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Leaders feel the heat as rivals keep up pressure

Published: Monday 21 November 2011, 0.06CET
The tension was ratcheted up in Italy, France and Germany as Juventus reclaimed the Serie A lead, Paris Saint-Germain FC slipped to defeat and FC Bayern München suffered a costly loss.

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Published: Monday 21 November 2011, 0.06CET

Leaders feel the heat as rivals keep up pressure

The tension was ratcheted up in Italy, France and Germany as Juventus reclaimed the Serie A lead, Paris Saint-Germain FC slipped to defeat and FC Bayern München suffered a costly loss.

It was a testing weekend for the leaders in many of Europe's biggest leagues as FC Bayern München slipped to defeat at the hands of rivals Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain FC had their cushion wiped out in France and Juventus replaced Udinese Calcio at the top in Serie A. recaps the action, which also featured wins for Manchester United FC and FC Barcelona, who kept the frontrunners within reach in England and Spain.

Top spot changed hands in Serie A with Juventus reclaiming their place at the summit courtesy of a 3-0 victory against US Città di Palermo. "The season is long, we've had a good start, but only time will tell us where we can get," said Simone Pepe, who opened the scoring on 20 minutes. "Obviously, finding something wrong is hard now because we keep the ball and we attack when we can, but we must go on like this." Previous top dogs Udinese missed the chance to go clear as they slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Parma FC while S.S. Lazio were held to a goalless draw at SSC Napoli, although they extended their unbeaten run to nine games. AC Milan sit third after drawing a blank at ACF Fiorentina, and at the bottom there was a first victory of the season for AC Cesena, who triumphed at fellow strugglers Bologna FC.

PSG's shock 1-0 home defeat to lowly AS Nancy-Lorraine left the capital outfit level at the summit with Montpellier Hérault SC, who claimed a 1-0 home victory against Olympique de Marseille following Souleymane Diawara's second-half own goal. "The great adventure continues," said Montpellier coach René Girard. "It was a big performance from the players and games like these take a lot of energy, but we must continue this run for as long as possible." Stade Brestois 29 and Valenciennes FC recorded home wins against FC Sochaux-Montbéliard and AJ Auxerre respectively to move themselves away from the danger zone, while OGC Nice had David Ospina, Eric Moloungoui and Renato Civelli dismissed as they succumbed 2-0 to AS Saint-Étienne.

Dortmund sealed an impressive 1-0 victory at Bayern on Saturday as Mario Götze's 65th-minute strike moved the reigning champions to within two points of their opponents at the top. "We had surprisingly few attempts at goal, but from the few chances we had, we made one count," said Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp. "We were patient and disciplined throughout, but that doesn't mean we scored an undeserved winner." Other sides made home advantage count, meanwhile, with VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach moving level on points with Die Schwarzgelben after Marco Reus hit a hat-trick in a 5-0 defeat of SV Werder Bremen, and both FC Schalke 04 and VfL Wolfsburg hitting four in respective home victories against 1. FC Nürnberg and Hannover 96. Sunday's action brought a first home win for Hamburger SV and success for VfB Stuttgart, who moved up to sixth.

Manchester City FC ended Newcastle United FC's unbeaten record with a 3-1 win that kept the victors five points clear of second-placed Manchester United, who saw off Swansea City FC 1-0. "We started the season very well and this confidence is important for the team," said City manager Roberto Mancini. "I don't think we're better than Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester United, but probably we're at the same level." Elsewhere, in-form Robin van Persie scored twice in Arsenal FC's 2-1 success at Norwich City FC, their fifth successive victory in the league. There was also an epic encounter at the bottom, where Blackburn Rovers FC goalkeeper Paul Robinson won his side a penalty deep into added time as they secured a 3-3 draw at relegation rivals Wigan Athletic FC. In Sunday's only game, Liverpool FC prevailed 2-1 at Chelsea FC.

Two goals from Valencia CF's Roberto Soldado could not prevent Real Madrid CF maintaining their three-point lead via a thrilling 3-2 win. Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos and a 14th strike of the season from Cristiano Ronaldo kept Madrid out in front at the top, and afterwards Ramos said: "Games like these help the team come closer together. Valencia always make things difficult. This victory is an important step for us; we fought hard and we're very happy." Barcelona nonetheless kept up the pressure with a 4-0 home win against Real Zaragoza thanks to efforts from Gerard Piqué, Lionel Messi, Carles Puyol and David Villa. Club Atlético de Madrid defeated early pacesetters Levante UD 3-2 on Sunday, while Andoni Iraola and Óscar de Marcos gave Athletic Club a 2-1 win at Sevilla FC to move sixth.

PSV Eindhoven closed the gap in the Netherlands to three points courtesy of a 3-1 win at De Graafschap and dense fog in Rotterdam, which led to SBV Excelsior's game against leaders AZ Alkmaar being abandoned at half-time. Over in neighbouring Belgium, Club Brugge KV defeated Cercle Brugge KSV 1-0 to climb within a point of their city rivals in fourth. The derby spoils were shared in Athens, meanwhile, as Greek Super League leaders Panathinaikos FC drew 1-1 at Olympiacos FC, and FK Austria Wien closed the gap at the top to a point in Austria after triumphing 3-0 away against surprise frontrunners FC Admira/Wacker Mödling, Nacer Barazite scoring twice.

Last updated: 06/12/13 5.58CET

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