Real Madrid’s winning run was halted in dramatic fashion on Sunday as FC Barcelona were gifted a flicker of hope in the Liga race. While Madrid faltered, Manchester United and Bayern Munich both recorded big wins, the English champions moving four points clear and Bayern rattling in another six goals to keep the pressure on leaders Borussia Dortmund.
Madrid’s lead has been cut to eight points after Santi Cazorla’s stunning stoppage-time free-kick gave Malaga a deserved point and halted Real Madrid’s 11-match winning run in La Liga. Real’s draw allowed Barcelona a glimmer of hope, although Pep Guardiola sounded a pessimistic note after Lionel Messi notched his 150th Liga goal in a 2-0 win at Sevilla saying:”Forget the league – we’re not going to win. There has been another team which has been better and achieved better results than us and there’s no getting around that fact.” Third-placed Valencia brought Athletic Bilbao down to earth with a 3-0 victory thanks to a Roberto Soldado hat-trick, while José Molina was sacked after his Villarreal side lost 1-0 at Levante. Villarreal are only three points above the drop zone.
Bayern cannot stop scoring goals at the moment after taking their tally to 20 in the last seven days with a 6-0 success at Hertha BSC, Arjen Robben scoring a hat-trick. “In the last three matches, we’ve seen just how much attacking quality we have in the team,” commented captain Philipp Lahm. “We can take apart almost every opposing team.” Bayern nonetheless still trail Borussia Dortmund by five points after the champions edged Werder Bremen 1-0. Igor De Camargo’s late winner at Bayer Leverkusen kept Borussia Mönchengladbach in third, while fourth-placed Schalke 04 swept aside Kaiserslautern 4-1.
The action on the pitch was overshadowed by concerns for Fabrice Muamba after the midfielder collapsed during Bolton Wanderers FA Cup quarter-final tie at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. The match was abandoned shortly before half-time on a weekend when Chelsea and Liverpool progressed to the last four, and Everton drew 1-1 with Sunderland. In the Premier League, Manchester United extended their lead to four points with a 5-0 victory at Wolves.
Zlatan Ibrahimović scored his 20th goal in 22 league outings to help AC Milan maintain their grip on Serie A with a 2-0 win at Parma. Title rivals Juventus responded with an empathic 5-0 victory against ten-man Fiorentina and remain four points behind the Rossoneri. On Sunday, Udinese threw away a two-goal lead in their 2-2 draw with Napoli as both sides missed the opportunity to jump over third-placed Lazio, who were upset 1-0 at Catania.
It was a challenging weekend for the top two sides in Ligue 1 as Paris Saint-Germain equired Christophe Jallet’s added-time equaliser to salvage a 2-2 draw at Caen and second-placed Montpellier lost 1-0 at AS Nancy. The results enabled PSG to double their advantage to two points, though coach Carlo Ancelotti was far from impressed. “He couldn’t be happy with that performance and his words afterwards weren’t the kindest,” said Jallet. “He wants us to do better, but we already know that very well.” In third, Lille moved within seven points of Montpellier after beating local rivals Valenciennes 4-0, and Toulouse stayed fourth by beating Rennais 1-0.