There was drama and fireworks aplenty in several of Europe's title races this weekend, with the quest for glory intensifying in Spain after draws for the leading duo allowed Real Madrid CF to close the gap. Samuel Eto'o caught the eye in England with a hat-trick for Chelsea FC against Manchester United FC, while Paris Saint-Germain hit five goals in France and Juventus triumphed again. UEFA.com recaps the action.
Neither FC Barcelona nor Club Atlético de Madrid could grab the initiative at the top of the Liga as the leading duo both dropped points on Sunday. Barça were held 1-1 at Levente UD, but Diego Simeone's side were unable to make the most as they recorded the same result against Sevilla FC in the Spanish capital. Meanwhile, Madrid powered five unanswered goals past bottom club Real Betis Balompié – who dismissed coach Juan Carlos Garrido – to end the weekend a point behind the Liga frontrunners. "We know that we have to keep fighting, working hard and winning matches," said Madrid defender Marcelo. "We're doing well, but we know we cannot relax."
Chelsea remain in the hunt for the Premier League title after Samuel Eto'o scored a hat-trick in their 3-1 victory against Manchester United on Sunday. Manager José Mourinho was left wanting more, however, saying: "We want to improve. I want better and I want us to control games from the beginning." The Blues remain two points behind leaders Arsenal FC, who overcame Fulham FC 2-0 thanks to Santi Cazorla's second-half double. A point back in second, Manchester City FC swept past a century of goals in all competitions this term by downing Cardiff City FC 4-2, and Liverpool FC drew 2-2 with Aston Villa FC.
Juventus and AS Roma both won on Saturday to maintain the status quo at the Serie A summit. After the Giallorossi dispatched AS Livorno Calcio 3-0, Antonio Conte's leaders responded by seeing off UC Sampdoria 4-2 and remain eight points clear of their closest pursuers. "Roma are enjoying a good campaign, but we're a strong team and never give in. We want to win every competition we're in this season and will aim for the treble," said Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, who weighed in with two goals. Among the chasing pack, SSC Napoli were held 2-2 at Bologna FC, allowing ACF Fiorentina to close on third spot with a 3-0 defeat of Calcio Catania.
Paris won in spectacular style to remain five points clear in Ligue 1, blowing FC Nantes away 5-0 at the Parc des Princes. "I think [Paris] are one of the strongest teams in many years," said Nantes coach Michel Der Zakarian. "Individually and collectively, they have control. Our players were slaughtered." Behind Paris, AS Monaco FC are the closest challengers following their 2-0 success at Toulouse FC, LOSC Lille in third having succumbed 2-0 at fourth-placed AS Saint-Étienne on Friday. Elsewhere, FC Girondins de Bordeaux's hopes of a European berth were dented in a 2-0 loss at SC Bastia, and Olympique Lyonnais beat Stade de Reims by the same scoreline.
SL Benfica continue to lead the way in Portugal after defeating CS Marítimo 2-0 to retain their two-point advantage over Sporting Clube de Portugal, who edged FC Arouca 2-1. In the Netherlands, AFC Ajax saw off PSV Eindhoven 1-0 to remain locked together at the Eredivisie summit alongside Vitesse, who were 2-1 victors at PEC Zwolle. As for R. Standard de Liège, they stand seven points clear in Belgium after their 2-0 success against KV Oostende was followed up by a 2-1 loss for second-placed RSC Anderlecht at KV Mechelen, while Olympiacos FC extended their advantage in Greece to 11 points, beating Levadiakos FC 2-0 as nearest challengers PAOK FC lost 2-0 at Panionios GSS.
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