Juventus FC triumphed in the 'derby d'Italia' against Internazionale FC to take an important step towards retaining the Serie A title while Real Madrid CF also had a significant weekend in Spain.
There could not have been more at stake in Turin as Juventus and Inter met for the 171st time, with the teams level on points at the summit of the table. But Juventus had the perfect start on four minutes when Inter player Guly deflected the ball into his own net from Francesco Toldo's punch, Pavel Nedved then doubled the lead before Mauro Camoranesi confirmed the victory seven minutes from time.
Third-placed AC Milan could have ended the weekend in second ahead of Inter, but instead were grateful to come back from 3-0 behind to draw 3-3 with Atalanta BC. Paolo Maldini's first-minute own goal and Rivaldo's penalty miss were made up for by Filippo Inzaghi's match-saving double. S.S. Lazio continue to slip behind the top three after being held 2-2 at AC Perugia, but AS Roma remain on a roll after beating Valencia CF 3-0 in the UEFA Champions League as they overcame Empoli FC 3-1.
Real monopoly ends
Madrid finally ended a weekend ahead of former leaders Real Sociedad in an increasingly tight race for the Primera División title. Madrid eased past Deportivo Alavés 5-1 to go top for the second Saturday running. But unlike last week, Real were unable to regain the lead the next day as they lost 3-0 to Real Valladolid, all the goals coming in the first 20 minutes. Madrid are a point ahead of Real and two in front of Valencia, who were held 1-1 by RC Celta de Vigo. RC Deportivo La Coruña beat Real Racing Club Santander and are a point behind Valencia.
Arsenal are now eight points clear at the top of the English Premiership thanks to a 2-0 win against Charlton Athletic FC. Francis Jeffers and Robert Pires scored in the first half to extend the gap to Manchester United FC, with third-placed Newcastle United FC overcoming Chelsea FC 2-1. Everton FC edged ahead of Chelsea FC into fourth with a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough FC, while Liverpool claimed the season’s first major domestic trophy on Sunday as they beat United 2-0 in the League Cup final to secure a UEFA Cup place for next season.
Monaco returned to the top of France's Ligue 1 with a 3-1 win at Lille OSC. A goal from Ludovic Giuly was added to by two late Shabani Nonda efforts to move Monaco ahead of Olympique de Marseille on goal difference, the former leaders held 0-0 by RC Strasbourg. Defending champions Olympique Lyonnais won 2-1 at AJ Auxerre to consolidate third place, four points off the lead.
FC Bayern München remain ten points clear in the German 1. Bundesliga as Michael Ballack scored a goal in each half to beat FC Energie Cottbus 2-0. Defending title-holders BV Borussia Dortmund kept up their challenge by overcoming FC Hansa Rostock 2-0, while VfB Stuttgart won 1-0 against DSC Arminia Bielefeld to consolidate third place and Bayer 04 Leverkusen's recovery under Thomas Horster continued as they beat fifth-placed SV Werder Bremen 3-0.
Besiktas JK continued to mark their centenary in style as they beat Göztepe 7-3 to extend their unbeaten start to the Turkish Super League season to 21 matches. Seven different players scored for Besiktas, with Kaan Dobra putting the leaders 2-0 up - and then pulling one back with an own goal.
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