The heightened atmosphere of derby football smiled on Juventus and Real Madrid CF as both defeated their neighbours to bounce back from defeats last weekend, though while Juve maintained their Serie A lead, Madrid remain a long way behind Liga record-breakers FC Barcelona. Elsewhere, Manchester United FC extended their advantage in England despite falling behind yet again, and FC Bayern München held Borussia Dortmund 1-1 to keep the Bundesliga champions at arm's length. UEFA.com recaps the weekend action.
Madrid continued their derby mastery of Club Atlético de Madrid courtesy of a 2-0 home triumph, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Özil grabbing the goals to make it 13 years and 24 games since Atlético last downed their neighbours. "We played a good, intelligent match," commented Madrid defender Sergio Ramos. "We are happy because in matches like these it doesn't matter if you're on a good or bad run." The result lifted the Merengues to within five points of Atlético, but they are still 11 shy of FC Barcelona after Tito Vilanova's men swept aside Athletic Club 5-1 to post a record 13th win from their opening 14 games. Elsewhere, Mauricio Pellegrino was sacked as Valencia CF coach following his team's 5-2 home loss to Real Sociedad de Fútbol.
Beaten by AC Milan last weekend, leaders Juventus recovered their poise to see off ten-man Torino FC 3-0 in the first Derby della Mole since March 2009, Claudio Marchisio registering twice. That kept the Bianconeri two points better off than second-placed SSC Napoli, who inflicted a punishing 5-1 reverse on basement side Pescara Calcio. There were victories also for FC Internazionale Milano, S.S. Lazio and AS Roma, while Milan clambered up to a season-high seventh spot by winning 3-1 at Calcio Catania. "I knew that the team would face difficulties," Rossoneri coach Massimiliano Allegri said afterwards. "The players who arrived late in the summer needed time to settle in. We're improving and getting better in the kind of situations that penalised us in the past."
Manchester United pulled three points clear at the top of the Premier League courtesy of a 4-3 win at Reading FC, coupled with Manchester City FC's 1-1 home draw with Everton FC. Sir Alex Ferguson's side were behind twice, and although goals from Anderson, Robin van Persie, and a Wayne Rooney double ultimately steered them to victory, the manager was not impressed. "It was the worst defending of this season," said Sir Alex. "We need to do something about it." A Carlos Tévez penalty earned a point for City after they fell behind, while Rafael Benítez is yet to record a win in charge of third-placed Chelsea FC. "If we improve and start winning games, it will be easy to turn things around," said the Spaniard following Chelsea's 3-1 loss at West Ham United FC.
Champions Dortmund remain 11 points behind leaders Bayern, but it could have been worse after Mario Götze rescued a 1-1 draw for Jürgen Klopp's charges in Munich. "The point is worth more to us than to Bayern," said Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller. "Both sides had chances to win the game, so we are happy." Toni Kroos had put the hosts ahead but was disappointed his side could not hold on, commenting: "My goal was certainly crucial, but I'd have happily exchanged it for a win." The result allowed Bayer 04 Leverkusen to move within eight points of the top thanks to their 1-0 success against 1. FC Nürnberg, while FC Schalke 04's poor run continued as a 1-1 stalemate against VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach left them winless in four.
Olympique Lyonnais maintained their two-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 thanks to Bafétimbi Gomis' match-winning goal in a 1-0 defeat of Montpellier Hérault SC. Olympique de Marseille remain hot on their trail, though, after they engineered a 2-1 win at Stade Brestois 29 courtesy of goals from Souleymane Diawara and André Ayew, who said: "If we continue like this, we can do good things. At the start of the season nobody would have believed that we would be second today." Meanwhile, AS Saint-Étienne and Paris Saint-Germain FC sit five points off the pace, the latter suffering a 2-1 defeat at OGC Nice after Valentin Eysseric plundered a late winner. "It's a tough period," said PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti. "This isn't normal for a side who want to win."
PSV Eindhoven were displaced by FC Twente at the top of the Dutch Eredivisie after losing 3-1 at AFC Ajax, while Steve McClaren's side prevailed 2-0 at home to ADO Den Haag. Jeremain Lens brought PSV level in Amsterdam, but second-half goals from Ajax prodigies Daniel Hoesen and Viktor Fischer ensured another twist in the title race. In Switzerland, league leaders Grasshopper Club triumphed 1-0 against FC Zürich to leave their city neighbours languishing second from bottom, while the meeting of Austria's highest-scoring sides, FC Salzburg and FK Austria Wien, almost inevitably ended goalless. Lastly, Guus Hiddink led FC Anji Makhachkala to a 2-0 home success against PFC CSKA Moskva to move level on points with the Russian Premier League leaders.
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