FC Barcelona, Manchester United FC and AC Milan all received major boosts atop their respective leagues this weekend, while long-time Bundesliga pacesetters Borussia Dortmund got back on track. UEFA.com reviews the action.
Unbeaten in 150 home league games, Real Madrid CF coach José Mourinho was phlegmatic after that run came to an end with a 1-0 loss to Real Sporting de Gijón on Saturday. "Football is football," he said. "We had many chances to score. Sporting defended, defended and defended, and then scored a goal. That's football for you." Barcelona, meanwhile, won 1-0 at Villarreal CF to go eight points clear at the summit, prompting Mourinho to declare it "practically impossible" for the Merengues to prevent Josep Guardiola's team from successfully defending their Liga crown.
Manchester United's Premier League title credentials are in good health after they came from two down to defeat West Ham United FC 4-2. Wayne Rooney struck a hat-trick for United, who are seven points clear of Arsenal FC having played a game more. "I think we played like champions today," said Sir Alex Ferguson. The Gunners were held 0-0 at home to ten-man Blackburn Rovers FC, while Manchester City FC are third – three points further back – having beaten Sunderland AFC 5-0. Chelsea FC are fourth following a 1-1 draw against Stoke City FC.
Milan's hopes of scratching their seven-year title itch were revived on Saturday after the Rossoneri won the Derby della Madonnina 3-0, Pato scoring twice as both sides ended with ten men. SSC Napoli cut the Rossoneri's lead to three points on Sunday thanks to a 4-3 victory against S.S. Lazio. Edinson Cavani's second Serie A hat-trick – and fourth in total – this season helped Walter Mazzari's side keep Milan in their sights. Rossoneri coach Massimiliano Allegri was quick to dispel any premature Scudetto talk. "It's too soon to say whether or not this was the title-decider," he said, "but we've struck a significant psychological blow."
LOSC Lille Métropole continue to hold sway in Ligue 1 following their 3-1 home success against SM Caen on Saturday. That victory gave Lille a seven-point lead atop the standings, but Olympique de Marseille trimmed that by three when they won 1-0 at RC Lens. OM are second, third-placed Stade Rennais FC a further three points in arrears having been held 0-0 against AJ Auxerre. Olympique Lyonnais sit another point back after their 2-2 draw against OGC Nice, who struck twice in added time. "It would be putting more pressure on us to talk about [the title]", said Lille coach Rudi Garcia.
Bundesliga leaders Dortmund shook off their recent wobble to return to winning ways on Saturday. Without victory in their last two league fixtures, Jürgen Klopp's charges came from behind to win 4-1 against Hannover 96. "I am really proud of the boys," said Klopp. "We feel we are already in the decisive phase of the season." Dortmund's advantage at the summit remains seven points after nearest rivals Bayer 04 Leverkusen prevailed 1-0 at 1. FC Kaiserslautern. Titleholders FC Bayern München, meanwhile, are third – seven points further back – having beaten VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-0.
FC Porto clinched the Portuguese Liga for the 25th time on Sunday night with a 2-1 win at SL Benfica. First-half goals by Fredy Guarín (9) and Hulk (29) were enough to wrap up a seventh title in nine years with five matches to spare. In the Netherlands, a first home win against PSV Eindhoven since August 2006 took FC Twente top of the Eredivisie at their opponent's expense on Saturday. In the Polish First Division Wisła Kraków beat Jagiellonia Białystok 2-0 to go eight points ahead of their nearest challengers. Trabzonspor AŞ, meanwhile, are the new leaders in Turkey after they defeated Konyaspor 1-0 and previous incumbents Fenerbahçe SK drew 0-0 against Bursaspor.
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