AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund shuffled clear in their respective top flights on a weekend when Paris Saint-Germain FC took over as Ligue 1 leaders once again. UEFA.com reviews the best of the action.
Zlatan Ibrahimović returned from suspension to score a first-half hat-trick as Milan resumed the Serie A leadership with a 4-0 defeat of US Città di Palermo. The Rossoneri are three points in front of Juventus after Antonio Conte's side were held to a 1-1 draw by AC Chievo Verona. "The team played a great game, especially in the first half," said Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri. "In the second half, we did well to manage the game and look for the fourth goal." S.S. Lazio are three points further behind in third, meanwhile, having got the better of city rivals AS Roma 2-1.
Dortmund opened up a seven-point gap atop the Bundesliga after they defeated 1. FSV Mainz 05 2-1 and the chasing pack stumbled. FC Bayern München remain their closest challengers despite a 2-0 loss against fifth-placed Bayer 04 Leverkusen, with VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach another point off the pace following their 1-0 reverse at 1. FC Nürnberg. "It's looking good at the moment," said Jakub Błaszczykowski, scorer of Dortmund's first against Mainz. "We've won eight straight games and are on an 18-game unbeaten run. This is just outstanding. It shows how much quality we have."
It looks increasingly like a two-horse race in the Premier League after Manchester City FC and Manchester United FC recorded comfortable victories. City briefly went five points ahead at the top by beating Bolton Wanderers FC 2-0, but the title holders reduced the arrears with a 3-1 win at Tottenham Hotspur FC, now 13 points off the summit in third. "We need to keep winning because Manchester United are very good," said City manager Roberto Mancini. "We just need to keep playing the way we are and we will have a very good chance." Arsenal FC are fourth, with Chelsea FC in fifth after a 1-0 loss against West Bromwich Albion FC which led to André Villas-Boas's dismissal on Sunday.
Real Madrid CF continue to hold FC Barcelona at bay at the head of the Spanish Liga. Josep Guardiola's side may have been without the inimitable Lionel Messi but they upheld their side of the bargain nonetheless with a 3-1 victory against Real Sporting de Gijón on Saturday. "I'm happy with how the players reacted; they've done it again," said Guardiola. "The way this game was won reinforces our morale." Madrid, though, show little sign of slipping up and restored their ten-point advantage thanks to a 5-0 win at home to RCD Espanyol. Valencia CF trail Barça by 14 points, having beat Granada CF 1-0.
Paris Saint-Germain are back on top of the Ligue 1 pile after pouncing on a slip from previous pacesetters Montpellier Hérault SC, who could only manage a 1-1 draw at Dijon FCO. Carlo Ancelotti's charges duly made the most by downing AC Ajaccio 4-1, a win that moved them a point clear. "We wanted to take over as leaders again and we're going to cling onto our position because it'd be great to be a champion with this club," said PSG goalscorer Guillaume Hoarau. Third-placed LOSC Lille Métropole missed the chance to close in on the summit as they were held 2-2 by relegation-threatened AJ Auxerre, while fourth-placed AS Saint-Étienne lost 2-0 at home against Évian Thonon Gaillard FC.
FC Zenit St Petersburg remain six points clear in the Russian Premier League after twice being pegged back to draw 2-2 with second-placed PFC CSKA Moskva in their first match after the winter break. In Portugal, meanwhile, Maicon struck three minutes from time to earn FC Porto a 3-2 victory against SL Benfica, who now trail Vítor Pereira's leaders by three points. In the Eredivisie, lastly, FC Twente are just a point off leaders AZ Alkmaar following a 6-2 triumph against PSV Eindhoven, who began the weekend on top but now lie third.
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