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European Weekend Review – Feb 6

It was a record breaking weekend in Spain as Barcelona set a new unbeaten record in Liga winning streak. Over in Italy the Serie A title race got closer as both Inter and Napoli closed the gap on leaders AC Milan.

Barcelona set another fabulous benchmark on Saturday as their 3-0 home win against Atletico Madrid established a new Liga record of 16 consecutive victories. Not for the first time, Lionel Messi was at the heart of the action, scoring all three goals to make it 40 goals in all competitions this term. Barca’s nearest rivals Real Madrid replied with a 4-1 defeat of Real Sociedad as Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice, while third-placed Villarreal were shocked 1-0 at home by third-bottom Levante.

A total of 41 goals were scored in the Premier League on Saturday, the most on a single day since the division was reduced to 20 sides. Eight of those goals came at Newcastle, where Arsenal threw away a 4 goal lead to draw 4-4. Leaders Manchester United failed to profit, though, as their unbeaten run was ended in a 2-1 loss at Wolves. There was also defeat for Fernando Torres and Chelsea against the striker’s old employers Liverpool. Liverpool are now up to sixth in the Premier League, six points back of Chelsea for the fourth Champions League place.

It was a disappointing weekend for Milan, whose second successive draw, 1-1 at Genoa, ensured their Serie A lead was reduced to three points after Napoli beat Cesena 2-0. Milan’s city rivals Inter beat Roma 5-3 and are now five points back of the leaders and they have a game in hand. Elsewhere, Antonio Di Natale notched his 100th Serie A goal for Udinese in a 2-0 home victory against Sampdoria, and Juventus recorded a much-needed 3-1 triumph at Cagliari.

What began as a potentially frustrating weekend for frontrunners Borussia Dortmund eventually became yet another good one, as rivals Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich both lost. Both had hoped to pounce on Dortmund’s goalless draw with Schalke 04 on Friday, yet while Leverkusen lost 1-0 at Nurnberg, champions Bayern surrendered a 2-0 lead on their way to losing 3-2 at third-bottom Koln. In 17th place, Stuttgart completed a similar comeback as they won 3-2 at bottom club Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Lille experienced a wide range of emotions over the weekend, beginning when closest rivals Paris Saint-Germain lost 1-0 at Rennes on Saturday. That result, which also lifted Rennes level with PSG, gave Lille a chance to move seven points clear on Sunday, but they could only draw 1-1 at Auxerre to leave then 5 points clear. In fourth, Marseille beat bottom place Arles-Avignon 1-0.

Celtic and Rangers played out an enthralling 2-2 draw in their Scottish Cup fifth-round tie on Sunday, with both sides having a player sent off in a result that means the Glasgow giants will need to meet again – and seven times in all competitions this season – to determine a winner.