In the last Loan Report of the 2018-19 season, we look back on a Chelsea-filled day at Wembley Stadium where Aston Villa and Derby went head-to-head for a place in the Premier League, and we round up the last few goals and appearances from around Europe at the end of a record-breaking campaign.
Frank Lampard. Jody Morris. Chris Jones. Mason Mount. Fikayo Tomori. Ashley Cole. John Terry. Tammy Abraham. Everywhere you looked in North London on Monday afternoon, there was a Chelsea angle to the Championship Playoff Final; even Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings had one in the form of father Adie, who is a national scout for the Blues. With everything on the line, it was the 26-goal Abraham who had reason to celebrate against his academy team-mates at full time, as Villa held on to a 2-1 win despite a late Derby onslaught, and return to the top flight after a three-year absence.
It was a heart-breaking end to the season for the Derby contingent, after 56 matches that took in wins at Man Utd and Southampton, running Chelsea close at Stamford Bridge, and the famous triumph at Leeds a fortnight ago. As speculation persists about a return to West London for Lampard and company, June promises to be a fascinating month.
Contrary to popular belief, that wasn’t all that was going on this week. It was bookended by a pair of Victor Moses goals for Fenerbahce, but despite the Nigerian international agreeing to an eighteen-month stay back in January, he ended things by hinting at his desire to explore opportunities elsewhere in 2019-20. How much that has to do with reports of a reunion at Inter with Antonio Conte remains to be seen, but his time spent mostly as a attacking left forward in Turkey has been fairly rewarding.
There was also a nice moment for Baba Rahman, who scored his first goal for three injury-riddled years, as Reims finished their best-ever Ligue 1 season with a 3-1 win against Paris Saint-Germain. It was perhaps fitting that the Ghanaian scored against the team most Chelsea fans associate with his best performance in a blue shirt, however much it owed to generous goalkeeping.
And then, on Sunday night in Italy, Mario Pašalić came off the bench to score Atalanta’s third goal in a 3-1 win against Sassuolo that confirmed qualification for the Champions League for the first time in their 99-year history. It was his eighth goal in 40 appearances – just over 2000 minutes – for the club, and as they hold an affordable option to buy, he could finally decide to put down roots this summer after five years on loan in Spain, France, Russia and Italy.
The last round of Serie A action was dramatic all-round, and as Ola Aina finished his year at Torino, he claimed an assist with a rocket of a long throw in a 3-1 win against Lazio that saw them finish seventh in the table.
Chairman Urbano Cairo has confirmed his intention to trigger their reported €10m option to buy but, with interest in Aina also coming from both Milan clubs, the Nigerian international has a choice to make. Torino did miss out on European qualification but, as Tiémoué Bakayoko and Milan were resigned to a Europa League place by virtue of Inter’s win against Empoli, they could be handed a reprieve. In order to satisfy their FFP punishment, Milan are believed to be considering a one-year absence from UEFA competition rather than attempt a near-impossible financial overhaul, and if that happens Torino would take their place.
Lucas Piazon got just around half an hour as Chievo drew 0-0 against Frosinone in a meeting of the bottom two, relegated, clubs.
Vitesse, still without their Chelsea contingent, are ninety minutes away from a return to the Europa League after drawing 1-1 at Utrecht in the first leg of their playoff final. With Jake Clarke-Salter and Charly Musonda still out, and Eduardo very much the backup goalkeeper, English interest in their fortunes is at an all-time low since the relationship between the two clubs was forged, but ensuring continental football next season could lead to some key decisions as to which loanees ply their trade in Arnhem next season.
In the second tier, Fankaty Dabo played the last 25 minutes of Sparta Rotterdam’s 3-0 win over TOP Oss in midweek, a result that set up a two-legged finale for a place in next season’s Eredivisie against De Graafschap. The right-back played all of their narrow 2-1 defeat at home in the first match; the return fixture is scheduled for Tuesday evening, and he will have felt aggrieved that the equaliser in the first leg came with a fairly clear foul on him from behind.
A disappointing season for Partizan Belgrade had a most satisfying conclusion on Thursday when they beat runaway league champions and hated rivals, Crvena Zvezda, by a goal to nil in the Serbian Cup Final. Danilo Pantic played the full ninety minutes, provided the assist for the only goal with a wicked free-kick, and has made overtures towards wanting to stay there permanently, after spending the last two years on loan at the club Chelsea originally bought him from.
Nathan played 67 minutes as Atlético-MG beat Unión La Calera in the Copa Sudamericana in midweek, and then a handful of late minutes in a Serie A defeat to Gremio at the weekend.
Tuesday 28th May
Jake Clarke-Salter, Charly Musonda, Eduardo: Vitesse vs FC Utrecht
Fankaty Dabo: De Graafschap vs Sparta Rotterdam
Nathan: Atlético-MG vs Union La Calera
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