Lionel Messi capped another busy weekend of action across Europe with a hat-trick as FC Barcelona dominated headlines with a superb 4-3 Clásico win at Real Madrid CF. There was intrigue in England too as Chelsea FC swatted aside Arsenal FC 6-0, while FC Bayern München were made to wait to clinch the Bundesliga title and both Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain prevailed. UEFA.com recaps the action.
Barcelona clinched a dramatic 4-3 Clásico win with the help of a Messi treble to put the Liga title race on even more of a knife edge. The win lifted the Catalan side a point off Madrid and Club Atlético de Madrid, who saw off Real Betis Balompié 2-0. "I can hardly talk about Leo but there's no need: it's compliment after compliment," said Barça coach Gerardo Martino. "The league begins again." Meanwhile, opposite number Carlo Ancelotti said: "We didn't deserve this defeat. The league race is still open. We need an immediate reaction." As for Athletic Club, they cemented fourth spot with a 1-0 home win against Getafe CF.
There were goals galore in the Premier League on Saturday, starting with Chelsea's sensational 6-0 dismantling of Arsenal in Arsène Wenger's 1,000th game at the Gunners' helm. "Ten amazing minutes. We came to kill and in ten minutes, we destroyed," said Blues manager José Mourinho. Victory consolidated Chelsea's four-point cushion at the top after nearest rivals Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC flexed their muscles by overpowering Cardiff City AFC (6-3) and Fulham FC (5-0) respectively. In fifth, Tottenham Hotspur FC battled back from 2-0 down to beat Southampton FC 3-2.
Runaway leaders Bayern are three points away from retaining their Bundesliga crown after leaving it late to edge 1. FSV Mainz 2-0. "I'm just pleased about winning today against one of the toughest teams we'll face this season," said Bayern coach Josep Guardiola. "We only need one more win [for the title] now. It's in our own hands." As for Borussia Dortmund – 23 points back in second – they dispatched Hannover 96 3-0 on a day when third-placed FC Schalke 04 posted a 3-1 success against TSV Eintracht Braunschweig. There was more misery for Bayer 04 Leverkusen in fourth, though, as they succumbed 3-2 at home to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
Juventus remain 14 points clear in Serie A after registering a 1-0 win against rock-bottom Calcio Catania. The triumph restored the Bianconeri's advantage over AS Roma, who were 2-0 victors against AC Chievo Verona. "It's another step towards the Scudetto," said Juve coach Antonio Conte. "We have to give credit to Roma, who are also doing something incredible, so we need to keep on our toes as nothing has been decided yet." Fourth-placed ACF Fiorentina defeated third-placed SSC Napoli 1-0, while AC Milan ended a three-game losing sequence with a 1-1 draw at SS Lazio. "I was glad to see this reaction and character from the squad and club," commented Rossoneri coach Clarence Seedorf.
Paris took their Ligue 1 lead into double figures courtesy of a 1-0 victory at FC Lorient, Thiago Motta striking the crucial goal four minutes before half-time. "It was a good game against a Lorient side that are very good at home," the midfielder explained. "We knew that it was going to be difficult on this pitch." AS Monaco FC's fading hopes of denying the capital side the crown then took another hit as they could only draw 1-1 at home to LOSC Lille, whose own position in the top three looks less secure after wins for chasing duo AS Saint-Étienne and Olympique Lyonnais.
Silverware was handed out in Austria as FC Salzburg wrapped up the league title with a record eight games to spare by sweeping aside SC Wiener Neustadt 5-0. There was joy too for KSC Lokeren OV as they won their second Belgian Cup in three years with a 1-0 defeat of SV Zulte Waregem. In Croatia, GNK Dinamo Zagreb moved 11 points clear after halting HNK Hajduk Split's 18-match league unbeaten run via a 2-0 away success, while the big match in Switzerland ended goalless between leaders FC Basel 1893 and FC Zürich. In Russia finally, pacesetters FC Lokomotiv Moskva soared six points clear of FC Zenit, who play on Monday, by seeing off FC Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast 3-0.
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