Feb 17, 2008

Saturday Summary, Late Edition: Juve Tops Roma, Real Goes Down

Finally, Juventus beat a top side, edging AS Roma by a 1-0 score earlier today. Alessandro del Piero scored the game's only goal via free-kick on the stroke of halftime. Check it out on youtube, it was pretty sweet. Juve move within a point of second-place Roma with the victory, their first against "top competition" since being promoted back to Serie A this year. They had come close before though, tying Inter Milan twice, AC Milan, Fiorentina and Roma once. So the bianconeri are back. We'll see them in Europe next year for sure; and it will probably in the Champions League.

A few short weeks ago I was ready to (and in fact nearly did) anoint Real Madrid as Spanish league champs. Their lead was nine points at the time and I didn't see how Barca could close the gap. But after losing two of their last three games, including last night's at Real Betis, Madrid's lead is five points. There are 14 games left to play, which is plenty. A lot can happen in that time so let's not anoint anybody as anything just yet.

Except maybe in Holland, where PSV Eindhoven's lead is nine points with nine games left. PSV won at Willem II today (no big shock as Tilburg are second-last). Second placed Ajax Amsterdam also won to keep pace, by a 6-2 hockey score. Oh wait, that was a hockey game. Just kidding. With the victory Ajax put some space between themselves and third-placed Heerenveen, the current employer of one Michael Bradley. Heerenveen only managed a tie today (and no, Bradley didn't score). Ajax visit Eindhoven March 9 and Heerenveen a few weeks afterwards. PSV have pretty smooth sailing besides Ajax' visit, which is why I think they'll end up winning the league without trouble. But who cares about the Netherlands? They don't even have any teams left in the Champions League and Ajax didn't even make the UEFA Cup this year (losing their qualifier to Dynamo Zagreb, who were since eliminated in group play).

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