Real Madrid CF’s winning run was halted in dramatic fashion on Sunday as FC Barcelona were gifted a flicker of hope in the Liga race. While Madrid faltered, Manchester United FC and FC Bayern München both recorded big wins, the English champions moving four points clear and Bayern rattling in another six goals to keep the pressure on leaders Borussia Dortmund. UEFA.com recaps the action.
Madrid's lead has been cut to eight points after Santi Cazorla earned Málaga CF a 1-1 draw in the capital with a last-gasp free kick. That denied the hosts a 12th consecutive Liga win and allowed Barcelona a glimmer of hope, though the title holders' coach Josep Guardiola sounded a pessimistic note after Lionel Messi notched his 150th Liga goal in a 2-0 defeat of Sevilla FC. "Forget the league – we’re not going to win," he said. "There has been another team which has been better and achieved better results than us and there's no getting around that fact." Third-placed Valencia CF prevailed 3-0 at Athletic Club thanks to a Roberto Soldado hat-trick, while José Molina was sacked after his Villarreal CF side lost 1-0 at Levante UD.
Bayern cannot stop scoring goals at the moment after taking their tally to 20 in the last seven days with a 6-0 success at Hertha BSC Berlin, Arjen Robben rattling in a treble. "In the last three matches, we've seen just how much attacking quality we have in the team," commented captain Philipp Lahm. "We can take apart almost every opposing team." Bayern nonetheless still trail Borussia Dortmund by five points after the champions edged SV Werder Bremen 1-0. Igor De Camargo's late winner at Bayer 04 Leverkusen kept VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach in third, while fourth-placed FC Schalke 04 swept aside 1. FC Kaiserslautern 4-1.
The action on the pitch was overshadowed by concerns for Fabrice Muamba after the midfielder collapsed during Bolton Wanderers FC's FA Cup quarter-final tie at Tottenham Hotspur FC on Saturday. The match was abandoned shortly before half-time on a weekend when Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC progressed to the last four, and Everton FC drew 1-1 with Sunderland AFC. In the Premier League, Manchester United extended their lead to four points with a 5-0 victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers FC. "What is significant today is we've reduced the goal difference by five goals and that may make a difference at the end of the season," said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Zlatan Ibrahimović was irrepressible once again as he plundered his 20th goal in 22 league outings to help AC Milan maintain their grip on Serie A via a 2-0 win at Parma FC. "We were a little more wasteful after taking the lead and that is something we have to work on," coach Massimiliano Allegri nonetheless warned his charges. Title rivals Juventus responded with an empathic 5-0 victory against ten-man ACF Fiorentina and remain four points behind the Rossoneri. On Sunday, Udinese Calcio surrendered a two-goal lead in their 2-2 draw with SSC Napoli as both sides missed the opportunity to displace third-placed S.S. Lazio, who slipped up 1-0 at Calcio Catania.
It was a challenging weekend for the top two sides in Ligue 1 as Paris Saint-Germain FC required Christophe Jallet's added-time equaliser to salvage a 2-2 draw at SM Caen and second-placed Montpellier Hérault SC succumbed 1-0 at AS Nancy-Lorraine. The results enabled PSG to double their advantage to two points, though coach Carlo Ancelotti was far from impressed. "He couldn't be happy with that performance and his words afterwards weren't the kindest," said Jallet. "He wants us to do better, but we already know that very well." In third, LOSC Lille Métropole moved within seven points of Montpellier by seeing off local rivals Valenciennes FC 4-0, and Toulouse FC stayed fourth by downing Stade Rennais FC 1-0.
CFR 1907 Cluj have moved top of the standings in Romania after their 2-0 defeat of CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu coincided with a 3-1 home loss to FC Sportul Studenţesc Bucureşti for long-time leaders FC Dinamo Bucureşti. Cluj now stand two points clear – one more than AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands after their 0-0 draw with NAC Breda allowed AFC Ajax and PSV Eindhoven to close in. Elsewhere, Turkish Super League pacesetters Galatasaray AŞ drew 2-2 at nearest pursuers Fenerbahçe SK, and Kilmarnock FC lifted the Scottish League Cup courtesy of a 1-0 upset of Celtic FC.
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