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Arsenal's Trophy Triumph and the Greatest World Football Moments of the Weekend

Ryan BaileyFeatured Columnist IVJuly 5, 2016

Arsenal's Trophy Triumph and the Greatest World Football Moments of the Weekend

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    Steve Bardens/Getty Images

    Arsenal fans headed to Wembley on Saturday with an overwhelming feeling that their silverware drought would finish with a victory over Hull. However, The Tigers made things very difficult by taking an early lead before the Gunners showed their resolve to battle back for an extra-time win. 

    Elsewhere in a weekend of title-deciders across Europe, there was great news for Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, St Johnstone and Benfica. 

    Read on for the greatest moments of the week... 

Arsenal Came Back from Disaster to Win the FA Cup

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    Before Saturday, Arsenal fans had been waiting eight years, 11 months and 26 days to see their side lift another trophy. The comedy clock was reset, however, as the Gunners pulled victory from the jaws of defeat in a 3-2 win over Hull in extra time. 

    Arsene Wenger's side showed us exactly how not to start a cup final when they went 2-0 down within nine minutes, allowing defenders James Chester and Curtis Davies to find the net.

    A terrific Santi Cazorla free-kick was converted for Arsenal's first shot of the game in the 17th minute, before Laurent Koscielny evened things up with a little less than 20 minutes to play.

    Hull's concerns that they had caught Arsenal off guard too early in the game were confirmed when man of the match Aaron Ramsey scored the winner in the second period of extra time. 

    Arsenal finally got to use their parade bus, while Hull can enjoy the silver lining of Europa League football next season. 

Atletico Madrid Won La Liga in Barcelona's Back Yard

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    For the first time since 2004, a team not named Barcelona or Real Madrid has won the Spanish Primera. 

    For just the third time in Spanish history, the winner of La Liga was decided on the final day between two contenders, with Barcelona hosting Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou. 

    Diego Simeone's side looked to have let the league slip through their fingers in a disastrous first half in which they lost their two best players—Diego Costa and Arda Turan—to injury and then conceded a brilliant strike by Alexis Sanchez. 

    But Atleti were a constant attacking threat and found their league-winning equaliser through a Diego Godin header four minutes after the interval. Barcelona have shown a weakness for set pieces this season, typified by the lack of marking on the corner where they conceded. 

    Just 447 travelling fans from Madrid witnessed their team win the league for the first time since 1996 (when Diego Simeone was a player) but the home crowd showed a tremendous amount of sportsmanship by clapping the new champions and chanting "Atelti."

    Seeing as Barca have failed to beat Atleti in six attempts this season, they can have little complaint about handing their league title over to them. 

     

     

     

Pep Guardiola Massaged Franck Ribery at the DFB-Pokal Final

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    After the excitement of the FA Cup and La Liga finales, football fans around the world eagerly tuned in to the DFB-Pokal Final to see if Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund could provide more silverware-deciding drama. 

    Sadly, the replay of last season's Champions League final wasn't particularly thrilling, even if a Hollywood movie star was taking it all in from the stands. The match remained 0-0 up until extra time, when Arjen Robben finally broke the deadlock in the 107th minute.

    In the dying minutes, Thomas Mueller ensured there was no way back for BVB by rounding Roman Weidenfeller to make it 2-0, securing Bayern's 16th German Cup title.

    The greatest moment of the game occurred on the sidelines during extra time, when Pep Guardiola decided this curious massage technique was the best way to rouse some life into Franck Ribery. 

St Johnstone Won Their First Major Trophy Despite Handball Controversy

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    Elsewhere in major title-deciders, St Johnstone picked up their first piece of silverware in their 130-year history with a 2-0 win over Dundee in the Scottish Cup final on Saturday. 

    Goals from Steven Anderson and Steven MacLean in each half were enough to secure the famous win at Celtic Park, but the most interesting incident of the match came from another Saints player named Steven. 

