Wins for IF Elfsborg and Kalmar FF moved the duo within two points of Swedish First Division leaders Helsingborgs IF on a weekend that brought a dramatic change at the top in the Republic of Ireland.
With Helsingborg not in action until Monday's meeting with Djurgårdens IF, their closest rivals made sure to maintain their own title pushes, although both have contested one game more. Kalmar led the way with a 3-2 defeat of third-bottom Trelleborgs FF on Saturday, but they had to cling on after their 3-0 lead was cut to a single goal following goalkeeper Etrit Berisha's 85th-minute dismissal. Kalmar now lie third on goal difference after Elfsborg triumphed 3-0 at Örebro SK, Stefan Ishizaki (10), Amadou Jawo (89) and Johan Larsson (90+2) grabbing the goals.
In neighbouring Norway, leaders Molde FK kept themselves three points ahead of SK Brann after both engineered victories, Pape Paté Diouf scoring four times as the former downed fifth-placed Aalesunds FK 5-2 and the latter edging Stabæk Fotball 2-1. Not in action at the weekend, Tromsø IL and Strømsgodset IF remain just three points off the summit, however, with Tromsø boasting three games in hand and Strømsgodset two.
There is no questioning who holds the whip hand in Ireland after Shamrock Rovers FC won their top-of-the-table meeting with Saint Patrick's Athletic FC 1-0 to jump a point clear of their rivals. Beaten by Icelandic side ÍBV in UEFA Europa League qualifying on Thursday, Saint Patrick's lost the Dublin derby and their grip on first place after Gary Twigg buried from the edge of the area on 52 minutes.
There was a high-profile encounter in Latvia too, with the honours shared between hosts FC Daugava Daugavpils and FK Ventspils. A 1-1 draw between the sides maintained a three-point cushion for Ventspils, who also possess a game in hand. In Estonia, FC Levadia Tallinn closed within five points of FC Flora Tallinn with a 4-1 triumph at struggling FC Ajax Lasnamäe, while in Lithuania FK Ekranas remain six points clear despite a goalless draw with FK Kruoja.
Elsewhere, FC BATE Borisov built a nine-point lead in Belarus by seeing off bottom side FC Dinamo Brest 2-0, with second-placed FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk scheduled for action on Monday. Kazakhstan frontrunners FC Astana lead closest challengers FC Zhetysu Taldykorgan by three points, lastly, after both secured wins.
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