The title picture remains thrillingly blurred in England and Spain after wins for the top three in both countries left Liverpool FC and Club Atlético de Madrid still holding narrow leads. The two clubs are hoping to match Bundesliga top dogs FC Bayern München and be crowned champions, though the weekend brought a first league loss this season for Josep Guardiola's men, along with another victory for Paris Saint-Germain and a triumph for Serie A challengers AS Roma.
A pair of Steven Gerrard penalties ensured Liverpool ended the weekend two points clear at the head of the Premier League as the Reds defeated West Ham United FC 2-1. The result lifted them back in front of Chelsea FC, who defeated Stoke City FC 3-0, with Manchester City FC four points off the top – but boasting two games in hand – after beating Southampton FC 4-1. "Maybe we had a low performance in February," said City coach Manuel Pellegrini. "Now the team has come back. The way we have played in the last month is important." Meanwhile, Everton FC boosted their hopes of earning UEFA Champions League football by defeating Arsenal FC 3-0 to move a point behind the Gunners, having played one game less.
Three points still separate the Liga's leading trio after all recorded victories on Saturday, meaning Atlético continue to lead the way. A 1-0 home success against Villarreal CF ensured the Rojiblancos remain a point clear of FC Barcelona, 3-1 victors against Real Betis Balompié at the Camp Nou. "We are taking it one game at a time," said Atlético goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. "We are going to suffer as we are reaching the final few weeks but we have to keep going." As for Real Madrid CF, they lie two points back from the Blaugrana following a 4-0 win at Real Sociedad de Fútbol. "This victory strengthens us and the team," commented Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti. "We will fight until the last game."
Bayern suffered a first defeat in an incredible 54 Bundesliga outings as they went down 1-0 at FC Augsburg. "You can't win them all in football," explained coach Josep Guardiola afterwards. "We have to accept the defeat and start to prepare for our final against Manchester [United FC] on Wednesday. It's a true final – a matter of life or death." Second-placed Borussia Dortmund prevailed 2-1 at home to VFL Wolfsburg, putting more ground between themselves and FC Schalke 04 in third, with the Königsblauen drawing 1-1 at SV Werder Bremen. Lastly, fifth-ranked Bayer 04 Leverkusen dismissed coach Sami Hyypiä following Friday's 2-1 defeat at Hamburger SV.
Roma closed within five points of Serie A pacesetters Juventus by defeating Cagliari Calcio 3-1 courtesy of a Mattia Destro hat-trick. "The objective is for the team to win every Sunday and hopefully to also score a goal," said the 23-year-old forward. "We are fighting to the very end and will continue along our path." Juve have the chance to restore their eight-point advantage when they host AS Livorno Calcio on Monday, while SSC Napoli in third lost 1-0 at Parma FC. ACF Fiorentina are firmly established in fourth following their 2-1 home win against Udinese Calcio, and SS Lazio closed on fifth-placed FC Internazionale Milano with a 2-0 success against UC Sampdoria.
Paris made light of the absence of Ligue 1 top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimović to close in on the title with a 3-0 win against Stade de Reims. "We needed to take all three points to get a little closer to our goal and we did that, so obviously it's very positive," said midfielder Adrien Rabiot. That leaves the capital club 13 points ahead of AS Monaco FC, who ran out 3-1 winners against FC Nantes. Six points back, LOSC Lille strengthened their hold on third by prevailing 2-1 at Toulouse FC to move five points clear of AS Saint-Étienne, with Les Verts held 1-1 at home by OGC Nice. Meanwhile, André Ayew scored a hat-trick in Olympique de Marseille's 3-1 victory against AC Ajaccio.
AFC Ajax spurned the chance to sew up their fourth consecutive Eredivisie title in a 1-1 draw at fourth-placed Vitesse. Instead, nearest rivals Feyenoord downed RKC Waalwijk 2-0 to shrink the gap at the top to six points with three games remaining. There was drama in Denmark too as Aalborg BK edged a 3-2 thriller at FC Midtjylland to jump a point ahead of their opponents at the summit, while FC Zenit swept aside FC Rubin Kazan 6-2 to take over in Russia from FC Lokomotiv Moskva, who play on Monday. In Switzerland, second-placed Grasshopper Club saw off FC Zürich 2-0 to move within a point of pacesetters FC Basel 1893, and Galatasaray AŞ downed runaway Turkish Super League leaders Fenerbahçe SK 1-0.
©UEFA.com 1998-2015. All rights reserved.