FC Barcelona's unbeaten start to the Liga season is over after the Catalan giants conceded in added time in their dramatic 3-2 loss to Real Sociedad, and there was late pain for Manchester United FC as well as the Premier League pacesetters could only draw at Tottenham Hotspur FC. Meanwhile, Serie A top dogs Juventus extended their lead, Paris Saint-Germain FC went top in France and FC Bayern München returned from the Bundesliga's winter break in winning form. UEFA.com recaps the action.
Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova conceded that his charges had been second best following their 3-2 loss at Sociedad that ended a 24-match unbeaten run in the league. "Their win is more due to their merit, rather than us not playing well – I have nothing to criticise the players for," said Vilanova, whose side surrendered a two-goal lead and had Gerard Piqué sent off. "Losing a game had to come at some point. We have to pick ourselves up immediately," added Lionel Messi. Club Atlético de Madrid are eight points back in second after dispatching Levante UD 2-0, while third-placed Real Madrid CF got the better of Valencia CF for the second time in five days, cruising to a 5-0 success.
Clint Dempsey's last-gasp equaliser for Tottenham at home against Manchester United changed the complexion at the top of the Premier League as Manchester City FC closed the gap to five points. David Silva struck twice to help Roberto Mancini's men see off Fulham FC 2-0, and United were unable to respond in kind as they were held to a 1-1 draw at fourth-placed Spurs. "Tottenham worked their socks off and you have to give them credit," said Sir Alex Ferguson. "You can't deny them a point because they've worked ever so hard for it." Six points behind City in third, Chelsea FC edged Arsenal FC 2-1, and Liverpool FC climbed to seventh by downing Norwich City FC 5-0.
"Am I more like Frank Rijkaard or Patrick Vieira? Neither. I am Paul and I just want to get better," said dynamic midfielder Paul Pogba after scoring twice in Juventus' 4-0 victory at home to Udinese Calcio. The 19-year-old broke the deadlock with a blistering 30-metre strike, before adding to his tally with another goal from long range. The Bianconeri now stand five points clear of second-placed SSC Napoli, who drew 1-1 at ACF Fiorentina, with Edinson Cavani plundering his 100th Serie A strike. Third-placed S.S. Lazio also lost ground in pursuit of the title after drawing 1-1 at US Città di Palermo, and the game between AS Roma and FC Internazionale Milano ended 1-1.
Runaway Bundesliga frontrunners Bayern enjoyed a winning start in 2013 as they returned from their winter break with a 2-0 defeat of bottom side SpVgg Greuther Fürth, Mario Mandžukić registering both goals. That kept Bayern nine points clear of closest pursuers Bayer 04 Leverkusen, who triumphed 3-1 at home to Eintracht Frankfurt, though coach Jupp Heynckes was far from satisfied with the performance. "My team know that they didn't play all that well today," said Heynckes. "Our play was very slow, and not as fluid as we are used to." Third-placed Borussia Dortmund cruised to a 5-0 success at SV Werder Bremen, while UEFA Champions League hopefuls FC Schalke 04 beat Hannover 96 5-4.
PSG just about have their noses in front at the top of Ligue 1 after recording a 1-0 success at FC Girondins de Bordeaux courtesy of Zlatan Ibrahimović's first-half goal. That moved the capital side ahead of Olympique Lyonnais on goal difference, Rémi Garde's men having been held to a scoreless draw with Évian Thonon Gaillard FC, while Olympique de Marseille's last-gasp 3-2 victory against Montpellier Hérault SC means that just one point separates the top three. OM fought back from 2-1 down to prevail, thanks to André-Pierre Gignac's added-time winner. "In football, we must persevere and always believe until the last minute," said coach Élie Baup. "We still need to improve and we have the desire to shake things up and continue to challenge at the top."
AFC Ajax were the big movers in the Netherlands as they recorded a 3-0 win against Feyenoord to climb within a point of top spot. Leaders FC Twente were only able to draw at home to RKC Waalwijk, while second-placed PSV Eindhoven stumbled to a 3-1 loss to PEC Zwolle. In Turkey, meanwhile, Beşiktaş JK failed to take advantage of a slip from pacesetters Galatasaray AŞ. Cim Bom fell 2-1 at Kasımpaşa SK, but İstanbul BB SK held Beşiktaş 2-2 to prevent their hosts from going level at the top. Lastly, FC Porto joined SL Benfica at the Portugauese summit with a 2-0 victory against FC Paços de Ferreira, ahead of the Eagles' Monday night trip to Moreirense FC, and Celtic FC beat Heart of Midlothian FC 4-1 to stay nine points clear in Scotland.
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