AC Milan hauled themselves to the top of Serie A at the start of the weekend's domestic programme on a positive night for fellow UEFA Champions League contenders Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Olympique de Marseille.
Already assured of second spot in UEFA Champions League Group H, Milan were able to focus all their attentions on triumphing away at Genoa CFC. Despite a long list of absentees, the Rossoneri went ahead after the club's former defender Kakha Kaladze was dismissed for bringing down Zlatan Ibrahimović in the area. The Sweden striker fired his side into a 56th-minute lead from the spot and Antonio Nocerino added a second 11 minutes from time to take Milan a point clear of Juventus, who host AC Cesena on Sunday.
Leverkusen are also through to the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League but will face KRC Genk on Tuesday eager to sew up top spot in Group E. Robin Dutt's men will go into that match high on confidence after dispatching TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 2-0 at home, Eren Derdiyok and Sidney Sam supplying the goals for the Bundesliga's sixth-placed side.
As for Marseille, they built on Sunday's excellent 3-0 defeat of Paris Saint-Germain FC by winning 2-1 at SM Caen, brothers André and Jordan Ayew finding the net either side of a Pierre-Alain Frau spot kick for the hosts. The result lifted OM to seventh ahead of their crucial trip to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.
Trabzonspor AŞ lie second in Group B going into their high-stakes meeting with LOSC Lille Métropole on Wednesday, and they warmed up for that match with a 2-2 draw at Sivasspor that took them to fifth in the Turkish Super League standings. Group C leaders SL Benfica are out of the Portuguese Cup, meanwhile, after they lost 2-1 at fifth-round opponents CS Marítimo, their first defeat in 23 matches this season.
Elsewhere on Friday, Genk lost 2-0 at K. Beerschot AC and Milan's forthcoming opponents FC Viktoria Plzeň moved third in the Czech Republic by downing Bohemians 1905 4-1. Already eliminated from UEFA Champions League Group G, FC Shakhtar Donetsk climbed two points ahead of FC Dynamo Kyiv, who entertain FC Metalurh Donetsk on Monday, by sweeping aside ten-man FC Arsenal Kyiv 5-0.
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