Weekend Developments From Europe's Top Comps
Real Madrid cut Barcelona’s lead in Spain, AC Milan and Inter both missed big opportunities, Dortmund stumbled while Arsenal’s woes worsened in another eventful weekend in Europe.>
Spanish La Liga
FC Barcelona’s lead at the summit was cut back to five points this weekend after the champions were held to a 1-1 draw at FC Sevilla. Bojan Krkic had given Barca the lead but Jesus Navas levelled for midtable Sevilla. Real Madrid closed the gap with the in-form Karim Benzema hitting a brace in their 2-0 win over Hercules.
Meanwhile, third-placed Valencia were stunned 4-0 by improving Real Zaragoza to cap a poor week for Los Che who bowed out of the UEFA Champions League in midweek. Villarreal failed to capitalise, though, after conceding late to draw 1-1 with nine-man Gijon.
Manuel Pellegrini’s bottom-placed Malaga claimed an important 2-0 win at Real Sociedad, the result moving them level on points with Almeria and Hercules. Zaragoza’s win over Valencia moves them up to 15th, while Osasuna move well clear up to 12th with their 3-1 win over Santander.
Italian Serie A
It was a weekend of draws for Italy’s top two, as AC Milan missed the chance to put a significant buffer between them and second-placed Inter Milan. AC Milan needed a late Antonio Cassano goal to rescue a 1-1 home draw with bottom-club Bari on Sunday. This came after Inter had drawn 1-1 with 19th-placed Brescia on Friday.
Third-placed Napoli kept up the pressure on the top two with a 3-1 away win against Parma. Udinese moved into the Champions League spots with a barnstorming 4-0 win at Cagliari, with Alexis Sanchez and Antonio Di Natale among the goals. AS Roma beat Lazio 2-0 in the derby in the capital.
Struggling trio Cesena, Brescia and Bari all claimed handy draws this weekend against stronger opponents over the course of the weekend. Cesena came from 2-0 down to draw with Juventus. Sampdoria slipped down to 15th after their third straight defeat as Catania eased their relegation fears with a 1-0 win.
English FA Cup
Quarter final results
Manchester United ended a poor run of results with a 2-0 win over Arsenal which extends their poor recent run as they’ve bowed out of the Carling Cup, UEFA Champions League and FA Cup in the past two weeks.
Semi final draw
The two biggest clubs remaining have drawn each other for the semi-finals at Wembley. It will be a Manchester derby in London, while midtable Premiership duo Bolton and Stoke City have the opportunity of a rare final appearance.
Leaders Dortmund slipped to only their third defeat of the campaign on Saturday when they went down 1-0 to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. Second-placed Leverkusen closed the gap to nine points with their 1-0 win over FSV Mainz thanks to Renato Augusto’s late goal.
Bayern Munich’s Champions League aspirations received a boost after Hannover 96 slumped to a stunning 4-0 loss at FC Koln on Friday. Bayern proceeded to thrash Hamburg SV 6-0 on Saturday with Arjen Robben scoring a hat-trick.
2007 German champions VfB Stuttgart were the big movers this weekend up to 13th after their 2-1 win over out-of-sorts St Pauli condemned the Hamburg side to their fourth consecutive defeat. Eintracht Frankfurt’s winless run extended to nine games following a 2-1 loss to Schalke 04 which saw them slip into the bottom three.
Random League: Greek Super League
Olympiacos’ title celebrations were delayed this weekend after, firstly, Panathinaikos defeated Iraklis 3-1 on Saturday. Olympiacos could’ve clinched the title on Sunday, but lost 2-1 at PAOK meaning they’ll have to wait.
There are four rounds of games left in the Greek season, meaning Olympiacos can officially lay claim to the title next weekend when they host rivals AEK Athens.
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