Manchester United FC were among the biggest winners on a weekend littered with significant results, the Premier League champions establishing an eight-point lead after defeat for rivals Manchester City FC. The gap at the top is down to four points in Spain, meanwhile, after Real Madrid CF were held by Valencia CF, and Juventus are the new leaders in Serie A following a surprise loss for AC Milan. UEFA.com recaps the action.
Manchester City's faltering title challenge is all but over after a 1-0 defeat at Arsenal FC left them eight points adrift of rivals Manchester United, who cruised to a 2-0 win against ten-man Queens Park Rangers FC. A record 20th Premier League title is now in sight for Sir Alex Ferguson's charges following an eighth consecutive league victory, while City have won just one of their last five. Roberto Mancini remained defiant, however. "In life, until it's over you should do your best and, in the end, if we don't win it's probably because United did better than us," he said. Meanwhile, the Gunners' win took them two points clear of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur FC, who drew 0-0 with Sunderland AFC.
Madrid's title aspirations suffered a blow as they were held to a goalless draw by Valencia CF. The result was José Mourinho's men's third draw in five Liga matches and allowed FC Barcelona to cut the gap at the top to four points. That was after the Catalan giants had come from behind to dispatch Real Zaragoza 4-1, as Lionel Messi took his goal tally to 60 in all competitions this season. "We have to give everything in the ten or 11 games we have left," said coach Josep Guardiola. "We can do nothing else but keep pressing on." The race for an automatic place in next season's UEFA Champions League also remains wide open after Levante UD triumphed 2-0 against Club Atlético de Madrid to move within a point of Valencia.
Juventus are the new leaders of Serie A after posting a 2-0 win against US Città di Palermo to climb a point above Milan, who suffered a surprise 2-1 home loss at the hands of ACF Fiorentina. "We must continue to play like this from here on in, regardless of Milan's results," commented Juve forward Fabio Quagliarella. "We were focused on this game today, without thinking about anything else." The Bianconeri's next opponents are third-placed S.S. Lazio, who claimed a 3-1 victory against SSC Napoli which dropped their visitors to fifth, while fourth-placed Udinese Calcio beat Parma FC by the same scoreline.
Borussia Dortmund still possess a three-point cushion at the head of the Bundesliga after Robert Lewandowski struck twice in a 3-1 success at VfL Wolfsburg. FC Bayern München kept the pressure on by overcoming FC Augsburg 2-1, Mario Gomez plundering a double, and the Germany striker is backing his team to grind out victories in their remaining fixtures – starting at Dortmund on Wednesday. "We have five tough games ahead of us, but we want to win them all," said Gomez. "We need to get away from this idea that we'll play every other team off the park." Meanwhile, FC Schalke 04 tightened their grip on third by seeing off Hannover 96 3-0.
The top two both carved out 2-1 wins as their tussle for the Ligue 1 title continued apace. Montpellier Hérault SC struck the first blow, edging second-bottom FC Sochaux-Montbéliard, but Paris Saint-Germain FC responded with a high-profile victory against arch-rivals Olympique de Marseille in 'Le Classique', Alex heading in the winner. "The whole team played well today," said PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu. "We had to win, not only because it was 'Le Classique' but to get onto 63 points." The capital side trail Montpellier – who boast a game in hand – on goal difference alone, with LOSC Lille Métropole seven points back after they succumbed 3-1 at Stade Brestois 29.
FC Porto won the big game in Portugal as Hulk earned a 1-0 triumph at third-placed SC Braga that lifted his side five points clear of their third-placed hosts at the top, with closest pursuers SL Benfica in action on Monday. There was a high-profile meeting in Ukraine too, where FC Shakhtar Donetsk saw off FC Dynamo Kyiv 2-0 to jump ahead of their rivals at the summit on goal difference. In a similar vein, AC Sparta Praha leapfrogged FC Slovan Liberec at the top in the Czech Republic courtesy of a 3-1 success at the home of the previous leaders, while PSV Eindhoven lifted the Dutch Cup, Celtic FC wrapped up the Scottish crown in style and Linfield FC settled the title question in Northern Ireland.
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