As the European season draws to a close, May 7, 2012 was the night that Blackburn Rovers were relegated and Wigan assumed safety
Nigerian internationals, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Victor Moses and John Utaka played for their respective clubs on Monday night but at the end the difference in emotions could not have been more contrasting.
In England, Aiyegbeni’s Blackburn Rovers had to beat Wigan to give themselves a chance of escaping relegation while Wigan needed at least a point to give themselves a fighting chance of staying up. At the end of 90 minutes, Wigan won 1-0 to attain the proverbial 40 points while Rovers have to settle for a place in the Championship.
So, the 16 goals from Aiyegbeni has literally gone to waste though he has the distinction of being named player of the season and accepted his award before the commencement of Monday night’s match.
Wigan had won four in 29 matches when they arrived at Anfield to play Liverpool on March 24. But 18 points in eight matches has seen them eclipse both Manchester sides in points garnered in the same period.
Manchester City have had 17 points while Manchester United collected 16 points in the same period. Moses should have scored for Wigan but fluffed his lines when the chances were created for him and he got a yellow card in the 72nd minute for simulation in the Rovers’ box.
Aiyegbeni also had a chance to give Rovers the lead on 51 minutes but his goal-bound volley was cleared on the line.
In France, John Utaka helped Montpellier back to the top of Ligue 1. Utaka played for 79 minutes as Montpellier beat Stade Rennes 2-0 to leap-frog PSG and hold a three-point lead with two matches left in the season.
Montpellier face defending champions Lille on Sunday and will end the season at relegation haunted Auxerre. If Montpellier win their next two matches, they would have won a first Ligue 1 title in their 111 years of existence.
The best they have won is the Coupe de France in 1929 and 1990.