Aa Wrap - Aussies At Heart Of Play-off And Releagt
Crystal Palace, with Socceroo Tony Popovic at the heart of its defence, has snuck into the English Division One play-offs despite losing its final match on the weekend.
Crystal Palace, with Socceroo Tony Popovic (pictured right) at the heart of its defence, has snuck into the English Division One play-offs despite losing its final match on the weekend. Meanwhile in Division Two, Luke Wilkshire, Joel Porter and Paul Reid will all be involved in play-off action. Palace though have West Ham-s Brian Deane to thank for securing its place in the play-off-s, after he scored a late goal to earn West Ham a draw that denied John Filan-s Wigan Athletic the win they needed that would have leaped-frogged them over Palace. Palace will now play Sunderland over two legs, while the other play-off tie sees West Ham play Ipswich. The two winners will go onto to play in the play-off final. The 2nd Division will see Aussies feature heavily, with Joel Porter-s Hartlepool to host Luke Wilkshire-s Bristol City on Saturday 15th, while the following day Paul Reid-s Brighton & Hove Albion is away to Swindon Town. The return legs will be played on Wednesday 19th May. Meanwhile in Italy, Mark Bresciano-s Parma side will face a tough task to qualify for the fourth Champions League place after going down 1-0 to nearest rival Inter Milan. Parma now play 8th place Udinese in the final game, while Inter and Lazio play lowly placed teams Empoli and Modena, who both are fighting relegation to the Serie B. Vince Grella-s Empoli missed the chance to avoid relegation when they unexpectedly lost 2-1 at last placed Ancona and they now face been overtaken by Zeljko Kalac-s Perugia, who caused a huge upset to win 3-1 at Roma. Perugia is now just a point behind Empoli and Modena and will host Ancona in the last game. The bottom three go down automatically, while the 4th last placed team will play-off against the fourth team from the Serie B. In Spain, the wheels are falling off Osasuna-s UEFA Cup hopes, after going down to lowly Real Zaragoza. With two games left Osasuna, with Socceroo John Aloisi again back in the starting line-up, is now four points behind Athletico Madrid and must win both games and hope the teams above them fail to pick up wins. Paul Agostino-s 1860 Munich looked headed for the 2nd Division in Germany after they lost 3-0 at Hansa Rostock. Agostino played for 1860, but had little influence as 1860 put up little fight in their attempt to avoid relegation. They are four points behind safety with only two games left and must win both to have any chance of the drop.
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