By JUSTIN FERGUSON
Their top-four fate is no longer in their hands, but Tottenham Hotspur will be relieved to still be in the hunt for a Champions League spot after Wednesday’s trip to Stamford Bridge.
Substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson played the hero for fifth-place Spurs on Wednesday in a 2-2 draw with third-place Chelsea. The Icelandic midfielder, who came on for Aaron Lennon just after the hour mark, tucked a shot into the bottom corner of Petr Cech’s net after receiving a backheel flick from Emmanuel Adebayor.
Sigurdsson’s 80th-minute goal was the second equalizer of the evening for visiting Tottenham, who entered Wednesday’s match trailing Chelsea by three points and North London rival Arsenal by two. Adebayor curled in a spectacular shot in the 26th minute that canceled out Oscar’s 11th-minute opener, a header from a corner kick.
Chelsea answered back with a Ramires goal six minutes before halftime, and it appeared for the longest time that it would be enough to seal the Blues’ spot in next season’s Champions League.
But Tottenham shifted the match’s momentum in their direction midway through the second half and finally broke through the Chelsea defense 10 minutes from time.
Spurs will now need to win out and hope rival Arsenal drops points at some point in the last two weekends of the Premier League season. They will visit Stoke City on Sunday while Chelsea travel to Aston Villa, the Blues’ final game before next week’s Europa League final against Benfica.
Here are some more results from Wednesday’s action:
REAL SCORE SIX AGAINST MALAGA, ATLETICO SEAL TOP THREE FINISH
Real Madrid delayed Barcelona’s La Liga title celebrations once again on Wednesday in a memorable goal fest at the Bernabeu.
Barcelona would have recaptured the league crown if Real failed to record a win over European hopeful Malaga, but Real scored early and often to secure a midweek victory. Real’s 6-2 win over nine-man Malaga was marked by Cristiano Ronaldo’s 200th goal for Los Blancos.
Ronaldo’s first chance at the landmark goal was shockingly missed as Malaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero kept out his penalty try in the 22nd minute. The penalty, which resulted in a red card for defender Sergio Sanchez, would have given Real an early 2-1 lead.
But Ronaldo made up for the unsuccessful penalty try five minutes later with a free kick goal just outside the box. Mesut Ozil doubled Real’s lead in the 33rd minute with a fine individual effort, but Malaga answered right back with a Vitorino Antunes goal.
The hosts took control of the match after the Antunes goal, scoring three more times before the final whistle. Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Angel Di Maria scored to turn the close match into an impressive Real rout.
Also in Spain, Atletico Madrid locked up a top-three finish in the La Liga table with a 3-1 win at relegation-zoned Celta Vigo. The hosts kept their hopes of crucial points alive in a scoreless first half, but Diego Costa’s 47th-minute goal sparked a second-half rally for third-place Atletico.
FIORENTINA STAY IN THE HUNT FOR UCL WITH CLOSE WIN AT SIENA
Fourth-place Fiorentina kept their Champions League dreams alive on Wednesday with a 1-0 win over relegation locks Siena.
As third-place AC Milan cruised to a 4-0 win at last-place US Pescara, Fiorentina rode an early lead all the way to the victory, which keeps them four points behind Milan with two matches left to play. Gonzalo Rodriguez gave the visiting Viola the decisive goal in the 14th minute by using his stomach to make sure a cross from Manuel Pasquel crossed the line.
Siena, who are now six points from safety, generated very little on Emiliano Viviano’s goal in the match. The 70th-minute save was the only action the Fiorentina goalkeeper saw the entire match as his side pushed hard for another goal in the second half.
Although they still need some help to find a spot in next season’s Champions League, Fiorentina are now almost guaranteed a place in the Europa League following the road win. Fiorentina are currently joined in the Europa League spots by Udinese, who took advantage of Roma’s loss on Tuesday with a thrilling 3-2 win at Palermo.
What do you make of these results? Thoughts on Tottenham’s comeback? Think they can finish in the top four? Impressed with Real’s six-goal performance with the league title nearly wrapped up?
Share your comments below.