AC Milan rang in the start of a midweek round of games in Serie A by going top with a 2-0 win at Cagliari Calcio, while Olympique de Marseille continued their recent Ligue 1 revival at AS Nancy-Lorraine and Bolton Wanderers FC won the tussle between the bottom two in the Premier League.
With weekend frontrunners Juventus not in action until their testing trip to Udinese Calcio on Wednesday, Milan took advantage to move a point clear at the summit. Their game was less than four minutes old when Cagliari defender Francesco Pisano turned Robinho's cross into his own net under pressure from Antonio Nocerino, and Zlatan Ibrahimović made it 2-0 on the hour when he raced onto Robinho's headed flick and dinked the ball over Michael Agazzi. Elsewhere in Italy, ACF Fiorentina could only draw 0-0 at AC Siena.
Marseille are now as high as fifth in France after recording their seventh victory in nine league outings by triumphing 3-1 at AS Nancy-Lorraine. Didier Deschamps's side found themselves rooted to the foot of the table in September, but goals from Mathieu Valbuena (18), Stéphane Mbia (41) and Lucho González (90+1) handed them an important 3-1 success ahead of a busy Wednesday in the French top flight.
In England, Blackburn Rovers FC slipped to the bottom of the standings after suffering a 2-1 home loss to previous incumbents Bolton. Now up to 19th, the visitors led 2-0 at the break thanks to efforts from Mark Davies (5) and Nigel Reo-Coker (30), but they faced some nervy moments at the end as Ayegbeni Yakubu (67) restored a little hope for the hosts. The meeting between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Norwich City FC ended 2-2, meanwhile.
Cup concerns were the order of the day in Spain and Germany, and Copa del Rey holders Real Madrid CF eased themselves into the last 16 by downing third-tier SD Ponferradina 5-1 at the Santiago Bernabéu. Already 2-0 up following the first leg, the capital side completed the job courtesy of a José Callejón double and a strike apiece from Nuri Şahin, Raphaël Varane and substitute Joselu.
The Merengues will be joined in the next round by RCD Mallorca, who overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit with a 2-0 win against Real Sporting de Gijón. Also through are RCD Espanyol – 4-2 victors on the night and on aggregate against RC Celta de Vigo – and Sevilla FC, who dispatched CD San Roque de Lepe 3-1 overall.
FC Bayern München required an added-time Arjen Robben effort to prevail 2-1 at second-division VfL Bochum and advance to the German Cup quarter-finals – and there was an even tighter finish at Fortuna Düsseldorf as Borussia Dortmund were taken to a penalty shoot-out before coming out on top, their tie having ended 0-0. The upset of the night came courtesy of SpVgg Greuther Fürth, though, the 2. Bundesliga outfit running out 1-0 winners at 1. FC Nürnberg, while TSG 1899 Hoffenheim edged FC Augsburg 2-1.
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