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Milan Beat Juve, Rafa Returns And Real Madrid Loses Again

Another interesting week of football across Europe as the title races in England and Italy took another turn, while the race in Spain appears to be between Barcelona and a team from Madrid. But this time its Atlético and not Real that are Barca’s biggest challengers.

Italy
AC Milan picked up an important victory and did their city rivals Inter a favour by beating Juventus 1-0 at the San Siro.

A Robinho penalty in the 31st minute decided the game in the Rossoneri’s favour as Juve were beaten for only the second time this season. Juve could have gone seven points clear with a win, but remain just four ahead of Fiorentina in second and Inter in third.

Fiorentina are four points behind because their five-game Serie A winning streak came to a halt with a 2-2 draw at Torino, while Roma beat Pescara 1-0 to go fifth.

England
Manchester United returned to the top of the Premier League summit with a 3-1 comeback victory against Queens Park Rangers, as new QPR boss Harry Redknapp watched from the stands.

Rafa Benitez’s appearance on the Chelsea touchline was met with a chorus of boos from the Stamford Bridge faithful. But at least Rafa did not lose, as Chelsea and Manchester City finished 0-0.

The draw however kept Chelsea in fourth place, one point behind West Brom, whose remarkable run under Steve Clark continues as they won 4-2 at Sunderland to stay four points behind leaders United.

Spain
Lionel Messi struck twice as Barcelona won 4-0 at Levante on Sunday to remain three points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga.

Messi’s goals were both laid on by Andres Iniesta who also hit the target himself before supplying Cesc Fabregas for the fourth. The Argentine’s brace means he now has 82 goals in 2012, just three short of German legend Gerd Mueller’s all-time calendar record set in 1972. He also tops the La Liga charts for the season with 19 goals.

Barcelona’s win increased their gap over rivals Real Madrid to 11 points. They have also equalled Real’s record for the best start to a La Liga season set in 1991/92.

Atlético are keeping pace with Barca, as they made it seven wins from as seven home games, easing past nine-man Sevilla 4-0. Real Madrid stay in third place 11 points behind the leader after losing 1-0 at Real Betis Balompié.

Germany
Bayern extended their lead at the top to nine points after thrashing Hannover 5-0 defeat, with Mario Gomez wrapping things up on his first league appearance this season following an ankle injury.

As for Schalke, they were held to a 1-1 draw by Eintracht Frankfurt, which allowed Borussia Dortmund to climb into second by coming from behind to triumph 2-1 at Mainz.

France
Zlatan Ibrahimović returned from a two-match suspension to propel Paris Saint-Germain back to the top of Ligue 1. The Swedish international scored two and made two as Carlo Ancelotti’s men swept aside Troyes 4-0 at the Parc des Princes to end a run of three games without a win.

Level with PSG on points are Olympique Marseille after they edged Lille 1-0, with Saint-Étienne third following their 1-0 success at home to Valenciennes. Meanwhile, Olympique Lyonnais and Bordeaux missed the chance to go top as both lost, 3-0 at Toulouse and 1-0 to Montpellier respectively.

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