The return of club football across the continent brought goals for five Chelsea loanees, including the opener in key win in the Russian title race…
We begin our weekly round-up of Blues out on loan by focusing on Europe, where Victor Moses played a key role in Spartak Moscow’s 3-2 victory at FK Rostov, where over 30,000 supporters were in attendance.
The 30-year-old started in his customary right wing-back role and broke the deadlock for the visitors midway through the first half, carrying the ball from halfway to just outside the box before firing in a powerful low effort that beat the keeper with the help of a useful deflection.
Spartak fell behind when conceding twice in five minutes but a brace from Alexander Sobolev secured all three points and takes them a point behind league leaders Zenit Saint Petersburg having played a game more.
Ike Ugbo was also on the scoresheet this weekend in an important Jupiler League win for Cercle Brugge, who moved out of the relegation places as a result. The young striker fired in a penalty to make it 2-0 against Beerschot and, despite seeing a man sent off shortly afterwards, the hosts held on to claim a massive three points.
There was also a big win for Matt Miazga and fourth-place Anderlecht on Monday, 4-1 away at second-place Antwerp. The victory moved them to within two points of their opponents, but the Belgian leaders Club Brugge are 19 points further ahead.
Wins for Bakayoko and Chalobah
Napoli were involved in the most eventful game of the weekend action in Serie A as they saw a 3-1 lead wiped out by Crotone, the bottom side in the league, before Giovanni Di Lorenzo sealed the win in the final 20 minutes.
Tiemoue Bakayoko played just over an hour in central midfield, leaving the action when the game was tied. The win means Gennaro Gattuso’s men are now level on points with Juventus and four behind second-placed AC Milan, with a game in hand on the latter.
In France, Trevoh Chalobah continued as part of a back three as Lorient made it five matches unbeaten in Ligue 1 with a 1-0 win against Brest, the side now three points above them in the table. Just as importantly, the gap to the drop zone is now the same margin with seven games remaining.
Broja’s Vitesse still fighting for Europe
With just two Champions League qualification spots available in the Dutch Eredivisie, Vitesse are pushing hard to stay in contention during the run-in and a 2-1 weekend win at FC Twente certainly did their aspirations no harm at all.
Armando Broja, fresh from three appearances for Albania in the recent international break, played the duration as a pair of Oussama Tannane penalties, the second of which was scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time, earned the points. Vitesse are now three points behind second-placed PSV Eindhoven and have the KNVB Cup final against Ajax on the horizon later this month.
Elsewhere in the Netherlands, Marco van Ginkel played the final 25 minutes of PSV’s 3-0 win against Heracles, making it his longest runout in almost three years following a serious knee injury. Juan Castillo was a late substitute for ADO Den Haag, who lost 4-1 against Utrecht to keep them seven points from safety.
Davide Zappacosta featured throughout as Genoa drew 1-1 with Fiorentina in Serie A, while Kenedy and Granada were beaten 3-0 by Villarreal in La Liga ahead of their Europa League quarter-final against Manchester United later this week.
Danny Drinkwater and Kasimpasa pulled off a surprise 1-0 win against league leaders Besiktas in Turkey, with the midfielder playing the final 18 minutes in Istanbul. Meanwhile, Lewis Baker was a late introduction as Trabzonspor drew 1-1 at Sivasspor.
Baba Rahman was part of the PAOK side that lost 3-0 at Panathinaikos in Greece, while Danilo Pantic played three-quarters of Cuckaricki’s 5-1 victory against Subotica in Serbia, which puts them in a good position for European qualification.
Batshuayi hits a leveller, Ampadu and Loftus-Cheek battle on
In the Premier League, Michy Batshuayi came on in the 84th minute of Crystal Palace’s Monday evening game at Everton. His team were 1-0 down at the time but within two minutes Batshuayi took a pass from Jeffrey Schlupp and finished with a shot across the goalie to secure a 1-1 final result.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek started for Fulham away at Aston Villa as the Cottagers looked to leapfrog Newcastle United out of the bottom three. However, despite taking the lead through Aleksander Mitrovic, the visitors were eventually pegged back by three Villa strikes in the final 12 minutes.
Ethan Ampadu was also in action, replacing George Baldock just before half-time for a Sheffield United side that lost 2-1 in a Yorkshire derby away at Leeds United. The Blades are now 15 points from safety with their two-year stay in the top-flight surely coming to an end.
Marc Guehi played two lots of 90 minutes for promotion-chasing Swansea City on Friday night and Monday afternoon, but the Welshmen suffered their third and fourth losses in a row away at Birmingham City and at home to Preston, which leaves them fourth in the Championship standings. Both defeats were by very late single goals, the first a penalty and the second an own-goal.
League One winners
In League One in England, Luke McCormick scored all three of Bristol Rovers’ goals over the Easter period, the second two securing an important win.
The 22-year-old midfielder was on the scoresheet in a 2-1 reverse at Ipswich Town, when he lifted the ball over the goalkeeper after a mistake by the home side. The defeat left the Gas second-bottom, three points from safety, and playing Doncaster at home on Monday, they went behind again.
However, on 37 minutes McCormick scored with a sweet angled-shot for an equaliser and he added the winner on 56 minutes with another great strike. The win moved his side up two places with only the number of goals scored keeping them in the drop zone.
After the game, Rovers manager Joey Barton said: ‘Luke is a young player of enormous potential. He has really bought into the team ethic I require since I came to the club. He was excellent at Ipswich in our last game and today has come up with two great strikes which have brought us a vital win.’
There was also good news in League One for teenage defender Ian Maatsen, who scored his first goal in senior football and what proved to be the winner for Charlton Athletic in their 1-0 victory against Doncaster Rovers. It was a close-range finish from Maatsen who unusually was playing in an attacking role.
Jamie Cumming kept another clean sheet for Stevenage in their 1-0 win over Oldham Athletic on Friday in League Two, and followed that up by earning a point in a home 1-1 draw with Bradford City on Monday.