Though the snow claimed all but two matches in the Premier League and several others across Europe, there was still drama aplenty elsewhere as late goals and on-form strikers left a lasting impression into 2011. S.S. Lazio and SSC Napoli were the main beneficiaries − much to AC Milan's dismay − on a weekend when Borussia Dortmund were stung at the death in Frankfurt and two high-profile Bundesliga strikers hit hat-tricks.
Instead of moving nine points clear at the top of Serie A, Milan had their lead whittled down to three following a home loss to AS Roma and last-gasp wins for Napoli and Lazio, who are second and third respectively. Cristián Zapata's own goal proved decisive as Lazio overcame Udinese Calcio 3-2, while Edinson Cavani turned Father Christmas by delivering Napoli's added-time winner against US Lecce. "We were born to suffer and never give up," mused coach Walter Mazzarri. Cavani added: "We kept going, missed chances but broke through in the end. Now we can all go home happy with a lovely Christmas present."
After scoring 36 goals this weekend, Bundesliga clubs will consider their winter break thoroughly deserved, not least Dortmund, even if they failed to score as their seven-match winning streak was ended by Eintracht Frankfurt. Theofanis Gekas' late effort took him atop the scorers' charts with 14 strikes, one ahead of Papiss Demba Cissé, whose side, SC Freiburg, denied Bayer 04 Leverkusen second place by forcing a 2-2 draw on Sunday.
Other strikers signing off in style were Raúl González − who hit all three of FC Schalke 04's goals against 1. FC Köln − and Mario Gomez, whose third hat-trick in two months helped FC Bayern München to a 5-3 victory against VfB Stuttgart, who will be without Timo Gebhart when the teams meet in the German Cup on Wednesday after he damaged ankle ligaments.
Like Paris-Saint-Germain FC 24 hours previous, Olympique Lyonnais squandered the chance to move top of Ligue 1 on Sunday after being held at Olympique de Marseille. Lyon were denied the league lead when Mathieu Valbuena cancelled out Lisandro's opener in a 1-1 draw, while PSG were pegged back to 2-2 by Daniel Niculae's late leveller for AS Monaco FC.
So, LOSC Lille Métropole stay at the summit, level on points with the club from the capital and Stade Rennais FC, without so much as kicking a ball, their match with AS Nancy-Lorraine having been postponed along with RC Lens-SM Caen.
Just as it seemed FC Barcelona would end the year with a four-point advantage over Real Madrid CF, up popped Ángel Di María against Sevilla FC to keep José Mourinho's team tucked in behind the Liga leaders. The 1-0 victory, achieved with ten men after Ricardo Carvalho was sent off, came 24 hours after Barcelona had overwhelmed city rivals RCD Espanyol 5-1 – their tenth successive league victory. Elsewhere, Villarreal CF consolidated third spot by triumphing 3-1 over RCD Mallorca and Valencia CF leapfrogged Espanyol into fourth after beating Real Sociedad de Fútbol 2-1.
Sunderland AFC were the main movers on a weekend when all but two Premier League matches succumbed to the wintry weather sweeping the United Kingdom. Danny Welbeck headed in the only goal, his fifth in six matches, as Steve Bruce's team maintained their unbeaten home record in the league with a 1-0 victory against Bolton Wanderers FC.
That lifted the north-east club above their opponents into sixth and five points ahead of managerless Blackburn Rovers FC, who drew 1-1 with bottom-of-the-table West Ham United FC at Ewood Park. Manchester City FC will go top if they defeat Everton FC on Monday, weather permitting.
Olympiacos FC have a five-point cushion at the top of the Greek Super League after they took advantage of Panathinaikos FC's first home loss of the season. The Greens were beaten 1-0 by Olympiacos Volou FC, though their Athens rivals required an own goal from Panagiotis Katsiaros to defeat bottom-of-the-table Larissa FC.
Sercan Yıldırım scored twice as Bursaspor emphatically kept up the pressure on Turkish Süper Lig pacesetters Trabzonspor by triumphing 5-1 over Gençlerbirliği SK. FC Porto, unbeaten in the Portuguese Liga since 28 February, remain eight points clear of SL Benfica after a 3-0 success against FC Paços de Ferreira.
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