AS Roma, Arsenal FC, FC Barcelona and FC Bayern München consolidated their respective league-leading positions on a weekend when top spot very nearly changed hands in Ligue 1. Roma triumphed again, their win with ten men against Udinese Calcio setting a Serie A record for victories at the start of a season. As for Barça, they came out on top in the season's first Clásico, while Paris Saint-Germain FC came within seconds of a defeat which would have knocked them off their perch in France. UEFA.com recaps the action.
Roma maintained their five-point advantage following a landmark ninth consecutive victory, 1-0 at Udinese Calcio. The Giallorossi were reduced to ten men when Maicon was dismissed with 24 minutes remaining, but prevailed via Michael Bradley's late strike. "When you're a man down, it's important to keep the lines tight and focus on pace and set plays," said Roma coach Rudi Garcia. "You provoke good fortune; it doesn't just come to you." SSC Napoli and Juventus stayed in touch via respective 2-0 home wins against Torino FC and Genoa CFC, while Marco Parolo struck in added time as Parma FC downed AC Milan 3-2.
"The talent players like Neymar and Alexis [Sánchez] have is indisputable. They are players that will help Barça win titles, which is what we all want," said Spain schemer Andrés Iniesta after Barcelona edged Real Madrid CF 2-1 in El Clásico to move six points clear of their third-placed rivals at the summit. "Scoring a goal in such a match is very special, it was like a dream," added Neymar, who struck first at the Camp Nou before Alexis landed the decisive blow. Club Atlético de Madrid also triumphed, 18-year-old midfielder Óliver Torres setting them on their way to a 5-0 success against Real Betis Balompié, and fourth-placed Villarreal CF swept aside Valencia CF 4-1.
Mikel Arteta scored a penalty but was later sent off as Arsenal beat Crystal Palace FC 2-0 to consolidate their two-point lead atop the Premier League. "It was not a game of brilliance but a game of efficiency and patience," said Gunners boss Arsène Wenger. "If you got home and get three points, don't be too demanding: be happy." Elsewhere, Luis Suárez hit a hat-trick as Liverpool FC consigned West Bromwich Albion FC to a 4-1 reverse and Manchester United FC posted a dramatic 3-2 comeback win against Stoke City FC. Second ahead of Liverpool on goal difference, Chelsea FC engineered a 2-1 win against Manchester City FC.
PSG just about kept themselves at the head of Ligue 1 courtesy of Blaise Matuidi's dramatic added-time leveller in a 2-2 draw at AS Saint-Étienne, who led 2-0 before losing Fabien Lemoine to a 59th-minute red card. "We showed we have character and heart," said Matuidi. "The sending-off was a turning point, but last year we wouldn't have fought back like that." The result returned PSG to the summit on goal difference ahead of AS Monaco FC, who downed Olympique Lyonnais 2-1, with LOSC Lille third after prevailing 1-0 at FC Nantes. As for Olympique de Marseille, they suffered a fifth straight reverse in all competitions, 3-2 at home against Stade Rennais FC.
Borussia Dortmund took the honours in the Ruhr derby, prevailing 3-1 at FC Schalke 04. "A derby win is always special, even after all these years," said goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller. "We were well prepared for the game and fought until the last second." Jürgen Klopp's side still trail Bundesliga pacesetters Bayern by a point, however, after the Bavarians came from behind to defeat Hertha BSC Berlin 3-2. In third, Bayer 04 Leverkusen overcame FC Augsburg 2-1 at home, and VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach moved fourth by seeing off Eintracht Frankfurt 4-1.
FC Levadia Tallinn celebrated winning their eighth Estonian title – and first since 2009 – with two games to spare following a 3-0 win against FC Infonet. In Belgium, RSC Anderlecht scored inside a minute against leaders R. Standard de Liège, who had two men sent off, but ultimately had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
Zoran Tošić hit a hat-trick in PFC CSKA Moskva's 5-1 defeat of FC Krasnodar, a scoreline Olympiacos FC replicated against the Greek Super League's bottom club, OFI Crete FC. The big game in Portugal ended with FC Porto defeating Sporting Clube de Portugal 3-1 in the Clássico. The Dragons, five points clear of their second-placed opponents and SL Benfica, are now the only unbeaten side in the Liga.
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