    In the 52nd minute, Stevie May scored, but the goal was rescinded and he was rightfully shown a yellow card for quite clearly punching the ball over the line (see it from 1:44 in the clip).

    If ever there was an argument for keeping the assistant referee on the goal line, this was it. 

Robin van Persie Scored a World-Class Goal for the Netherlands

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    The Netherlands and Ecuador got their World Cup preparations under way early on Saturday with a friendly in Amsterdam.

    The South Americans took the lead through Jefferson Montero, but Robin van Persie equalised with one of the greatest goals of his career. The Manchester United star controlled a ball pinged to him from the halfway line on his chest before firing a powerful volley past Maximo Banguera. 

    The goal had a touch of Dennis Bergkamp about it and showed great promise for the Oranje in Brazil. 

     

Obafemi Martins Scored a Ridiculous Chip in MLS

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    Saturday's MLS tie between Seattle and San Jose was settled in the eighth minute by a sublime piece of skill from former Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins.

    Latching onto a long pass from the left wing, the Nigerian took one touch to float the ball over Earthquakes keeper Jon Busch from an impossibly tight angle. 

    Martins is enjoying an impressive season, having managed four goals and six assists in 11 games. 

Jermain Defoe Showed World Cup-Worthy Skills

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    Martins wasn't the only former Premier League star to score a belter in North America over the weekend.

    Jermain Defoe inspired Toronto's 2-0 win over New York with a terrific 12th-minute opener that saw the former England star pick up the ball on the right, take a single touch and blast an unstoppable shot past Red Bulls keeper Luis Robles. 

    Clearly, Defoe is responding to the disappointment of being excluded from the England setup in the best way possible. 

Antonio Di Natale Scored an Incredible Hat-Trick in His Final Game

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    Udinese striker Antonio Di Natale went into Saturday's home match with Sampdoria knowing it would be his final professional game. The 36-year-old bowed out in the best way possible, bagging a hat-trick that included a beautiful free-kick and an 88th-minute equaliser. 

    The Zebrette faithful will be hoping Di Natale changes his mind about hanging his boots up, and they will be encouraged by his post-match comments to reporters: "It's a pity the season is ending now, as I am in good physical shape and enjoying myself. Let's hope I continue like this."

     

Andrea Pirlo Scored a Very Andrea Pirlo Goal

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    Juventus romped to a 3-0 win over Cagliari on the final day of the Serie A season, and the opening goal was something quite special.

    Taking a free kick from around 30 yards, Andrea Pirlo powered in a free-kick that hit the underside of the crossbar and the back of goalkeeper Marco Silvestri before ending up in the net. 

    Goals don't come much more Pirlo than that. 

Sulley Muntari Was a Hero at the San Siro

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    Serie A was clearly a hotbed of golazo activity over the weekend, as Milan's Sulley Muntari got in on the act too. 

    In the second minute of the Rossoneri's 2-0 win over Sassuolo on Sunday, the Ghanaian midfielder drilled a 30-yard strike that goalkeeper Alberto Pomini had absolutely no chance of saving.

    Sadly, the win was not enough to earn Clarence Seedorf's side a Europa League berth, as Torino and Parma also picked up points. 

River Plate Won the Argentine First Division with a Screamer

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    River Plate were declared Argentinian champions on Sunday as they won the Primera Division Torneo final with a 5-0 victory over Quilmes.

    The highlight of the match was an incredible goal from Cristian Ledesma. The veteran midfielder hit a screamer in the 18th minute to make the score 3-0. 

Benfica Got a Huge Consolation for Their European Upset

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    Much has been made of Benfica's "Guttman curse" after their crushing Europa League final loss last week, but the Portuguese club have still enjoyed a tremendous season after completing the domestic treble on Sunday.

    The Eagles lifted the Portuguese Cup after a 1-0 win over Rio Ave, the same opponents they recently dismissed in the Portuguese League Cup final. 

     

    Follow me on Twitter @RyanJayBailey

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