We’re almost there, but not quite. The penultimate Loan Report of the season takes a look back at a dramatic week of playoff football in England, and ties up the loose ends from around the rest of Europe, with many of Chelsea’s loan army still having something to play for.
We have to start at Elland Road though. Leeds and Derby have lost little blood in a season marred by allegations of spying by Marcelo Bielsa and company, but what happened on Wednesday night was something few people saw coming. Trailing by a goal to nil from the first leg at Pride Park, Derby fell two behind early but, where others wrote them off, they mounted the most remarkable of comebacks.
Mount being the operative word. After Jack Marriott had given them hope before half time, Mason brought them level soon after the restart with his eleventh goal of the season; a silky-smooth take on the run before cutting back inside and lifting the ball past Kiko Casilla. And they weren’t done; Harry Wilson put them ahead on aggregate, Stuart Dallas restored parity, and Wilson hit the post after Mount had played him in. Then, with minutes remaining, Mount and Keogh unlocked ten-man Leeds one final time, giving Marriott the chance to spark scenes of wild celebration in a small corner of the Leeds stadium. Izzy Brown was thrown on in desperation for just his second appearance of the season, but the game was over.
Mason and Fikayo Tomori, ever-dependable at the back even on a night where he found the going tough, are off to Wembley and are ninety minutes away from promotion to the Premier League. Standing in their way are Aston Villa, who overcame West Bromwich Albion on penalties after a 2-2 aggregate scoreline couldn’t find a winner over two matches. The fifth and decisive penalty fell to Tammy Abraham, who had endured a hard evening against two uncompromisingly physical centre-backs, and at one stage had appeared to re-injure a troublesome shoulder.
No bother. Taking a huge penalty for the second time in a matter of days, putting himself forward where more experienced strikers daren’t go, he got the job done to set up a must-see finale for all Chelsea fans. It’ll be Mount, Tomori, Frank Lampard, Jody Morris and Chris Jones versus Abraham and John Terry for top-flight football next season, on Monday 27th April, and it will be unforgettable.
In less-dramatic news, Danilo Pantic scored the opening goal as Partizan Belgrade beat Proleter 2-0 in the last round of the Serbian Super Liga season. He was substituted after 67 minutes, leaving him with 8 goals in 39 matches and a little under 3000 minutes played for the campaign as a whole going into their last game, which is on Thursday against fierce rivals Crvena Zvezda in the Serbian Cup Final.
It’s been a big week for Mario Pašalić and Atalanta, who lined up for the Coppa Italia Final against Lazio in midweek, but there was disappointment at full time in the form of a 2-0 defeat with the Croatian midfielder getting five minutes from the bench at the end.
The bigger fish to fry, though, are in Serie A and the race for Champions League qualification. Pašalić got a quarter of an hour on Sunday away to champions Juventus and played to see out a 1-1 draw that, combined with Inter’s 4-1 defeat at Napoli, moved Atalanta into third place. A win at home to Jeremie Boga’s Sassuolo next Sunday will punch their ticket.
Milan had beaten Frosinone 2-0 earlier in the day to keep their chances alive going into next weekend’s final day; Tiémoué Bakayoko was substituted after 51 minutes as manager Gennaro Gattuso sought to protect him from receiving a booking that would have ruled him out of the next match through suspension.
Torino had an outside hope of crashing the party, but were mainly trying to book their Europa League ticket, yet a stunning 4-1 defeat at Empoli saw their hopes extinguished. Ola Aina was back from illness to play 53 minutes at left wing-back before being withdrawn for a change of attacking shape, but as Roma hold the head-to-head tie-breaker over I Granata, they can finish no higher than seventh. Aina will be disappointed with the role he played in Empoli’s opener.
Lucas Piazon was, as usual, an unused substitute for already-relegated Chievo against Sampdoria.
The last round of La Liga football for 2018-19 came and went without Alvaro Morata, who was injured as Atlético Madrid drew with Levante, while Kenneth Omeruo lasted 53 minutes of Levante’s 2-1 defeat at Huesca before also succumbing to a knock.
There was no fairy tale end to Christian Pulisic’s time as a Dortmund player, as Bayern Munich’s 5-1 win against Eintracht Frankfurt secured a seventh-straight Bundesliga title, rendering Dortmund’s 2-0 win at Gladbach irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Pulisic played the full ninety minutes in his farewell outing.
