place on the team. Cheers,

  7. Wondo to me is Twellman redux. Playing at exactly his level, peter principle. When he’s played for the US I think it’s exposed that he like Freddy Adu lacks a defining quality necessary to produce at the serious senior level. He’s not tall, unusually fast, amazingly slick. He’s not scored for us, like say Gomez (or even Buddle or Bunbury or some of the other lesser lights who in fact do have international goals) where I can assume the domestcic production translates.

    I mean, if he’s going to go out there, run hard and hustle, and put balls on net, Landon and Clint can do that better.

    If we have to replace Jozy with someone I’d go like for like and get either Boyd or someone like Bunbury in there that has some “pivot” attributes and physical size. I’d also call in Gomez for the supersub attributes.

  8. Until Mourinho wins a title in MLS, his accomplishments won’t mean a whole lot…

    (yes, I’m being sarcastic for those who can’t tell)

  9. Jeez, I think you gotta give him a shot. Whether he will be lively enough at 31 for WC is another question (who knows, maybe) but it ain’t like US strikers have been pouring in goals in meaningful contests.

  10. OT but does Wondolowski deserve another call-up? Arguably the best finisher in the league. But he’s 29. practically no shot of going with the team to the WC but useful in qualifying. Should he stay in MLS or head overseas to a club in Scandinavia


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