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Arsenal finish fourth as Premier League season ends

Posted By: IANS
London, May 20: Arsenal beat city rivals Tottenham Hotspurs to a top-four spot in the final game of the Premier League season.

The Champions League qualification was the only suspense before the last-round campaign as Wigan, Reading and OPR had already been relegated before the final day on Sunday.

French defender Laurent Koscielny scored from close range to earn Arsenal a 1-0 victory at Newcastle, which proved valuable as the Gunners finished just a point above fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who beat Sunderland with the same scoreline thanks to a last-minute goal from Gareth Bale.

Arsenal followed Chelsea, runner-up Manchester City and the champion Manchester United qualify for the next season's Champions League.

Inspired by Fernando Torres' first league goal since last December, the European Champions and Europa League holders, Chelsea, secured the third-place after a 2-1 victory over Everton at Stamford Bridge.

The victory marked a perfect end to Rafael Benitez, the interim first-team manager.

"I did my job and left a squad with balance, which can challenge for the title next season," said Benitez, who will leave the role and be reportedly replaced by current Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho.

Benitez signed off on a high note, so did his counterpart in Everton.

David Moyes, who will become the Premier League champion's boss in the summer, bowed out with a defeat but already made a successful 11-year reign at Toffee.

With sixth-place in the table, Everton finished above city rivals Liverpool in successive two seasons of the top-flight for the first time since 1937.

Moyes received visiting fans' standing ovation and applause after the whistle and bid farewell to them and the club.

Alex Ferguson, to be replaced by Moyes in this summer, finished his 1500th and last game in charge of Man United after a 5-5 draw at West Brom.

Along with Ferguson, Paul Scholes, 38, also retired after the final day. It leaves Ryan Giggs the only member of "Classic of 92" for the Red Devils in next season.

Of course, Roberto Mancini shouldn't be forgotten. Though it's a contrast as he was sacked by Man City when others retired in more dignified ways, he still deserved respect.

The Italian was sacked five days ago, nearly a year to the date when he guided the "Blue Moon" to grab the title from United in the last game of the season.

Man City, without a trophy but still the runner-up of the league, lost their last match 2-3 at home against Norwich.

Late goals save AC Milan

AC Milan scored two late goals in four minutes to secure a dramatic 2-1 win against Siena as well as the final Champions League place on the last day of the Italian Serie A season.

Milan had to beat Siena, who had already been relegated, to make sure of a Champions League spot for the next season, but the hosts surprisingly took the lead in the 25th minute through Claudio Terzi on Sunday.

Massimiliano Allegri's men then pulled them together minutes before the finish, with Mario Balotelli scoring the equaliser with a penalty kick in the 84th minute.

Three minutes later, Philippe Mexes picked up a free-kick pass to score the crucial winner. Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini and Siena's Christian Terlizzi were then both sent off for their second bookable offences in the space of two minutes.

Milan's win made Fiorentina's 5-1 win at Pescara redundant.

Vincenzo Montella's side disposed of their relegated hosts with ease thanks to a hat-trick from Adem Ljajic and goals from Steven Jovetic and Matias Fernandez.

Udinese dealt Inter Milan a 2-5 loss at the San Siro to tie down the final automatic Europa League place.

Lazio suffered a 0-1 loss at Cagliari, and Roma beat Napoli 2-1 at home.


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Story first published: Monday, May 20, 2013, 14:06 [IST]
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