Juventus stand a solitary point away from retaining their Serie A title after a weekend of games in which Paris Saint-Germain FC maintained their nine-point lead in France and FC Shakhtar Donetsk sewed up the Ukrainian title. The finish line remains in sight for FC Barcelona as well despite a draw on Saturday, while German champions FC Bayern München established a new points record in the Bundesliga. UEFA.com recaps the action.
Juventus are within a point of securing a second straight Serie A title after easing past Torino FC 2-0 to maintain their 11-point cushion at the summit with four games remaining. "No stone was left unturned in our preparations for this afternoon's game," said Juve coach Antonio Conte. "Compliments to Torino: it wasn't easy to win today, but we managed to score two incredibly important goals." Closest pursuers SSC Napoli posted a 3-0 victory at Pescara Calcio 24 hours earlier, while third-placed AC Milan defeated Calcio Catania 4-2 to stay clear of ACF Fiorentina, who overwhelmed UC Sampdoria 3-0,
"We all share one goal. We want to win trophies. We're marching on together. We have a strong bench and there's no resentment," said Bayern defender Daniel Van Buyten after making a rare start as the champions edged SC Freiburg 1-0 to win their 14th consecutive Bundesliga game and set a new top-flight record of 84 points. Twenty adrift, Borussia Dortmund maintained their recent momentum courtesy of a 2-1 success against Fortuna Düsseldorf. Elsewhere, Bayer 04 Leverkusen consigned SV Werder Bremen to a 1-0 reverse to remain seven points clear of fourth-placed FC Schalke 04, who had a Klaas-Jan Huntelaar hat-trick to thank for beating Hamburger SV 4-1.
PSG did things the hard way as they ended with nine-men in a 1-0 success against Évian Thonon Gaillard FC that maintained their nine-point advantage at the top. Olympique de Marseille, in second, kept up their pursuit with a 1-0 win at FC Lorient, while Olympique Lyonnais maintained their two-point advantage over AS Saint-Étienne in the race for the third UEFA Champions League spot as the Derby du Rhône duo drew 1-1. "We are still in the race," said St-Étienne coach Christophe Galtier. "We realise that it's not easy for anyone. The key is to believe and play with a lot of pleasure and conviction. Seasons like this one do not occur often for St-Étienne."
Lionel Messi produced a stellar cameo, yet Liga leaders Barcelona conceded a last-minute equaliser to draw 2-2 at Athletic Club. "The result leaves a bad taste in our mouths, but we're not worried about it because of the hard work we put in," said forward Alexis Sánchez. "We know what it means to have Messi on the pitch and it doesn't surprise us when he comes on and changes the game." As for Real Madrid CF, they came from behind to defeat Club Atlético de Madrid 2-1 at the Vicente Calderón and stride six points clear of their capital rivals, who remain third. Real Sociedad de Fútbol had plenty of reasons to be pleased as well, downing Valencia CF 4-2 to strengthen their grip on fourth.
There were further twists in the race for UEFA Champions League spots as Chelsea FC returned to third place by downing Swansea City AFC 2-0, on a weekend when Arsenal FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC both drew. "We have to go to the last game, so we have to do our job, win our games, manage the squad and if we can play the attacking football we did especially in the second half, I think we will be OK," commented Blues manager Rafael Benítez. Fourth-placed Arsenal were held 1-1 at home after former striker Robin van Persie buried a penalty for champions Manchester United FC, while Spurs drew 2-2 at Wigan Athletic FC. At the bottom, Queens Park Rangers FC and Reading FC were relegated following a goalless draw.
Silverware was settled in Ukraine, Cyprus and Albania as FC Shakhtar Donetsk, APOEL FC and KS Skënderbeu all confirmed their league crowns. Shakhtar secured a fourth straight title as a 1-1 draw with FC Metalist Kharkiv left them out of reach, while APOEL profited from Anorthosis Famagusta FC's 4-0 loss to AC Omonia and Skënderbeu beat KS Kastrioti 2-0. As for PFC CSKA Moskva, they still lead in Russia despite a 2-0 defeat at FC Rubin Kazan, with FC Zenit St Petersburg unable to take full advantage, drawing 2-2 at FC Kuban Krasnodar. ŠK Slovan Bratislava asserted their dominance in Slovakia, meanwhile, defeating second-placed FK Senica 3-2 to stretch the gap to nine points.
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