Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 30th 2014 Contents A59
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Callum McManaman's quick-
fire strike booked Wigan their
place in the English Champi-
onship play-offs by securing a 1-
0 win that has left Birmingham
City on the brink of relegation,
McManaman struck with his
fourth goal of the season - and his
second in the last four games -
after he caught Birmingham nap-
ping in only the third minute at
It was just the start that Wigan
were seeking as they had been
limping towards the play-offs after
losing their previous two matches
against Burnley and Blackpool.
But for Birmingham, only three
years after winning the league cup
when they beat Arsenal at Wem-
bley, they are now staring into the
relegation abyss following an 18th
successive Championship home
game without a win stretching
back to October.
Their fate is now out of their
own hands as even a win at Bolton
in the final game of the season
Saturday might not be enough to
save them if other results go against
In the night's only other game,
Callum Harriott's first league goals
of the season secured Charlton's
survival with a game to spare as
they sank Watford 3-1.
The rookie winger opened the
scoring in the first half and then
put the seal on a dramatic win
with a superb late strike.
There were plenty of nerves
around The Valley when Troy
Deeney equalised for Watford in
the second half, but Charlton cap-
tain Johnnie Jackson fired them
back into the lead before Harriott's
clincher killed off the Hornets.
Watford, whose season has fiz-
zled out after three straight defeats,
finished the match with ten men
after Albert Riera flattened Lawrie
Wilson for the second time to earn
a second yellow card.
Victory meant the Addicks will
be spared the agony of a potential
relegation decider against fellow
strugglers Blackpool on Saturday.
It also went some way to vin-
dicating the decision of contro-
versial owner Roland Duchatalet
to axe popular manager Chris
Powell and replace him with lit-
tle-known Jose Riga in March.
Riga, a former IT worker, has
not exactly rebooted the side Pow-
ell left behind, instead using much
the same players and system as
the ex-Valley defender.
But the Belgian has managed to
coax six wins from his 14 matches
in charge to lift them off the foot
of the table and away from trou-
MUNICH---Sergio Ramos and Cris-
tiano Ronaldo scored two goals
apiece as Real Madrid advanced to
the Champions League final by
stunning title holder Bayern Munich
Madrid completed a 5-0 aggregate
victory over the two semifinal legs
and will now play either Chelsea or
Atletico Madrid in the May 24 final
in Lisbon. Bayern's slumped to its
worst home defeat in the competition,
and equaled its heaviest loss overall
--- 4-0 away to Barcelona in 2009.
"You dream of a perfect game, the
first half was great for us," a beaming
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
"The team has a great spirit for work-
ing for each other. The game turned
"I'd won here, so that's why I felt
confident about our chances here,"
added the Italian, who had previously
coached AC Milan to victory in
Bavaria. "After 12 years to return to
the Champions League final is very
good for us."
Madrid had never won in Munich
in 10 previous matches, losing nine
of them. But this time, Ancelotti's
team put its stamp on the game early
and struck with awesome efficien-
"We played a perfect game in the
first half, we defended very well and
pressed very high," Ancelotti said.
"We used the space we had for coun-
ters, with some great passing."
Ramos headed home in the 16th
and 20th minutes, and Ronaldo raised
his tally to a competition record 16
goals for the season to take Madrid
one win away from a record 10th
title. However, holding midfielder
Xabi Alonso will miss Madrid's 13th
final because of accumulated yellow
"Goals are great, satisfying on a
personal level, but what matters is
what we did as a team. The overall
result was deserved," Ramos said.
"It's a dream come true. It's a dream
game, fantastic for all Madrid fans."
After the final whistle, Madrid
players put on T-shirts with the words
"Now for the 10th, in reference to
their obsession with "La Decima"
(Spanish for the 10th).
Madrid had lost three consecutive
semifinals, including a 2012 shootout
when Ramos missed a penalty. Of
five previous semifinal series against
Bayern, Madrid had won only one.
Coming into the match, Madrid had
only two wins in 27 outings in Ger-
many, with six draws.
It was a bitter defeat for Bayern
coach Pep Guardiola, who had so
much success against Madrid when
he was in charge of Barcelona. Bayern
was seeking to become the first team
to defend the Champions League
Guardiola bemoaned the lack of
possession in the first half --- although
UEFA statistics show Bayern had
two-thirds of possession for the game.
"We didn't have ball possession
and that's why we had no control,"
"It's a great disappointment. 0-4
sounds very bitter," Bayern captain
Philipp Lahm said. "We wanted a lot,
but we failed tactically in the first
Madrid's sweeping, fast counter-
attacks paced by Ronaldo, Karim Ben-
zema, Gareth Bale and Angel Di
Maria, along with its tenacious tack-
ling when Bayern tried to come out
of the hosts' own half, were a huge
problem for Bayern's defense but the
first two goals came from set pieces,
as well as the last.
A corner by Luka Modric was met
By Ramos, who headed down past
Manuel Neuer, as Dante failed to chal-
lenge the Madrid defender.
The second goal came after Di
Maria's swinging free kick into the
box. Pepe nodded the ball on and the
diving Ramos headed into the net.
"We prepared the set pieces and
we used them to make things easy
for us," Ancelotti said.
Real's third was a fast break that
left the Bayern defense trailing far
Benzema fed Bale, who easily out-
paced Jerome Boateng and passed to
the unmarked Ronaldo, who calmly
slotted home in the 34th. Ronaldo
then fired a low free kick through the
wall in the 89th to complete Madrid's
Bayern nerves frayed after the first
three goals and the match threatened
to get out of hand. Star winger Franck
Ribery failed to make an impact and
was substituted in the second half.
Striker Mario Mandzukic was
involved in several incidents and did
not come out for the second half.
Ronaldo and Bale both missed an
empty net when Neuer twice mist-
imed clearing attempts far outside
the penalty box. Ronaldo saw another
effort sail wide, although he might
have done better by passing to Ben-
The match lost intensity in the
second half as Madrid protected its
lead while the demoralised Bayern
kept possession but rarely threatened.
A minute of silence was held before
kickoff in memory of former
Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova and
Vujadin Boskov, a former Serbian
coach of Real Madrid. Both died last
Real Madrid reaches
Champions League final
Real Madrid players celebrate at the end of the Champions League semifinal second leg football match between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid at the
Allianz Arena in Munich, southern Germany, yesterday. Real Madrid won 4-0 to complete a 5-0 aggregate victory and advance to the final on May 24.
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