Heading into the final few weeks of the season, plenty was at stake for these clubs, here is your Friday night European football round-up.
European Football: Friday Night Highlights
Newcastle United Triumph As Leicester City Panic
A Callum Wilson brace dealt a huge blow to Leicester City’s European hopes on Friday night, whilst all but ensuring Newcastle United’s place in next season’s Premier League. The Magpies won the game 4-2 at the King Power Stadium with the Foxes finding themselves four goals down.
Anything but three points for Fulham against Burnley on Monday night will confirm the Magpies top-flight status, whilst the Foxes must nervously wait to see how their top-four rivals fare over the weekend.
Having agonisingly missed out on Champions League football last season, Brendan Rodgers’ side have handed the teams below them an opportunity to catch up once again.
Fifth-placed West Ham United could cut the gap to two points with a victory against fellow European challengers Everton on Sunday, whilst Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool will also be hoping to take advantage of Leicester’s slip-up.
Real Sociedad On Course for European Football
Whilst most of the attention has been on the thrilling title race unfolding in La Liga, Real Sociedad have quietly gone about securing European football in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2014.
Sitting in fifth, Sociedad are four points ahead of Villarreal, with the Europa League finalists holding a game in hand. Two goals in the final ten minutes secured the three points for the side from San Sebastian, with the result having huge repercussions for the La Liga relegation battle.
A victory would’ve taken last season’s Segunda Division play-off winners out of the bottom three, however, they now face a huge task to escape the drop. An equally exciting race for survival is unfolding in La Liga, with six points separating Elche in 19th and Valencia in 14th – Huesca, Real Valladolid, Deportivo Alaves and Getafe are amongst those facing an uncertain finish to the season.
First Title In A Decade Close for LOSC Lille
Leaders LOSC Lille cruised to victory against European hopefuls Racing Club de Lens, extending their gap at the top of Ligue 1 to four points ahead of Paris Saint-Germain.
Veteran striker Burak Yilmaz bagged two first-half goals in the 3-0 victory, with Canadian Jonathan David completing the scoring half-an-hour from time. The victory takes Lille one step closer to their first Ligue 1 title since 2010/11 and only the club’s fourth in their history.
Lens were in pole position to achieve European football for the first time since 2006, however the defeat hands Olympique Marseille and Stade Rennes an opportunity to leapfrog the 2019/20 Ligue 2 runners-up, should they win their games in hand.
Win Keeps European Football Hopes Alive for Stuttgart
Stuttgart continued their impressive return to the Bundesliga with a 2-1 victory over mid-table Augsburg. Sasa Kalajdzic secured the three points 15 minutes from time for Pellegrino Matarazzo’s side after Florian Niederlechner had equalised for the club from the Bavaria region.
With two matches of the campaign left, the victory meant Stuttgart still maintain an outside chance of qualifying for the newly formed Europa Conference League. As both sides involved in the DFB Pokal final, RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund are likely to qualify for Europe via their league positions, European football will be available for the side finishing sixth.
For Augsburg, their Bundesliga status isn’t yet secure, with the club dangerously hovering above the relegation zone. If they are to stay up, it will be the club’s 11th consecutive season in the top-flight, following promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time in 2011.
Vitesse Miss Friday Night Chance to Close Gap to European Places
Vitesse missed a gigantic chance to cut the gap to AZ Alkmaar in the final Eredivisie European qualification spot.
The club from the province of Arnhem went into their fixture against Sparta Rotterdam four points off the Europa Conference League spot, however, AZ will have the opportunity to secure European football with a victory against Fortuna Sittard on Saturday night.
Goals on either side of the half-time break gave Sparta the victory, with the club comfortably on course to finish in mid-table after earning promotion back to the top-flight in 2019.