Two teams high on confidence will lock horns at Old Trafford on Tuesday after Manchester United FC got ready for their UEFA Champions League round of 16 decider against Real Madrid CF with a comfortable win and their opponents celebrated a second success against FC Barcelona in the space of five days. Also in European action this week, Juventus maintained their lead in Serie A and Paris Saint-Germain FC slumped to a surprise defeat in France. UEFA.com recaps the action.
"This is a match that everyone wants to play in and it has been an incredible joy," said 20-year-old forward Álvaro Morata, who set up Karim Benzema for a sixth-minute opener in Madrid's 2-1 victory against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabéu. "It went well and I could have scored, but I'll keep working so that it will go in next time," he added. Sergio Ramos clinched a second Clásico triumph in less than a week to ensure Madrid travel to United for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League tie in fine fettle. As for Valencia CF – who face PSG on Wednesday – they could only draw 2-2 with Levante UD, while second-placed Club Atlético de Madrid drew 0-0 at Málaga CF to close within 11 points of Barça.
Another week, another win for Manchester United as the runaway Premier League leaders stretched their lead atop the Premier League to 15 points. Shinji Kagawa conjured up a sublime hat-trick and Wayne Rooney added a fourth in a 4-0 demolition of Norwich City FC at Old Trafford. "He [Kagawa] was fantastic. If you can see him and pick him out, he's cool with his finishes. He works hard and he's a good team player," said Rooney. In third, Tottenham Hotspur FC recorded a crucial 2-1 north London derby win against Arsenal FC, who now lie five points shy of fourth-placed Chelsea FC after the Blues saw off West Bromwich Albion FC 1-0.
There was no inch given in Serie A as Juventus drew 1-1 away to second-placed SSC Napoli to remain six points clear of their nearest pursuers. "We proved ourselves worthy leaders and showed our desire to win the Scudetto," said Juve defender Giorgio Chiellini, whose side resume their UEFA Champions League contest with Celtic FC on Wednesday. "We were hoping to take three points back home with us, but, in the end, I think the result was fair." On Saturday, two goals from Giampaolo Pazzini helped AC Milan sink S.S. Lazio 3-0, a win which enabled Massimiliano Allegri's team to leapfrog their opponents into third place. FC Internazionale Milano then rallied from 2-0 down to prevail 3-2 at Calcio Catania and join Lazio on 47 points.
"We're very disappointed because we have lost three points in the battle for the title," said PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti after watching his side slump to a 1-0 loss at Stade de Reims, who played more than half an hour with ten men. Olympique Lyonnais failed to take full advantage 24 hours later, however, as they had to come from behind to draw 1-1 at Stade Brestois 29, though they trimmed the gap at the summit to two points. Three points further back are Olympique de Marseille after they dug deep to down ES Troyes AC 2-1 and climb into third ahead of AS Saint-Étienne, 4-0 victors against OGC Nice.
"It was not brilliant, it was not glamorous, but we got the points," said FC Bayern München coach Jupp Heynckes after his side were pushed by strugglers TSG 1899 Hoffenheim before coming away with a 1-0 win to maintain a 17-point lead at the top. "We had to roll up our sleeves and we had to do the hard labour," added the coach. Up against FC Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday, Borussia Dortmund tightened their grip on second spot, Robert Lewandowski scoring twice in a commanding 3-1 home win against Hannover 96, while Bayer 04 Leverkusen are one point back in third after triumphing 2-1 to consign VfB Stuttgart to a sixth defeat in eight Bundesliga outings.
Beşiktaş JK overcame Fenerbahçe SK to leapfrog their city rivals into second place and move within five points of Turkish Süper Lig leaders Galatasaray AŞ, who played out a 0-0 draw at Eskişehirspor. Moussa Sow restored parity twice for Fenerbahçe, before Olcay Sahan struck in added time to secure a 3-2 win for the Black Eagles. In the Netherlands, defenders Niklas Moisander and Toby Alderweireld combined to steer second-placed AFC Ajax to a 2-0 success at FC Twente, while PSV Eindhoven prevailed by the same scoreline against VVV-Venlo to maintain their two-point cushion at the Eredivisie peak. Meanwhile, Shakhtar resumed their Ukrainian Premier League campaign by dispatching FC Volyn Lutsk 4-1 on Friday evening.
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