Points were proved across Europe this weekend and nowhere was that truer than in Catalonia, where FC Barcelona saw off Liga rivals Club Atlético de Madrid 4-1 to extend their gap at the top to nine points. Juventus will also be feeling safer at the summit after they stretched their Serie A advantage to seven points, while Paris Saint-Germain FC moved to the head of Ligue 1 on goal difference following a significant victory against Olympique Lyonnais. UEFA.com recaps the action.
It was another good round of games for Barcelona in the Liga title race as Tito Vilanova's undefeated team came out the other side more in control than ever. They extended their lead to nine points thanks to a 4-1 success against second-placed Atlético, who caused a fright by going ahead through Falcao at the Camp Nou. As for third-placed Real Madrid CF, they are now a daunting 13 points off pole position after contesting a 2-2 home draw with lowly RCD Espanyol, and coach José Mourinho thinks the gap is too large to make up. "The league is impossible," he said. "I have never been in a situation like this, to lose so many points at this stage." Elsewhere, Málaga CF and Levante UD both recorded victories to sit in fourth and fifth respectively.
Things went Juventus' way in Serie A as they took advantage of defeats for FC Internazionale Milano in second and third-placed SSC Napoli to build a seven-point lead. The Bianconeri prevailed 3-0 against Atalanta BC to rub extra salt into the wounds of Inter, whose 1-0 loss at S.S. Lazio allowed their hosts to move a point behind the Nerrazurri in fourth. For their part, Napoli slipped up at home to Bologna FC, with two late goals sealing a 3-2 reverse, much to the displeasure of coach Walter Mazzarri. "Our defect is that once we take the lead, we think the job is done," he said. "I don't see anyone else right now who can compete with Juve. Maybe things will change, but it is tough when they are playing like that."
There is a three-way tie at the top of Ligue 1 after PSG recorded the result of the weekend in France, seeing off fellow leaders Lyon 1-0 thanks to Blaise Matuidi's headed goal. "We mustn't get carried away when things go well, nor be alarmed when they don't," commented PSG defender Christophe Jallet afterwards. "We've only played 18 games, although it makes the whole squad happy to win games like this." The capital side lead the way on goal difference ahead of Lyon and Olympique de Marseille, who triumphed 1-0 at nine-man Toulouse FC thanks to a superb André-Pierre Gignac strike. Meanwhile, Lorient FC lifted themselves to fourth via a 2-0 success at AS Saint-Étienne.
The Mancunian tussle at the top of the Premier League continues after neither of the city's clubs gave ground in 3-1 wins against north-eastern rivals. Manchester United FC stayed six points clear thanks to their home success against Sunderland AFC, while second-placed Manchester City FC kept pace with victory at Newcastle United FC. "We will try and keep the momentum going and consistency going," said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. "Hopefully by the time New Year is over, we'll still be top of the league." With Chelsea FC not in domestic action, Tottenham Hotspur FC moved level on points with the third-placed Blues courtesy of a 1-0 home win against Swansea City AFC, while Everton FC sit two points further back after being held 1-1 at Stoke City FC.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen cut FC Bayern München's lead at the top of the Bundesliga after Stefan Kiessling struck twice in a 3-0 defeat of Hamburger SV, with the leaders being held 1-1 at home by VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach. Xherdan Shaqiri's second-half goal earned the point for Bayern, who nonetheless go into the winter break holding a healthy nine-point lead. "I have no criticism of my team," declared Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes. "I'm very satisfied, despite the draw. Especially in the second half, we were outstanding." Champions Borussia Dortmund are three points off second following their 3-1 win at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, while FC Schalke 04's 3-1 home loss to SC Freiburg led to the departure of coach Huub Stevens.
Galatasaray AŞ took the spoils in their Istanbul derby match against Fenerbahçe SK as Selçuk İnan sealed a 2-1 win to leave them five points clear of their opponents, Beşiktaş JK and Antalyaspor, both of whom drew. In Belgium, SV Zulte Waregem bounced back from a 5-0 cup defeat against KRC Genk on Thursday to register a 3-2 win against the same side and remain second, six points behind RSC Anderlecht.
Across the border, meanwhile, FC Twente took advantage of PSV Eindhoven's draw at NEC Nijmegen to climb level on points with the Eredivisie leaders by defeating Heracles Almelo 3-2. In Portugal, finally, SL Benfica ended their league duties for 2012 by moving to the top of the pile with a 4-1 win against CS Marítimo. Óscar Cardozo hit a hat-trick to leave FC Porto three points back after their game at Vitória SC was postponed.
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