The Rebound: Worldwide - French thrillers, fisticuffs in Argentina and underaged pitch invasions in Finland

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Anything English football can do, someone, somewhere else can do better. Or, at least, just as well – Monday’s extraordinary string of results in the Premier League and Championship set a pretty high bar, so let’s forgive the world of football if it doesn’t pole vault over it by a mile. Nevertheless, there were some extraordinary matches and remarkable scenes across the footballing globe this past week, so let’s break it all down into some neatly digestible chunks.

Let’s kick off in Italy, where you’ve almost certainly heard already that Napoli have finally won their first Scudetto since 1990. Having spent the last couple of weeks stumbling drunkenly towards the finish line, the whole city of Napoli spent the weekend just drunkenly stumbling, after their 1-1 draw to Udinese in midweek confirmed the title would head to Campania at long last.

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Elsewhere, the scrap for Europe continues to boggle the mind – Juventus’ excellent 2-0 win away to Atalanta means they leapfrog Lazio, who lost away to AC Milan, into second place. The Juve game was marred by bigoted chants aimed at Serbian striker Dušan Vlahović, who at least served up some of the best revenge possible by scoring this brilliant goal to seal the points:

The bad news for Juve is that reports have been trickling in that the ongoing disciplinary process which saw them deducted 15 points – only for them to be reinstated – may be wrapped up in early June, in which case they could still end up losing enough points to miss out on a Champions League spot anyway. The prosecution is asking for a nine-point penalty, which would bump them all the way back down to seventh, but whether any deduction would apply this season or next remains the unanswerable question.

To cap off a huge weekend in the upper reaches of the Serie A table, the other two European contenders also went at it, with Inter Milan beating Roma 2-0 to go fourth. That means that as it stands, Juventus, Lazio and Inter would play in next season’s Champions League, while Roma are now stuck at the back of the qualification queue, having been in the driving seat just a few short weeks ago. Expect plenty of twists and turns, in the courtroom and on the pitch, over the last four games – although one team who are now completely out of chances are Harry Winks’ Sampdoria, who extended their four-month winless run and are now mathematically relegated to Serie B. To make matters worse, city rivals Genoa confirmed their return to the top flight this weekend as well. There will be some serious gloating going on in Ligurian offices in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, in France, Lyon and Montpellier played out one of the most extraordinary matches in recent memory. Alexandre Lacazette put the hosts ahead on the half-hour mark, only for 20-year-old Chad-born forward Elye Wahi to rattle off four goals in a row to put Montpellier 4-1 up 30 minutes later. Done and dusted? Nope – a goal from Dejan Lovren and two more from Lacazette made it 4-4, and the former Arsenal forward wrapped up his own four-goal haul with a 100th-minute penalty, sparking wild scenes in France’s second city and sending Lacazette level with Kylian Mbappé at the top of the Ligue 1 scoring charts.

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The frankly farcical 5-4 win keeps Lyon in the hunt for a European spot - three points behind Lille, who would currently make it to the Conference League - while a routine win for Paris Saint-Germain over Troyes kept them six points clear at the top and made sure that Parisien drama remains off the pitch, for now at least.

There was also a bucketload of drama in Germany, where Borussia Dortmund responded to Bayern Munich’s 2-1 win over Werder Bremen by dishing out an absolute thumping to the unfortunate Wolfsburg. Julian Brandt picked up three assists while Jude Bellingham and Karim Adeyemi bagged two apiece – with the latter missing a hat-trick chance from the penalty spot – as Edin Terzić’s side ran out 6-0 winners. Jude Bellingham’s first goal, especially, deserves a look, if only because the absurdly cruel way the ball spins back into the net serves as a reminder of the many ways football can act as a metaphor for the unfeeling coldness of the universe:

At the other end of the Bundesliga there was a massive win for Hertha Berlin, who beat VfB Stuttgart 2-1 in a full-blown relegation six-pointer. Defeat would have seen the Berlin side all but down, but the win means they’re now three points behind VfL Bochum and Stuttgart themselves, who currently sit third from bottom and would face a relegation play-off as it stands.

Lastly this week – or at least, lastly before we take a quick spin around the globe to show you a few of the best goals and weirdest happenings – we should mentioned that Sunday was the day we got to enjoy the latest edition of the Superclásico between River Plate and Boca Juniors at the Monumental.

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I say “enjoy”, but unfortunately the game was largely awful, and was deservedly goalless as added time rolled around – but this is one fixture that simply guarantees drama, and it finally delivered when Pablo Solari was fouled inside the area in the 91st minute, earning the hosts a late penalty. Miguel Borja buried it to ensure that River remain top of the table, ran to the corner flag to celebrate with the home fans, and very soon realised that nobody had come to celebrate with him – because the rest of the River team had got embroiled in a mass brawl in the middle of the field.

In true Superclásico style, a game that had been drifting towards a dreary 0-0 ended with a pitched battle, a ten-minute delay as everything was sorted out, and then six red cards, three for either side. A classic example of the sort of tut-worthy nonsense that we must publicly insist we hate to see, but also absolutely love when it’s happening to someone else’s side. In case any of you sickos want to watch a total breakdown of footballing law and order, here you go…


Normally, in the snapshots, we stick to goals that happened over the weekend, figuring that any worldies scored in midweek have become a bit stale by the time you read about them. But we’re going to break with convention because it’s possible that you haven’t yet seen Amahl Pellegrino’s second Puskas-worthy screamer of the season, and we can’t allow anyone to miss it.

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The 32-year-old Bodø/Glimt striker is something of a late bloomer and, having only really kick-started his career in his late twenties at Kristiansund, has suddenly started playing like prime Zlatan – scoring an absolutely obscene goal at the start of the Norwegian season and now topping that by doing this…

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Elsewhere in the wide world of bangers, we are pleased to inform you that Luis Suárez has still got it. Plying his trade back home in Uruguay for Grêmio, the 36-year-old forward is going at a goal every other game - and this was his best yet, in a 3-3 draw against Red Bull Bragantino:

Elsewhere, we are sad to report some serious crowd control concerns that emerged in the Finnish Cup match between Jalkaranta Palloseura and KJP. A mid-match vehicular pitch invasion is a sorry sight, and one we hope will not be repeated – reports have emerged that the offender in this case has been identified by authorities and punished with an early bedtime:

Before we go, a nice tidbit from Germany. You may well recall brothers Sven and Lars Bender, who enjoyed impressive careers in the Bundesliga and with the German national team. They are now professionally retired, but alongside some coaching work have been turning out for TSV Brannenburg, the amateur club with whom they started their careers. This weekend, they became champions of the ninth tier of the German league pyramid – which, astonishingly, is the first senior trophy Lars has ever won. Quite sweet, really.

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