CELTIC will face Motherwell in the Scottish Cup final after the holders thrashed arch rivals Rangers 4-0 on Sunday.
Brendan Rodgers’ side cruised to victory in the semi-final at Hampden Park thanks to goals from Tom Rogic, Callum McGregor, Moussa Dembele and Olivier Ntcham.
Rangers had Ross McCrorie sent off when they were two goals down as they lost against their Glasgow neighbours for the eighth time in their last 10 meetings in all competitions.
Celtic, who have won the Scottish Cup 37 times, are chasing a domestic treble, having already beaten Motherwell in this season’s Scottish League Cup final.
The Scottish Premiership leaders are 37 points clear of Motherwell, who beat Aberdeen 3-0 in the other semi-final on Saturday.
“We are in the final now. That is a totally different game with their physicality,” Rodgers said.
“We know that when we turn up and play, it gives us a great chance.
“But we have a job to do now. We have to finish off the league campaign. We are in a really good position there.
“We have five tough games to finish but we want to finish the season well and be back here in good confidence.” Interim Rangers boss Graeme Murty was left to rue a damaging defeat that could ruin his chances of landing the Ibrox job on a permanent basis.
“I would apologise to the fans for the game. I would ask for their patience and to keep believing but it is no good to keep asking it,” Murty said.
“You have to go and put a performance in to be worthy of their support. “We didn’t do enough to make them want to stay at the stadium today.” Murty had revealed Rangers players cheered when they heard they would play Celtic in the semi-finals, but that optimism quickly turned sour.
Rogic struck in the 22nd minute when he took a pass from James Forrest and turned back on to his right foot, leaving McCrorie for dead, before shooting past Rangers goalkeeper Wes Foderingham.
Paris Saint-Germain won the French league title after beating defending champion Monaco 7-1 on Sunday, with the crushing victory highlighting the obvious gulf between the two teams this season.
Monaco meekly surrendered the title that it had won so impressively last season, doing little to prolong the suspense. It was losing 4-0 after 28 minutes as PSG easily did enough for a fifth title in six seasons and a seventh overall. PSG leads second-place Monaco by 17 points with five rounds remaining. Midfielder Giovani Lo Celso and winger Angel Di Maria scored two goals each, while league top scorer Edinson Cavani grabbed his 25th of the season. PSG captain Thiago Silva’s header went in off Radamel Falcao – Monaco’s top scorer – for PSG’s sixth goal before Germany winger Julian Draxler netted the seventh.
Monaco later tweeted that it will reimburse fans who traveled to the game for the cost of their tickets.
Monaco thrilled Europe last season with a scintillating brand of attacking soccer producing more than 150 goals and taking the side to the Champions League semifinals. It made a fortune selling its best players – including teen star Kylian Mbappe to PSG for 180 million euros (then $216 million) but appears to have paid the price on the field.
Now Monaco faces a scrap to hold onto second place and an automatic Champions League berth, with Lyon and Marseille just four points behind. Lo Celso finished off a fine team move in the 14th minute, and Cavani headed powerfully home three minutes later at a jubilant Parc des Princes. Cavani then turned provider, picking out Di Maria with a brilliant pass from the halfway line and he sprinted through before beating goalkeeper Danijel Subasic with a superb chip.
Lo Celso started and finished the move for the fourth, rising to meet Javier Pastore’s first-time cross from the left with a thumping header. Midfielder Rony Lopes pulled one back for Monaco in the 38th. PSG completely relaxed and Pastore almost set up another goal – albeit for Lopes – with a careless pass back across his own penalty area. But goalkeeper Alphonse Areola saved his shot.
Pastore then set up Di Maria for a slick finish and 5-1 after 58 minutes. Moments later, Di Maria hit the post.
After Silva’s header clipped Falcao’s shoulder and went in, Draxler’s shot from the edge of the penalty took a slight deflection before going in. Mbappe won a second straight title by the age of 19, and television cameras showed him laughing on the bench near the end.
