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Weekend of woe for world-beaters

Published: Monday 27 September 2010, 0.55CET
Weekend of woe for world-beaters
Roma celebrate Mirko Vučinić’s late winner against Inter ©Getty Images

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UEFA Champions League Matchday 2 cannot come soon enough for a host of Europe's top club sides after the weekend brought an end to unbeaten domestic starts in England and Italy, while derby defeat spelled further ignominy for one of France's top continental contenders. Read on for the full story of the weekend.

England
It proved a vexing weekend for the Premier League's leading lights, starting with leaders Chelsea FC, who succumbed to Carlos Tévez's winner at Manchester City FC. "We also lost here last year; it's not a good pitch for us," said Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti, who would have been pleased to then see Arsenal FC go down 3-2 at home against West Bromwich Albion FC and Manchester United FC only move to within three points by drawing 2-2 at Bolton Wanderers FC. Tottenham Hotspur FC added to the trend with a 1-0 loss at West Ham United FC.

Germany
Saturday's fixture at champions FC Bayern München was expected to be the game where 1. FSV 05 Mainz were finally brought back down to earth, but the surprise leaders made it six wins out of six with a famous 2-1 triumph. They remain three points clear of Borussia Dortmund, who prevailed 3-1 at FC St. Pauli, and are now ten ahead of eighth-placed Bayern. "The alarm bells are ringing," commented Bayern's sporting director Christian Nerlinger. Elsewhere, Raúl González's leveller against VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach lifted FC Schalke 04 off the bottom and SV Werder Bremen edged Hamburger SV 3-2.

Italy
AS Roma secured their first victory of the season and gave some hope to the rest of Serie A by ending champions FC Internazionale Milano's unbeaten run, with Mirko Vučinić's last-gasp diving header giving the hosts a 1-0 win. Rafael Benítez bemoaned his side's late lapse, saying: "The problem was not dealt with well, but we failed to convert many chances ourselves." AC Milan beat Genoa CFC thanks to another goal from in-form Zlatan Ibrahimović, while on Sunday, a Mauro Zárate strike saw S.S. Lazio overcome AC Chievo Verona, with the 1-0 win seeing them join Inter on ten points at the top of the table.

Spain
Valencia CF ended the weekend top of the standings by virtue of a 2-0 win against Real Sporting de Gijón, with FC Barcelona second following a 3-1 win at Athletic Club, which saw David Villa dismissed in the closing stages as both sides finished with ten men. A 0-0 draw against UD Levante added to third-placed Real Madrid CF's concerns, with defender Sergio Ramos admitting "these are bad times in front of goal for us". Sevilla FC might have joined José Mourinho's side on 11 points on Sunday, but came unstuck at Hercules CF, with David Trezeguet hitting two unanswered goals – one from the spot – before the interval.

France
The 100th derby du Rhône et de la Loire between Olympique Lyonnais and AS Saint-Etienne ended in joy for Les Verts, with Dimitri Payet's wonderful free-kick 15 minutes from the end the only goal at the Stade de Gerland. "We wrote a piece of history here," said the 23-year-old, whose goal kept St-Etienne top and left Claude Puel's men with just five points to show for seven Ligue 1 games. With AJ Auxerre drawing 2-2 against AS Nancy-Lorraine, Olympique de Marseille were the only one of France's three UEFA Champions League contenders to win, Taye Taiwo and Lucho González on target in a 2-1 defeat of FC Sochaux-Montbéliard. Toulouse FC might have ended the weekend level on points with St-Etienne, but drew 1-1 with LOSC Lille Métropole on Sunday.

Elsewhere
There were sparks in the Netherlands on Saturday as leaders AFC Ajax twice had to respond to Theo Janssen goals to draw 2-2 at titleholders FC Twente and stay two points clear. Danish pacesetters FC København are seven ahead, meanwhile, thanks to a 3-0 win at closest pursuers FC Midtjylland. As for Rangers FC, they nudged past Celtic FC on goals scored after recovering from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Aberdeen FC – and there was a change of lead in Slovakia too as FK Senica toppled MŠK Žilina. The race for honours is over in Iceland, finally, after Breidablik captured their maiden league crown.

Last updated: 27/09/10 15.32CET

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