The leaders did not tremble in Europe's leading championships over the weekend as the likes of Paris Saint-Germain FC, Manchester United FC and FC Barcelona all won to advance their title ambitions. PSG stretched their cushion to nine points in France and United returned 15 points clear in England, with rivals Manchester City FC on FA Cup duty and sealing a spot in the final against Wigan Athletic FC. The big game in Italy finished 1-1 between AC Milan and SSC Napoli, meanwhile, as UEFA.com recaps.
PSG took another stride nearer to Ligue 1 glory as a hard-fought 1-0 win at ES Troyes AC left them nine points clear at the head of the class. "This is a very important victory that takes us a step closer to the title," said coach Carlo Ancelotti, after Blaise Matuidi struck the only goal. "Today, only the result counts, because we can't be happy with our performance. Sometimes the most important thing is just to win." Second-placed Olympique de Marseille were unable to match the leaders, drawing 0-0 at LOSC Lille, while third-placed Olympique Lyonnais finally returned to winning ways, defeating Toulouse FC 3-1 after a five-game winless run.
Manchester City will face Wigan in the FA Cup decider on 11 May after both sides won their semi-finals, Wigan overcoming second-tier Millwall FC 2-0 before Samir Nasri and Sergio Agüero helped City edge past Chelsea FC 2-1. It was a good weekend for City's local rivals Manchester United as well, as they returned 15 points clear at the Premier League summit with a 2-0 success at Stoke City FC. "Everybody could see that I was quite relieved and happy," commented Robin van Persie, who scored from the spot to end a ten-game barren run for United. "It was all about the win, but I like to score goals." Arsenal FC moved up to third, meanwhile, rallying late to see off Norwich City FC 3-1.
Barcelona moved another victory closer to reclaiming the Liga crown with a 3-0 triumph at struggling Real Zaragoza, Cristian Tello registering twice in a comfortable win for Barça's experimental lineup. "We were missing [Lionel] Messi but we have top-quality players," said Tello's fellow scorer Thiago Alcántara. "We want to win the title as soon as possible, but there's a lot of games left. The title isn't won yet." Second-placed Real Madrid CF also prevailed, 3-0 at Athletic Club, and Falcao scored two in a 5-0 victory for third-placed Club Atlético de Madrid against Granada CF. There was a win as well for Real Sociedad de Fútbol, in fourth, as they overcame Rayo Vallecano de Madrid 2-0.
Napoli missed the chance to close within six points of leaders Juventus after failing to find victory at San Siro against third-placed Milan. With the champions travelling to S.S. Lazio on Monday, Walter Mazzarri's men spurned the opportunity to put pressure on the pacesetters, drawing 1-1, but were at least able to preserve the four-point gap to Milan. "Napoli are a side capable of defending second place and this is an important point for us, because we maintain a certain distance from Fiorentina," said Rossoneri coach Massimiliano Allegri. The Viola defeated Atalanta BC 2-0, while AS Roma battled past Torino FC 2-1 and Cagliari Calcio defeated FC Internazionale Milano 2-0.
Already confirmed as champions, a much-changed FC Bayern München lineup refused to take it easy at home to 1. FC Nürnberg, winning 4-0 to record the club's 100th victory in their Fußball Arena München. The league may be gone, but second-placed Borussia Dortmund also turned on the style to win 6-1 at SpVgg Greuther Fürth, while FC Schalke 04 came from two down to earn a draw with Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the battle between third and fourth. "I can't watch when something like that happens," said Schalke coach Jens Keller, as Raffael stepped up to score an equalising penalty in the 87th minute. "When you see the huge amount of willpower to turn the game around in the second half, then that deserves respect and a huge compliment. I'm proud of the team."
It is advantage AFC Ajax in the Netherlands after they defeated PSV Eindhoven 3-2 in the battle between first and second. Their lead now stands at five points, with Vitesse leapfrogging PSV into second spot thanks to a 3-3 draw at Roda JC. APOEL FC maintained their six-point advantage in Cyprus after playing out a 0-0 draw with closest challengers Anorthosis Famagusta FC, while in the Czech Republic AC Sparta Praha won their derby with SK Slavia Praha 3-1 to stay level on points at the top with FC Viktoria Plzeň. As for FC Basel 1893, they stretched their lead in Switzerland to three points, taking advantage of Grasshopper Club's draw with FC Sion by defeating FC Zürich 2-0. Finally, SC Braga lifted the Portuguese League Cup with a 1-0 win against FC Porto.
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