Red cards, penalty goals and controversial decisions were the order of the day in the Barclays English Premier League this past weekend. At the peak of all that were Liverpool who became the latest club to pile misery on David Moyes’ Manchester United after the Reds embarrassed the reigning Premier League champions 3-0 at Old Trafford. Two converted penalties from Steven Gerrard and an 84th minute goal from Luis Suarez helped the visitors claim a famous away win and complete a double over their North-west nemesis who were reduced to 10-men following Nemanja Vidic’s red card. The win saw the Merseyside outfit move to second on the log, 4 points behind leaders Chelsea with Brendan Rodgers’s having a game in hand. Arsenal edged out North-London rivals Tottenham by a solitary goal from Thomas Rosicky to remain in the title mix. On Saturday, Aston Villa put a dent on Chelsea’s title credentials with a 1-0 win in a game that saw the Blues’ Ramires and Willian receive their marching orders. Manchester City crushed Hull City 2-0 in spite of Vincent Kompany getting sent off early in the game while Everton continued their push for Champions League football, Seamus Coleman netting a stoppage time goal in a 2-1 win against battling Cardiff City.
Lionel Messi became Barcelona’s all-time top goalscorer, the Argentine grabbing a hat-trick in a 7-0 drubbing of Osasuna at Camp Nou. Messi opened the scoring for the Catalans in the 18th minute before Alexis Sanchez and Andres Iniesta both found the back of the net before half time. Two more goals from Messi after the interval and a goal each from Tello and Pedro completed the rout for the defending La Liga champions who remain 4 points behind leaders Real Madrid ahead of the El-Classico next weekend. Diego Costa scored his 22nd goal of the season to help Atletico Madrid see off Espanyol 1-0 and remain second on the log while Cristiano Ronaldo also found the back of the net for frontrunners Real Madrid at Malaga. Rayo Vallecano collected their third straight win with a 3-1 home success over Almeria.
Bayern Munich could wrap up the Bundesliga title next weekend at Mainz after the Bavarians latest 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen extended their lead at the top to 23 points. Mario Mandukic put Pep Guardiola’s team ahead in the 44th minute and Bastian Scheweinsteiger made it 2-0 7 minutes after the resumption to put Bayern on course for their 17th straight win in the Bundesliga. Stefan Kiesling drew one back for the Bayer but the hosts would not be denied as they saw off the rest of the match. Borussia Dortmund shaky season continued as they slumped to a 2-1 defeat against Borussia Monchengladbach while Schalke moved above Leverkusen to 3rd position with a 2-1 win at Augusburg.
Serie A Champions-elect, Juventus, surged 17 points clear of the chasing park courtesy of an Andrea Pirlo freekick that gave the Old Lady a 1-0 success at Genoa FC. The Italian struck in the 89th minute to give Juve their 5th straight win and open what looks like an unassailable lead although second-placed Roma have two games in hand. Vincenzo Mortela’s Fiorentina won 3-1 against Chieveo to continue their push for European football next season and so did Inter Milan who won 2-0 at Hellas Verona. Antonio Cassano came back to haunt his former employers AC Milan, the Italian forward netting twice in Parma’s 4-2 win over the Rossoneri.
The top two in the French Ligue 1 both won with leaders PSG claiming a 2-0 success over visiting Saint-Etienne, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring both goals. Former Premier League player Dimitar Berbatov was the star for Monaco who edged out Olympique Lyon 3-2 in a five-goal thriller. The Bulgarian set up Valere Germain and James Rodriguez’s opening two goals for Claudio Ranieri’s outfit before scoring his own in the 52nd minute. Jimmy Briand found the back of the net for Lyon with his 78th minute goal setting up a tense finale but the Monaco-based club held on for a win that keeps them 8 points behind leaders PSG. AC Ajjacio’s survival chances suffered further blows after they allowed Guingamp to come from a goal down and leave Stade Francois with a 2-1 win.
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