Vitesse’s 3-1 win at VVV in midweek saw them sign off the Eredivisie regular season in fifth place and as the highest seed for the Europa League playoffs. They lost the first leg of those Semi Finals at Groningen on Saturday, with Jake Clarke-Salter, who missed both matches this week with a knee injury that could well see him ruled out of any further football this season.
Eduardo served as the backup goalkeeper on each occasion, and Charly Musonda isn’t in a position to play regularly yet despite getting a cameo run-out last weekend against De Graafschap.
Fankaty Dabo was back in the fold for Sparta Rotterdam in the second tier though; he played ninety minutes away to TOP Oss in a 2-0 win to get their (convoluted and lengthy) promotion playoff challenge off to a flying start.
Baba Rahman was absent for Reims for the second week running and was listed as being left out of contention for a place in the team to play Bordeaux through managerial choice.
Victorien Angban and Ligue 2 champions Metz finished with a 1-0 win at home to Brest, who will be joining them in Ligue 1 next season, and the Ivorian played the full match.
Kylian Hazard, who will join Cercle Brugge on a permanent deal in July, did not play in their 3-0 defeat to Mouscron on Tuesday, nor was he involved at Kortrijk on Friday, the club’s last match of the season.
Victor Moses and Fenerbahce play their last fixture of the season away to Erzurum BB on Monday evening.
Nathan played 20 minutes for Atlético-MG in the Copa do Brasil against Santos in midweek, but was an unused substitute against Flamengo back in Serie A action at the weekend.
Started: July 14th
Final: May 29th
|Player||Club||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe/Cont||Other||Mins|
|Tammy Abraham||Aston Villa||40||26||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3450||40||26|
|Lewis Baker||Leeds United||11||0||1||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||491||14||0|
|Michy Batshuayi||Crystal Palace||11||5||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||923||12||6|
|Isaiah Brown||Leeds United||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||11||2||0|
|Trevoh Chalobah||Ipswich Town||43||2||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||3273||44||2|
|Charlie Colkett||Shrewsbury Town||1||0||1||0||1||0||0||0||3||0||306||6||0|
|Fankaty Dabo||Sparta Rotterdam||24||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1625||24||0|
|Jay Dasilva||Bristol City||28||0||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||2383||32||0|
|Kylian Hazard||Cercle Brugge||21||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1116||21||4|
|Michael Hector||Sheffield Wednesday||36||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3242||37||2|
|Reece James||Wigan Athletic||45||3||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||4005||46||3|
|Tomas Kalas||Bristol City||39||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3586||40||0|
|Todd Kane||Hull City||39||3||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||3363||40||3|
|Jacob Maddox||Cheltenham Town||38||1||2||0||1||0||0||0||2||3||3077||43||4|
|Mason Mount||Derby County||37||9||2||0||4||2||0||0||0||0||3745||42||11|
|Alvaro Morata||Atlético Madrid||15||6||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||1245||17||6|
|Charly Musonda||Vitesse Arnhem||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||14||1||0|
|Kasey Palmer||Blackburn Rovers||15||1||0||0||2||2||0||0||0||0||984||17||3|
|Kasey Palmer||Bristol City||15||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||538||16||2|
|Danilo Pantic||Partizan Belgrade||29||6||3||1||0||0||7||1||0||0||3043||40||8|
|Dujon Sterling||Coventry City||38||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||3307||39||0|
|Fikayo Tomori||Derby County||46||1||4||0||4||1||0||0||0||0||4692||54||2|
|Iké Ugbo||Scunthorpe United||15||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||936||16||1|
|Jack Wakely||Basingstoke Town||15||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||1355||16||0|
|Player||Club||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other||Mins|
|Apps||Cln Sht||Apps||Cln Sht||Apps||Cln Sht||Apps||Cln Sht||Apps||Cln Sht||Apps||Cln Sht|
|Nathan Baxter||Yeovil Town||35||10||1||0||1||0||0||0||1||1||3420||38||11|
|Jamal Blackman||Leeds United||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||180||2||0|
|Brad Collins||Burton Albion||31||10||1||0||3||1||0||0||0||0||3115||35||11|
|Ethan Wady||Tooting & Mitcham United||7||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||1||810||9||3|
|Karlo Ziger||Sutton United||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||90||1||0|