Earlier, Marseille secured a last-gasp 3-2 win at Troyes to move level on points with Lyon, which is in third place on goal difference.
Real Madrid midfielder Isco made up for the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo by guiding his heavily-rotated side to a 2-1 win at basement club Malaga on Sunday which lifted them above Valencia and up to third in La Liga. Also on Sunday, Atletico Madrid moved back to within 11 points of runaway leaders Barcelona by comfortably beating Levante 3-0 at home as forwards Angel Correa, Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres were all on target. Isco curled in a fizzing free kick to break the deadlock in the 29th minute but refrained from celebrating against his hometown club.
The Spain international then provided the final pass of an exquisite team move for Casemiro to tap in the second in the 64th.
Malaga striker Diego Rolan scored down the other end in the final minute of stoppage time after controlling the ball with his hand but there was no time left for the league’s lowest ranked club to try and add to their goal. Real had clinched last season’s Liga title on their last trip to Malaga. However, coach Zinedine Zidane used this visit to rest many players after Wednesday’s energy-sapping Champions League quarter-final second leg with Juventus, which his side lost 3-1 but advanced to the semis 4-3 on aggregate.
JUVENTUS took a major step toward a seventh straight Serie A title on Sunday as it beat Sampdoria 3-0 after Napoli was held to a 0-0 draw at AC Milan.
Douglas Costa changed the match when he came on for the injured Miralem Pjanic, providing three assists for Mario Mandzukic, Benedikt Hoewedes and Sami Khedira. Juventus moved six points clear of Napoli with six matches remaining – including the two sides playing each other.
“We have to thank Pjanic for getting injured because maybe at that moment I wouldn’t have changed things,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri joked. “Douglas and (Gonzaolo) Higuain are two players who I wanted to use to change the match. I chose the Brazilian to stretch Samp.” Juventus was looking to bounce back from the disappointment of Wednesday’s Champions League exit to Real Madrid, decided by a stoppage-time penalty in the second leg when seconds away from forcing extra time at 3-0. Allegri had mixed feelings about Sunday’s win.
“Is it a decisive step toward the title? Absolutely not. But it was important to win after Madrid and the guys were good because it wasn’t easy after such a tiring match,” Allegri said.
Lazio hosts Roma in the capital derby later Sunday in a crucial match for both sides’ Champions League chances.
The top four from Serie A qualify for Europe’s premier club competition. Lazio and Roma are third and fourth, respectively, but on the same number of points as fifth-placed Inter Milan, which drew 0-0 at Atalanta on Saturday. Milan, which had hopes of sneaking into the top four, is seven points behind.
HOPES CRUSHED Rossoneri goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma made history as the youngest ever player to reach 100 Serie A appearances, at 19 years, 1 month, 21 days, and he proved decisive in denying Napoli a last-gasp winner.
It was a strange match for Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina, who has agreed a free transfer to Milan at the end of the season.
Reina was immediately called into action against his future teammates, fingertipping an effort from Giacomo Bonaventura around the base of the post. Lorenzo Insigne went close to giving Napoli the lead 10 minutes before halftime, weaving his way through defenders before curling an effort inches wide of the right post.
Milan thought it had taken the lead four minutes later but Mateo Musacchio was offside when he fired in a rebound after Reina had parried Hakan Calhanoglu’s powerful effort.
The match continued to be open after the break, with both sides seeking the win they needed for their respective ambitions.
Napoli came agonizingly close to snatching a stoppage-time winner as Arkadiusz Milik had time and space to control before shooting from six yards but Donnarumma pulled off a stunning save to send the ball around his left post.
OTHER MATCHES Fiorentina remained two points behind Milan and the final Europa League spot after a 0-0 draw at home to relegation-threatened Spal ended its six-match winning run.
Spal inched a point clear of the bottom three after its seventh match unbeaten. Sassuolo moved four points above the relegation zone after drawing 2-2 against bottom side Benevento, which picked up its first point away from home. Hellas Verona lost 2-0 at Bologna and is now three points from safety.