There was drama in Spain this weekend as Real Madrid CF came out on top of pile for the first time this season. The Liga tussle nonetheless remains tight, in contrast to the race in the Bundesliga, where FC Bayern München stretched their lead yet again. Chelsea FC, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain maintained their advantages, meanwhile, as UEFA.com recaps.
Madrid lead the way for the first time since they won the Liga title in 2011/12 after dispatching Elche FC 3-0, thanks in part to a spectacular Gareth Bale goal. That took them three points clear on Saturday as FC Barcelona succumbed 3-1 at Real Sociedad de Fútbol. "I'm satisfied because we showed solidarity and didn't give anything away at the back," said Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti. "The overall play could have been better, but at this stage of the season we have to be clinical." Club Atlético de Madrid could have drawn level with their cross-town rivals 24 hours later, but they also suffered a shock defeat, going down 3-0 at CA Osasuna.
The weekend could hardly have gone better for Bayern as they leapt on defeats for their rivals to streak 19 points clear. Second-placed Bayer 04 Leverkusen succumbed to a 3-1 loss at VfL Wolfsburg – their fourth consecutive reverse in all competitions – and Borussia Dortmund lost 3-0 at struggling Hamburger SV. In response, Bayern made light work of Hannover 96, strolling to a 4-0 away victory as Thomas Müller scored twice. "It took a while to find our rhythm, but after the first goal we played very well," commented Bayern coach Josep Guardiola. "We had a chance to extend our lead and the guys did it."
Chelsea remain a point clear at the Premier League summit after John Terry's added-time goal secured a 1-0 home win against Everton FC. "I never thought we would score so late. I hoped we could score before that, but that's when you want it, in the last minute," remarked Chelsea boss José Mourinho. Elsewhere, second-placed Arsenal FC overwhelmed Sunderland AFC 4-1 to stay two points ahead of Manchester City FC, who dug deep to edge Stoke City FC 1-0. On Sunday, Daniel Sturridge found the net for an eighth consecutive Premier League match as Liverpool FC prevailed 4-3 at home to Swansea City AFC.
A Zlatan Ibrahimović hat-trick helped Paris consign Toulouse FC to a 4-2 home loss and maintain their five-point lead over second-placed AS Monaco FC – 3-2 winners against Stade de Reims on Friday. "A five point lead in the table is very important for us," said Paris left-back Maxwell, after Ibrahimović took his tally this term to 44 goals in 42 outings for club and country. "We weren't perfect in every department, but the main thing is the win." In third, LOSC Lille now lie ten points behind Monaco after they could only draw 0-0 against Olympique Lyonnais, with fourth-placed AS Saint-Étienne triumphing 2-0 at SC Bastia.
Juventus remain nine points clear in Serie A after securing a 1-0 derby win against Torino FC, Carlos Tévez making the difference with a fine effort. "It was a great goal – I saw I had a bit of space when the ball came to me, turned well and made a good connection," said the Argentinian forward. "We contained Torino well in the final stages and held on to clinch a great victory." Roma made sure they did not slip further off the pace by prevailing 1-0 at Bologna FC, while fifth-placed FC Internazionale Milano drew 1-1 at home to Cagliari Calcio and city rivals AC Milan triumphed 2-0 at UC Sampdoria – their first back-to-back league successes this season.
FC Porto slipped to their first home Liga loss since October 2008 when Evandro struck from the spot to earn Estoril Praia an eye-catching 1-0 win. The Dragons slipped behind Sporting Clube de Portugal into third in the process, four points behind pacesetters SL Benfica, who are in action on Monday. In the Netherlands, meanwhile, second-placed FC Twente drew their high-profile meeting with Feyenoord 2-2 and now trail AFC Ajax by six points. There was a much-anticipated encounter in Turkey too, where Galatasaray AŞ overcame Beşiktaş JK 1-0 to jump ahead of their Istanbul neighbours into second, three points shy of Fenerbahçe SK. In Poland, finally, top dogs Legia Warszawa defeated old rivals Górnik Zabrze 3-0.
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