There were sighs of relief in both halves of Milan as new coach Claudio Ranieri led FC Internazionale Milano to their first win this term and AC Milan also clinched a maiden success, but while those Serie A giants finally claimed victories, Premier League champions Manchester United FC dropped their first points this season.
Ranieri made an instant impact in the Inter dugout as he led his troubled side to a 3-1 victory at ten-man Bologna FC for their first competitive win in any competition this term. "It was very important to start off on the right foot," said Ranieri. "This is a good squad made up of champions. We have to get them used to winning." Milan also secured their first Serie A triumph this season as Clarence Seedorf's early strike earned them a 1-0 defeat of AC Cesena, and AS Roma did likewise as they edged Parma FC 1-0. Elsewhere, SSC Napoli drew 0-0 with ACF Fiorentina and draws for Udinese Calcio and Juventus kept the unbeaten duo joint top.
Manchester United bade farewell to their 100% record following a 1-1 draw at Stoke City FC, Peter Crouch cancelling out Nani's opener for the visitors. Despite the result, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson declared himself "pleased with the performance from the lads. They battled really hard and played like real champions." His side have nonetheless been caught at the top by local rivals Manchester City FC after Roberto Mancini's side saw off Everton FC 2-0. Chelsea FC remain third as they defeated Swansea City AFC 4-1 – Fernando Torres scoring one and receiving a red card – and Demba Ba fired a hat-trick to give Newcastle United FC a 3-1 win against Blackburn Rovers FC that keeps them fourth.
It was a tale of two trebles in the Liga as FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF both returned to winning ways, Lionel Messi notching his second hat-trick in three games to help Barcelona beat Club Atlético de Madrid 5-0 and Cristiano Ronaldo plundering three as Madrid dispatched Rayo Vallecano de Madrid 6-2. "Messi was decisive again; you can only congratulate him," commented Barça coach Josep Guardiola. "He's a player that you don't have to explain – you just have to watch him in action." Guardiola's men are now up to second, a point behind Real Betis Balompié – who visit Getafe CF on Monday – with Levante UD third after they downed RCD Espanyol 3-1.
FC Bayern München continue to set a blistering pace in the Bundesliga as they celebrated a sixth consecutive league win, coach Jupp Heynckes leading them to a 3-0 home triumph against his former club Bayer 04 Leverkusen. "Bayern were clearly the better side and deserved to win the game," explained Leverkusen boss Robin Dutt. "We are not the first to lose here and won't be the last either." Two points behind Bayern are SV Werder Bremen, who edged Hertha BSC Berlin 2-1 courtesy of a Claudio Pizarro double, and VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach, 1-0 victors against 1. FC Nürnberg. Champions Borussia Dortmund clinched a last-minute 2-1 success at 1. FSV Mainz 05.
Three teams lead the way in Ligue 1, with Paris Saint-Germain FC deposing previous pacesetters Montpellier Hérault SC thanks to a 3-0 away win as summer signing Javier Pastore weighed in with a pair of goals. "I can still improve a lot of things," said the Argentinian international. "That will come as I get to know my team-mates better." The capital club are level on 17 points with Olympique Lyonnais, who defeated FC Girondins de Bordeaux 3-1 – Bafétimbi Gomis scoring twice – and Toulouse FC, who felled bottom side AS Nancy-Lorraine 1-0. Joe Cole buried his first goal for LOSC Lille Métropole, but the champions had to settle for a 1-1 draw with FC Lorient.
There was silverware to be had in Europe this weekend as Helsingborgs IF claimed their seventh Swedish title with three games to spare courtesy of a 3-1 win at GAIS Göteborg and disappointing results for rivals AIK Solna and IF Elfsborg. Over the border, HJK Helsinki lifted the Finnish Cup for the 11th time after overcoming KuPS Kuopio 2-1 in extra time, Jari Litmanen and Alexander Ring hitting their goals. Also celebrating are KR Reykjavík, Icelandic champions for the 25th time but the first since 2003. In Portugal, meanwhile, FC Porto and SL Benfica played out a 2-2 draw and have been joined at the summit by SC Braga, while AZ Alkmaar have moved two points clear in the Netherlands after they beat Feyenoord 2-1 and the match between AFC Ajax and FC Twente finished 1-1.
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