|Arsenal players celebrate after winning the English FA Cup in London on Saturday. ( AFP-Yonhap)|
LONDON (AP) ― Doused in champagne by Arsenal’s victorious players, Arsene Wenger was a success again.
The nine-year wait for a trophy was over, and the manager, who had felt the pressure of the drought, could finally celebrate on the Wembley Stadium field. For the fifth time in Wenger’s 14 years, the Gunners are FA Cup winners.
Aaron Ramsey scored in extra time to clinch a 3-2 victory over Hull on Saturday.
“It’s a big, big moment of happiness,” Wenger said. “We waited a long time for that. But the happiness is linked sometimes with the time you have to wait for it.”
After allowing two goals to Hull in the opening eight minutes, Arsenal had to rally against its tiring opponent. James Chester and Curtis Davies scored for a Hull team that has never won a major trophy in its 110-year history.
Santi Cazorla began Arsenal’s comeback in the 17th minute by scoring directly from a free kick. Arsenal didn’t tie the match until Laurent Koscielny scored in the 71st. Ramsey’s slick move put Arsenal in the lead for good.
“This one’s for the manager, for the fans, who’ve always believed in us as well even when things weren’t going as well,” Ramsey said.
This is a team that has played in the Champions League for 16 straight years by finishing in the Premier League’s top four but has failed to match its talent with silverware since lifting the 2005 FA Cup.
“I think it was a turning point in the lifetime of this team,” Wenger said. “And to know they can win in that way was very important today.”
But three years after Arsenal gave up a late goal here to Birmingham in the League Cup final, this was looking like another miserable day. Atletico wins Spanish title
BARCELONA (AP) ― Atletico Madrid dramatically secured its first Spanish league title in 18 years by rallying for a 1-1 draw at Barcelona on Saturday.
Atletico lost Diego Costa and Arda Turan to injury inside 22 minutes, and Barcelona seized control at the Camp Nou in the 34th minute when Alexis Sanchez drove an unstoppable shot into the near corner.
Despite the setback, Atletico emerged from the break determined to get back in the match. David Villa hit the post, then Diego Godin fiercely headed home Koke’s corner in the 49th.
Atletico needed to avoid defeat to secure the title, and it weathered Barcelona’s pressure in a frantic finish to cap an improbable domestic success.
|Atletico Madrid’s coach Diego Simeone is tossed into the air by his team on Saturday. (AFP-Yonhap)|
Atletico’s 10th title meant a club besides Barcelona or Real Madrid was Spanish champion for the first time since Valencia in 2004.
“Today we could make history,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. “Not at any moment did I feel that the game was getting away from my team. I know them. I knew they could respond, and the bigger the challenge, the better.”
Even the 90,000-strong Camp Nou crowd appreciated the feat as it rained cheers of “Atleti” on the players as they celebrated a title triumph that looked uncertain after it lost two of its best attacking players. Bayern beats Dortmund in cup
BERLIN (AP) ― Arjen Robben and Thomas Mueller struck in extra time for Bayern Munich to beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in the German Cup final on Saturday, giving their side the double in Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge.
Robben scored in the 107th minute when Jerome Boateng intercepted Roman Weidenfeller’s throw out for Kevin Grosskreutz, and then crossed for the Dutchman at the far post.
It set up a frenetic finale with Dortmund pushing for the equalizer that would have taken the game to penalties.
Marco Reus came agonizingly close to equalizing in the final minute when his shot was deflected just over.
Mueller then rounded Weidenfeller to wrap up the win in extra time injury time.
Dortmund might have been awarded a goal in the second half. Mats Hummels thought he’d scored with a header but Dante cleared on or behind the line. The score wasn’t awarded though TV replays suggested the ball crossed the line.
“If that goal from Dortmund was awarded it would have changed everything,” Guardiola acknowledged.
Bayern avenged its humiliating 5-2 loss to Dortmund in the 2012 final with its record 16th German Cup final win.