FC Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United FC all boast healthy leads at the top of their respective domestic leagues after enhancing their title aspirations this weekend. UEFA.com recaps the highlights.
Seven points separate Barcelona and Real Madrid CF after Josep Guardiola's titleholders won 3-0 at RCD Mallorca and the Merengues were forced to settle for a goalless draw at RC Deportivo La Coruña. "We tried our best and created some good chances, but the ball just wouldn't go in," said Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas. José Mourinho's charges are nevertheless ten points clear of Valencia CF, who won 2-1 against Athletic Club. Villarreal CF lie a further four points adrift following their 2-2 draw at Real Racing Club.
FC Internazionale Milano were the major beneficiaries ahead of AC Milan's fixture against SSC Napoli on Monday evening. The Rossoneri are still top, but Inter are now lurking a mere two points off the pace in second having won 2-0 at UC Sampdoria. "Now we are two points from Milan and one above Napoli, so I don't really care who wins tomorrow," said Wesley Sneijder, scorer of the Nerazzurri's first. Four points behind Napoli in fourth, S.S. Lazio suffered a 1-0 reverse at Cagliari Calcio, while Alexis Sánchez scored four as Udinese Calcio won 7-0 against nine-man US Città di Palermo.
LOSC Lille Métropole continue to look down on their rivals in Ligue 1, but they lead on goal difference alone after their 1-1 draw at home against Olympique Lyonnais. The pressure is undoubtedly on at the top, with second-placed Stade Rennais FC having briefly usurped Lille's position following their 2-0 defeat of RC Lens on Saturday. "I have to congratulate the players because going for first spot can freeze you sometimes," said Rennes coach Frédéric Antonetti. One point behind, third-placed Olympique de Marseille look determined to defend their crown after they prevailed 2-1 at AS Nancy-Lorraine. That was also the score as Paris Saint-Germain FC – two points off the summit – dispatched Toulouse FC.
Dortmund stifled the threat of the Bundesliga chasing pack with a 3-1 victory away against champions FC Bayern München, who now lie 16 points off the summit in fourth. "There was a lot of passion on both sides from the start and it made for a super contest," said Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp. In second, 12 points behind the leaders, are Bayer 04 Leverkusen, who let slip a two-goal lead in the final eight minutes of their 2-2 draw at SV Werder Bremen. Hannover 96 are up to third, meanwhile, after Christian Schulz's 89th-minute strike earned them a 1-0 triumph at FC St Pauli.
Manchester United cemented their advantage atop the Premier League standings thanks to a 4-0 defeat of Wigan Athletic FC that took them four points clear. "We could have scored more, but I'm happy with 4-0," said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Second-placed Arsenal FC were on League Cup duty, losing 2-1 to Birmingham City FC in the Wembley showpiece, while third-placed Manchester City FC now trail their city rivals by ten points after being held 1-1 by Fulham FC. Bottom and second-bottom before the weekend, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and West Ham United FC beat Blackpool FC and Liverpool FC respectively.
AFC Ajax missed the chance to reduce their five-point gap to PSV Eindhoven as they could only play out a 0-0 draw at the home of the Eredivisie leaders. The status quo was served in Switzerland too as top dogs FC Basel 1893 recorded a 1-0 win away against FC Luzern, who now lie eight points off the summit. In Bulgaria, meanwhile, the A League resumed after its winter break with a 3-1 success for PFC CSKA Sofia at Eternal Derby neighbours PFC Levski Sofia, who nonetheless remain the closest challengers to PFC Litex Lovech. In Austria, finally, SK Sturm Graz saw off SV Ried 1-0 to leapfrog their opponents into second, a point behind FK Austria Wien.
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