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Europe Weekend Review: Only One Title Race Left And That Is In France

Newly-named Paris St Germain soccer coach Ancelotti and sport director Leonardo pose with a club shirt during a news conference at Parc des Princes stadium in ParisWe have barely passed the middle of March and already the title races in Spain, England, Italy and Germany are all over. The only major league in Europe that still has a competitive title race is in France where Paris Saint-Germain only have a five point gap.

Here is a look at this weekend’s action across Europe:

France
PSG increased their Ligue 1 cushion by one point to five, but it should be seven as PSG let a two-goal lead slip against Saint-Étienne and ended up drawing 2-2 with the side in fourth. PSG lead increased because second-placed Olympique Lyonnais suffered a shock 4-1 loss to Bastia, while Olympique de Marseille, two points further back than Lyon, were held to a goalless draw at home against Ajaccio.

Champions League

Malaga Move Into Quarter Finals Of Champions League

champions_leagueMalaga’s European run continued into the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League after Manuel Pellegrini’s men overcame a one goal first leg deficit to beat ten-man Porto at La Rosaleda 2-0, winning 2-1 on aggregate.

Isco’s wonderful opener minutes before the break gave the home side the lead to cancel out Joao Moutinho’s first leg goal before substitute Roque Santa Cruz scored just four minutes after coming on to seal a famous win. With a four-year European ban hanging over them, this year’s competition is all the more important for the Spaniards, who ramped up the pressure after Steven Defour saw red four minutes into the second half.

Champions League

Galatasaray Stun Schalke In Champions League

Gala_FansGalatasaray reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League after edging out valiant Schalke at the Veltins-Arena 3-2, advancing 4-3 on aggregate.

Despite taking an early lead through Roman Neustadter, the German side were ultimately undone by strikes from Hamit Altintop and Burak Yilmaz just before the break. Although Michel Bastos leveled just after the hour, Schalke still needed another as Gala had scored more away goals and their all-out attack left them vulnerable at the back, with the Turkish outfit making sure of their progress thanks to Umut Bulut’s injury-time effort.

Premier League

Gareth Bale Shows Why He Is The Best Player In The Premier League

GARETH BALE SUPRS V SPORTING LISBON :RED BULL STADIUM JERSEY NY.PUBLISHED  IN FIRST TOUCH MAGAZINEGareth Bale fired Tottenham into third place in the Premier League as his brilliant last minute goal capped a majestic performance in a 3-2 win over West Ham at Upton Park on Monday.

Bale has been in the form of his life in recent weeks and the Wales winger added another chapter to his growing legend with a brilliant brace that would surely have been appreciated by Hammers legend Bobby Moore, whose death 20 years ago was marked by a moving pre-match tribute.

Premier League

Man City Gets By Chelsea While Newcastle Beat Southampton

Britain Soccer Premier LeagueManchester City galvanised their grip on second place in the Premier League and trimmed Manchester United’s lead back to 12 points with a 2-0 victory at home to nearest rivals Chelsea. After Chelsea’s Frank Lampard had seen a penalty saved by England colleague Joe Hart, City prevailed through a pair of fine second-half goals from man-of-the-match Yaya Toure and substitute Carlos Tevez.

Although City’s chances of retaining their league title remain decidedly slender, they now have a seven-point advantage over Chelsea, who could slip to fourth if Tottenham Hotspur overcome West Ham United on Monday. Both City manager Roberto Mancini and his Chelsea counterpart Rafael Benitez flooded their sides with midfielders at the Etihad Stadium, while Benitez opted to leave John Terry and Fernando Torres on the bench.

Bundesliga

Bayern Thrash Bremen While Hanover Beat Hamburg

Bundesliga-LogoBayern Munich rested half a dozen stars but still romped to a 6-1 win at home to ten-man Werder Bremen on Saturday to go 18 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga. Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes celebrated his 1000th Bundesliga game as a player and coach by making six changes from the team that won 3-1 at Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

Munich were ahead after 25 minutes when Arjen Robben won the race with Franck Ribery to convert Philipp Lahm’s cross for the opener. The next goal came just four minutes later when Robben’s free-kick was headed home by Javi Martinez. To make matters worse for Bremen, centre-back Sebastian Proedl was shown a straight red card for bringing down Gomez, who was through on goal, a minute before the break.

Arsenal, Man Utd., Premier League

Man United Go 15 Points Clear At Top Of Premier League

ryan-giggs-trophyManchester United moved 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 2-0 win over bottom side QPR at Loftus Road. Brazilian full-back Rafael put United ahead with a powerful drive on 23 minutes after his compatriot Julio Cesar had saved from Robin van Persie.

United lost top scorer Van Persie with a hip injury but Ryan Giggs made sure of victory with a good strike ten minutes from time and then hit the bar soon after.

Champions League

Schalke Get Draw At Galatasaray

champions_leagueAmerican midfielder Jermaine Jones’ goal in the last minute of the first half gave Schalke a valuable away goal and made them slight favorites to advance to the Champions League quarter-finals.

It was not all good new for Jones though, as he also picked up a silly yellow card, and will now be suspended to the second leg in Germany.

Burak Yilmaz had earlier put Gala in front with a piece of individual brilliance but they could not extend their lead in a terrific first-half in which both teams squandered several good chances to score.

AC Milan, Barcelona, Champions League, La Liga, Serie A

Allegri Happy With Berlusconi Tactical Input

allegriAC Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri says that he has received the input of club president Silvio Berlusconi on his tactics ahead of today’s Champions League round of 16 clash with Barcelona.

“I have sat down and talked to the president about the game,” said Allegri. “As always, he put forward his ideas and thoughts, which are sometimes brilliant and well thought out, and they are well received.

However, Allegri insists that he very much has the final say as far as team selection and tactics are concerned.

FA Cup

Wigan Advance In FA Cup While Brentford’s Dream Ends

chelsea-fa-cup-winnersChelsea avoided becoming the latest victims of the FA Cup’s spate of giant-killings as the holders eased into the fifth round with a 4-0 win over League One minnows Brentford on Sunday. Chelsea, who have won the Cup four times in the last six seasons, will travel to Championship side Middlesbrough for their delayed fifth round tie on 27 February.