FC Internazionale Milano and Olympique Lyonnais continue to look down on the rest in Italy and France after weekend victories, the Nerazzurri claiming a derby win against AC Milan on Sunday. FC Barcelona's advantage was cut to ten points after a 2-2 draw at Real Betis Balompié, while there was a change at the top in Germany, Hertha BSC Berlin overtaking TSG 1899 Hoffenheim after beating FC Bayern München. The FA Cup fifth round took precedence in England with Guus Hiddink's Chelsea FC and Manchester United FC among the sides through to the last eight. Elsewhere...
Portugal: Porto leave it late
FC Porto continue to hold sway in the Liga yet they were made to work hard for Sunday's 3-1 win at home to Rio Ave FC, and needed two Ernesto Farías efforts in the last three minutes to swing the match in their favour. Those strikes proved crucial too, with SL Benfica edging FC Paços de Ferreira 3-2 to stay a point behind and Sporting Clube de Portugal and Leixões SC are not out of the title race either after posting victories on Saturday, seeing off CF Os Belenenses and SC Braga respectively to leave themselves within four points of Porto.
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Netherlands: AZ streak over
AZ Alkmaar's eleven-match winning run finally came to an end as the runaway Eredivisie leaders were held 2-2 at defending champions PSV Eindhoven. Louis van Gaal's men looked set for victory No12 after Gill Swerts and Maarten Martens had given them a comfortable cushion by 29 minutes, but former AZ striker Danny Koevermans secured a share of the spoils with two second-half efforts. PSV remain fourth, six points behind second-placed FC Twente, who closed the gap at the top to nine points by seeing off FC Volendam 2-1. Third-placed AFC Ajax defeated Feyenoord 2-0 in Amsterdam.
Turkey: Fenerbahçe imperious
The weekend belonged to Fenerbahçe SK, who rekindled their Süper Lig title hopes with a 7-0 thrashing of bottom side Hacettepe SK on Saturday. Alex scored a hat-trick, Semih Şentürk two and Lugano and Deivid one apiece as Fenerbahçe ended their three-game winless run. Victory took the Istanbul giants level on 37 points, with third-placed Galatasaray AŞ – surprising 1-0 losers at Antalyaspor – and just five behind joint leaders Sivasspor and Trabzonspor, who were both held on Sunday. Sivasspor drew 1-1 at Bursaspor while Trabzonspor, who trail on goal difference, posted the same scoreline at fifth-placed Beşiktaş JK.
Greece: Olympiacos stroll on
Olympiacos CFP continue to bear down on their fifth straight Super League crown after recording their eighth successive victory on Saturday, beating visitors Aris Thessaloniki FC 2-1. Predrag Djordjević and Luciano Galletti were both on target for the leaders, with Aris reduced to ten men after Vitolo's second-half dismissal, and the result keeps Olympiacos 14 points clear of PAOK FC. The Salonika side triumphed 3-0 at Levadiakos FC on Saturday and held on to their position as Panathinaikos FC could only draw 0-0 at Iraklis FC the following day.
Scotland: Old Firm stalemate
There was no disputing the big match in Scotland this weekend as Old Firm rivals Celtic FC and Rangers FC locked horns in Glasgow. Hosts Celtic went into the match two points clear of their opponents at the Premier League summit and threatened to extend that advantage when Scott McDonald headed wide from close range in the opening half, but it was the visitors who dominated the second period, with Bhoys goalkeeper Artur Boruc tested twice. A massive 13 points behind Rangers, Heart of Midlothian FC leapfrogged Dundee United FC into third by seeing off Aberdeen FC 2-1, with Dundee United drawing 1-1 with bottom side Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC.
Belgium: Standard keep winning
R. Standard de Liège continued their excellent run as they made AFC Tubize their seventh successive victims in a 4-0 win. The titleholders were unable to extend the gap at the summit beyond two points, though, as RSC Anderlecht also triumphed, 1-0 at R. Charleroi SC. The capital outfit also enjoy a game in hand over Standard, and it is starting to resemble a two-horse race in Belgium as third-placed Club Brugge KV lost 2-0 at home to KRC Genk, a result that left the Bruges side nine points off the pace.
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