Goals rained in Spain and Italy but there were contrasting fortunes for FC Barcelona and Juventus in their league encounters, while Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC made domestic cup progress at the expense of Chelsea FC and Arsenal FC respectively.
Barcelona returned to winning ways in emphatic fashion with a 4-0 success against Rayo Vallecano de Madrid. First-half goals by Alexis Sánchez (29, 41) and efforts either side of the interval by David Villa and Lionel Messi – his 16th Liga goal of the season – enabled the Spanish champions to bounce back from their weekend defeat by Getafe CF and move to within three points of Real Madrid CF.
Despite twice trailing by two goals, Juventus preserved their unbeaten Serie A record in a six-goal thriller at SSC Napoli. After Marek Hamšík had opened the scoring (22), Goran Pandev (40, 63) registered his first goals since arriving from FC Internazionale Milano in the summer. However, Alessandro Matri (48) and Marcelo Estigarribia (72) were both on target before Simone Pepe levelled the match (79) with his third goal in as many league matches for a draw that keeps La Vecchia Signora two points clear of AC Milan at the Serie A summit.
Liverpool condemned Chelsea to their third defeat in four outings by winning the teams' League Cup quarter-final 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. André Villas-Boas's side, who lost at home to the Reds in the league nine days ago, were undone by second-half strikes from Maxi Rodríguez (58) and Martin Kelly. Andy Carroll had a penalty saved in the first period by Chelsea goalkeeper Ross Turnbull.
Elsewhere in London, Manchester City reached the last four of the same competition following their first victory at Arsenal in 36 years. Sergio Agüero scored the only goal seven minutes from time. The other last-eight encounter was won by second-tier Cardiff City AFC, who beat Blackburn Rovers FC 2-0.
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|1||Real Madrid CF||13||34|
|10||Club Atlético de Madrid||13||16|
|11||Rayo Vallecano de Madrid||14||16|
|14||Real Betis Balompié||13||13|
|17||Real Sociedad de Fútbol||13||12|
|18||Real Sporting de Gijón||13||12|
|20||Real Racing Club||13||9|