Instead of moving nine points clear at the top of Serie A, AC Milan had their lead whittled down to three following a home loss to ARoma and last-gasp wins for Napoli and Lazio, who are second and third respectively.
Cristián Zapata’s own goal proved decisive as Lazio overcame Udinese Calcio 3-2, while Edinson Cavani turned Father Christmas by delivering Napoli’s added-time winner against Lecce. “We were born to suffer and never give up,” mused coach Walter Mazzarri. Cavani added: “We kept going, missed chances but broke through in the end. Now we can all go home happy with a lovely Christmas present.”
After scoring 36 goals this weekend, Bundesliga clubs will consider their winter break thoroughly deserved, not least Dortmund, even if they failed to score as their seven-match winning streak was ended by Eintracht Frankfurt.
Theofanis Gekas’ late effort took him atop the scorers’ charts with 14 strikes, one ahead of Papiss Demba Cissé, whose side, Freiburg, denied Bayern Leverkusen second place by forcing a 2-2 draw on Sunday.
Other strikers signing off in style were Raul, who hit all three of Schalke’s goals against Cologne, and Mario Gomez, whose third hat-trick in two months helped Bayern Munich to a 5-3 victory against Stuttgart, who will be without Timo Gebhart when the teams meet in the German Cup on Wednesday after he damaged ankle ligaments.
Like Paris-Saint-Germain F24 hours previous, Lyon squandered the chance to move top of Ligue 1 on Sunday after being held atMarseille. Lyon were denied the league lead when Mathieu Valbuena cancelled out Lisandro’s opener in a 1-1 draw, while PSG were pegged back to 2-2 by Daniel Niculae’s late leveller for Monaco.
So, Lille stay at the summit as their game with Nancy was postponed due to bad weather.
Just as it seemed Barcelona would end the year with a four-point advantage over Real Madrid, up popped Ángel Di María against Sevilla to keep José Mourinho’s team tucked in behind the Liga leaders.
The 1-0 victory, achieved with ten men after Ricardo Carvalho was sent off, came 24 hours after Barcelona had overwhelmed city rivals RCD Espanyol 5-1 – their tenth successive league victory.
Elsewhere, Villarreal consolidated third spot by triumphing 3-1 over Mallorca and Valencia leapfrogged Espanyol into fourth after beating Real Sociedad 2-1.
Sunderland were the main movers on a weekend when all but two Premier League matches succumbed to the wintry weather sweeping the United Kingdom. Danny Welbeck headed in the only goal, his fifth in six matches, as Steve Bruce’s team maintained their unbeaten home record in the league with a 1-0 victory against Bolton Wanderers.
That lifted the north-east club above their opponents into sixth and five points ahead of managerless Blackburn Rovers, who drew 1-1 with bottom-of-the-table West Ham United at Ewood Park.