There were surprises across Europe as top sides suffered against less-heralded opponents.
It was a weekend of surprise results across Europe as a number of league leaders suffered at the hands of less-heralded sides.
Surprise for United
English FA Premiership pacesetters Manchester United FC would have expected few problems ahead their Sunday encounter with second-bottom Derby County FC. However they were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw with John Gregory's side at Pride Park – and were considered fortunate by some observers not to concede an injury-time winner.
Derby forward Malcolm Christie gave the home side the lead after just eight minutes, before United hit back with goals from Paul Scholes and Juan Sebastián Verón. With just 13 minutes remaining, however, Christie made it 2-2 and in the dying seconds, the Derby striker put the ball in the net again after robbing United keeper Fabien Barthez. However, referee Steve Dunn ruled he had kicked the ball out of the French international's hands.
The draw left United top of the league with 58 points, one more than second-placed Arsenal FC who beat Newcastle United FC 2-0 on Saturday and have a game in hand. Liverpool FC, 2-0 victors against Fulham FC, are third with 56 points and Newcastle United fourth with 55.
In Germany, pacesetters Bayer 04 Leverkusen and BV Borussia Dortmund had their 1. Bundesliga title hopes dented by disappointing draws. Leverkusen drew 2-2 at SC Freiburg on Saturday while Dortmund drew 1-1 with lowly FC St. Pauli on Sunday – only rescuing a point thanks to an 83rd-minute penalty equaliser from Marcio Amoroso. Those results enabled FC Bayern München to ominously move closer to the summit with a 2-0 win against VfB Stuttgart.
Santa Cruz and Scholl goals
Roque Santa Cruz and Mehmet Scholl scored the goals as the European champions moved into fourth place ahead of FC Shalke 04, who lost 2-0 at FC Energie Cottbus, and within three points of leaders Leverkusen. Third are 1. FC Kaiserslautern, 3-2 winners against VfL Wolfsburg.
In Italy, Christian Vieri scored the only goal as leaders Internazionale FC beat arch-rivals Milan AC in Sunday’s derby match to hold on to their lead at the top of Serie A. Vieri bundled the ball home after Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati pushed a Nicola Ventola shot into his path. The result leaves Inter top on 52 points, one ahead of second-placed Juventus FC, while AS Roma are third on 50 points. Bologna FC defender Massimo Tarantino's own goal two minutes from time gave Juventus a 2-1 win on Sunday while Roma were another side to stumble as they were held to a 1-1 draw at lowly US Lecce.
Form book holds firm
The form book held firm in Spain as Raúl González struck seven minutes from time to earn Real Madrid CF a 1-0 win against RC Celta de Vigo on Saturday and take Vicente del Bosque's side back to the top of the Primera División. However their tenure at the top was shortlived as, 24 hours later, Valencia CF beat Real Zaragoza 1-0 to regain pole position. Elsewhere, FC Barcelona moved back into the UEFA Champions League places as Patrick Kluivert notched a hat-trick in a 5-1 win over Málaga CF.
Le Championnat leaders RC Lens were another top side to struggle, needing a late Jean-Guy Wallemme penalty against FC Metz to secure a 2-2 draw against the bottom club, FC Metz. Dutch leaders AFC Ajax also needed a late penalty, from Andre Bergdølmo, to secure a point in a 1-1 draw with title rivals Feyenoord, who had taken the lead through Leonardo on 79 minutes. The result left Ajax five points ahead of the Rotterdam club, who moved up to second place, level on points with PSV Eindhoven.
In Turkey, Galatasaray SK's pursuit of the 1.lig title was slowed by a 2-0 defeat at Göztepe on Sunday. Tayfun Yungul put Göztepe ahead after ten minutes and Mustafa Ozkan clinched the win with Göztepe's second in the 72nd minute. Galatasaray are level on points with Besiktas JK, who survived an early scare against struggling Yozgatspor before running out 4-2 winners on Saturday.
The resumption of the Danish Superligaen season also saw a big upset as runaway leaders Brøndby IF lost 4-3 against Odense BK. Andrew Tembo scored a spectacular winner for Odense as Brøndby's lead at the top was cut to nine points. Second-placed FC København could have narrowed the deficit even further but they were held to a goalless draw by lowly AGF Århus.
Sporting throw away lead
Portuguese leaders Sporting Clube de Portugal threw away a two-goal lead against SC Braga on Saturday but still lead the way in the 1. Liga table. Boavista FC could have overtaken Sporting on Sunday but could only manage a goalless draw at home to Vitória Guimarães. FC Porto closed the gap on the top two with a 3-0 victory against SC Salgueiros, with South African striker Benni McCarthy scoring twice.
Olympiakos go top
In Greece, the Athens derby went the way of Panathinaikos FC as they beat Hellenic National League leaders AEK Athens 2-0. Angelos Bassinas put Panathinaikos in front from the penalty spot in the 16th minute and five minutes later Giorgos Karagounis fired home a second after a scramble in the area. The result saw Panathinaikos draw level with AEK on 37 points. However, Olympiakos Piraeus FC took the lead of the division with a 3-0 win against Aigaleo.