In our round-up of the action involving Chelsea players on loan over the last week, three Blues score decisive goals at either end of the table, while the top-four race in Serie A goes to the final day...
Marco van Ginkel’s fairytale return to action with PSV Eindhoven following serious injury continued, as he scored the goal on the last day of the Dutch season which qualified them for next season’s Champions League.
Having made his first start for three years the previous week, Van Ginkel retained his place in the line-up to set up the decisive goal in a 4-2 win over PEC Zwolle. Then, on the last day of the Eredivisie season, he went one better after being handed the captain’s armband for PSV’s game at Utrecht. With PSV a goal down at half-time, he slotted a left-footed equaliser into the corner to earn them a crucial draw, meaning they finished one point ahead of AZ Alkmaar to qualify for the Champions League.
Armando Broja came off the bench in both Vitesse Arnhem’s last two fixtures, as an injury-time equaliser in a 3-3 draw with Fortuna Sittard was enough to earn fourth place and automatic qualification for the Europa Conference League, despite a 3-1 defeat to champions Ajax in their last game.
In Russia, Victor Moses also scored the goal which booked his side’s place in next season’s Champions League. He was part of the Spartak Moscow side which gave themselves a three-point buffer in second place going into the Russian Premier League’s last round of games with a 2-1 win over Khimki. However, they went two goals behind in the first half of that final fixture at Terek Grozny, and with 10 minutes left they were still 2-1 down.
Combined with Lokomotiv Moscow’s 1-0 win and better head-to-head record, that would have seen Spartak miss out on the top two, until Moses stepped up in the 82nd minute to score a late equaliser, which gave them a decisive one-point advantage over their local rivals in the Champions League qualification battle.
There were consecutive clean sheets for Fikayo Tomori at AC Milan as the top-four race in Italy goes down to the wire. The first came in a 7-0 midweek thrashing of Torino, but they missed the chance to secure Champions League qualification on Sunday when the Rossoneri could only manage a 0-0 draw at home with Cagliari.
That draw allowed Tiemoue Bakayoko and Napoli to keep up the pressure with back-to-back victories. First they recorded a big win of their own, defeating Udinese 5-1, and then they followed it up with a 2-0 win away at Fiorentina. That allowed Napoli to go level on points with Milan in third place going into this weekend’s last round of fixtures, with Juventus just one point behind in a three-way fight for the last two Champions League spots.
At the other end of the Serie A table, Davide Zappacosta scored for the second game running for Genoa, this time getting the goal which guaranteed their top-flight status for another season. The Grifone went into their midweek game knowing a win over Bologna would keep them clear of relegation, and Zappacosta opened the scoring by cutting inside and firing a shot into the top corner after 13 minutes, on their way to a 2-0 victory.
Trevoh Chalobah helped Lorient to a vital 2-1 victory at home over Metz, making them mathematically safe from automatic relegation from Ligue 1. It also kept them one point ahead of the relegation play-off spot currently occupied by Nantes going into their final game at Strasbourg on Sunday, which will be another must-win with six sides separated by just two points in the fight to avoid the chance of relegation.
Back home in the Premier League, Conor Gallagher was unable to boost Chelsea’s chances of a top-four finish with West Bromwich Albion, despite helping them take an early lead against Liverpool. The Reds came back to win 2-1 with a 95th-minute winner scored by goalkeeper Alisson, keeping up the pressure in the Champions League race.
Ross Barkley started Aston Villa’s Premier League home fixture against Everton, playing the first 65 minutes, but was unable to help them find a breakthrough as the match ended in a 0-0 draw. Ruben Loftus-Cheek came off the bench for Fulham against Burnley, but it was too late to turn the game around as they lost 2-0, while Michy Batshuayi played the last 20 minutes of Crystal Palace’s 3-1 loss at Southampton.
Matt Miazga and Anderlecht’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League are all but over after back-to-back matches against Genk in the Belgian title play-offs. They were still in contention following the first, a 1-1 away draw, but a 2-1 defeat at home on Saturday leaves them six points behind Genk in the second Champions League spot, with only two games left.
In Turkey, Lewis Baker scored his second goal of the season to earn 10-man Trabzonspor a 1-1 draw away at Konyaspor, before helping them finish their league campaign with a home win, 2-1 over Genclerbirligi.
Baba Rahman and PAOK suffered a 1-0 defeat to Greek champions Olympiacos in midweek, although there was nothing riding on the game with the two sides already assured of finishing the title play-offs in first and second place respectively.