There’s nothing like the last day of the season when everything is left to play for.
The excitement of two or three teams competing in the last 90 minutes to lift the title, avoid relegation or sneak into the continental places is almost unmatched in football. It is often even more convincing than a single ending.
So here are seven of the most exciting finishes to seasons in some of the world’s top leagues, ranked by how dramatic they were.
More often than not in recent years, PSG have clawed their way to the Ligue 1 title, but that wasn’t always the case. There was a time when Parisians struggled not to be relegated.
One of those seasons was 2007/08 when, on the final day, they still needed to avoid defeat to secure the category. Lyon fighting Bordeaux for the title, and a quarter of the league fighting for four European spots.
Despite blowing a 1-0 lead, PSG managed to beat Sochaux 2-1, while the results conspired against Lens who were unable to catch up with the Parisians or Toulouse, being relegated to 40 points.
Karim Benzema-inspired Lyon beat Auxerre 3-1 to seal the title, with Bordeaux drawing 2-2 at Lens. Thanks to this, Marseille secured last place in the Champions League with a dramatic 4-3 victory over Strasbourg, enough to knock Nancy out of the way, who once had a four-point lead in third place. . Metz vs Le Mans was the only game that had nothing at stake with the hosts already relegated and the visitors stuck in the middle of the table. And even that ended in a 4-3 win for Metz, who had taken a 3-0 lead in 34 minutes.
What a day!
The most famous rivalry outside of Europe and one of the most intense in the world: Boca Juniors and River Plate really know how to put on a show.
Going into the last day of the 2019/20 season, River had a point lead and had held that position for seven weeks. All they had to do was beat Atlético Tucumán and the title would be theirs.
But despite fighting from 1-0 down, River simply couldn’t break their opponents, leaving the door ajar for their fierce rivals.
However, at La Bombonera, Boca were having their own problems, still down 0-0 against Gimnasia, they were led by Xeneize legend Diego Maradona after 70 minutes.
Fortunately for Boca, veteran striker Carlos Tevez had earlier planted a kiss on Maradona’s lips for good luck, and despite the Argentine icon’s best efforts to thwart his former club, Gimnasia relented.
Tevez’s lightning from outside the area in the 71st minute caused chaos in the stands and punished River Plate to the maximum. We are sure that Maradona also had a smile on his face away from the cameras.
There are those in Brazil who miss the old playoff system, claiming that the league format makes the season end boring. Absolutely no one could make that claim for the 2020 season though, as Flamengo and Inter went head-to-head for the title.
Inter had clawed their way to the top for six straight weeks as the season raced to its climax, and they looked poised to win their first title since 1979.
But everything changed when they faced the challengers and defending champions of the title, Flamengo. The penultimate match was being played and Inter took the lead away from home in the 12th minute, but squandered it thanks to goals from Giorgian de Arrascaeta and Gabriel Barbosa.
Both teams wrapped up their seasons at the same time on a dramatic Thursday night. Flamengo just needed to beat Sao Paulo and the title was theirs again, but he couldn’t get the job done. Trailing 1-0 just before halftime, they later fell behind again after equalizing to seal a 2-1 loss. Sao Paulo had held top spot earlier in the campaign before falling apart in the second half, but showed their quality at the worst time for Flamengo.
That left the door open for Internacional but, unbelievably, after VAR denied them a penalty and a goal for offside, they drew 0-0 at home with 12th-placed Corinthians, meaning they were escaped the title by a single point. point.
Today, Inter is seen as one of the powerhouses of Italian and European football. But in the past, they were more of a maid of honor, better known for epic and impossible fails.
The Nerazzurri had led the then 18-team table for 15 of the 33 weeks before the final round of matches. The formula was simple; beat Lazio, who had won and lost titles in the last two years, to avoid losing to Juventus or Roma.
In the stands, Lazio and Inter fans sat side by side, with the hosts desperate to prevent rival Roma from winning the Scudetto. But on the pitch, it was a different story, with Lazio coming from behind twice to finally beat Inter 4-2.
Both Roma and Juventus won their matches against Torino and Udinese, with the latter beating Inter in the title race. Hector Cuper’s men even fell short of Roma in third place. Once the news broke, we witnessed the iconic images of Ronaldo crying on the Inter bench.
When you’re in Milan, don’t mention the 5th of May!
Do you remember when Bayern had to work for the Bundesliga title? Arguably they have never worked harder than in the 2000/01 season.
The Bavarians had lost top spot on Matchday 29 when Schalke beat them 3-1 in Munich to take the lead. But by matchday 33, Bayern had regained the lead.
They only needed one point against Hamburg who were in 13th place on the final day and the title was theirs regardless of what Schalke did. But the Royal Blues certainly pushed, completing comebacks from 2-0 and 3-2 to beat relegated Unterhaching 5-3.
Schalke thought they had it when news broke that Sergej Barbarez had given HSV an unlikely 90th-minute lead against Bayern. The fans were so convinced that the celebrations had already broken out in the stands.
But ecstasy soon turned to anguish when, in the 94th minute, Patrik Andersson struck from an indirect free kick. The visiting winger blew up, the Bayern players were delusional and Schalke felt a pain almost impossible to replicate anywhere in the game.
El Clasico is a rivalry like no other and in the 2006/07 season, Real Madrid took four points from Barcelona, winning 2-0 at home before leaving the Camp Nou with a 3-3 draw in a match that should probably have won
But avoiding defeat proved immensely valuable when, on the final matchday, Real Madrid came from 1-0 down to beat Mallorca 3-1 with goals from José Antonio Reyes (x2) and Mahamadou Diarra in 12 second-half minutes. Los Blancos beat Barcelona for the LaLiga title.
The Blaugranas missed the chance to go top just a week earlier, blowing a 2-1 lead to draw 2-2 in the last minute at home to city rivals Espanyol, while just 12 rounds earlier the Real Madrid was in fourth place.
Going from fourth place to title winners in the space of 12 rounds is impressive. And Bayern’s success in 2001 was certainly spectacular. But nothing will top that Sergio Aguero moment.
Trailing 2-1 at home to struggling QPR, they failed to win against 10 men and looked ready to throw their first title since 1968 to their nearest rivals. On May 13, 2012 he had all the makings of a nightmare to end all Manchester City fans’ nightmares.
But when, well, you know what happened next. Dzeko, 92 minutes. Pass from Mario Balotelli in 94 to AGUEROOOO! A nightmare became the last dream.
Manchester City have commemorated the 10th anniversary of the greatest moment in Premier League history with a statue of Agüero that, frankly, has been a long time coming. Nothing will beat this.
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