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European weekend round-up
Published : 30 Jan 2012 00:16:56
Barcelona lost ground on Real Madrid and Inter Milan slipped up in the Italian title race at the weekend while Porto lost in Portugal to end a 55-match unbeaten streak going well back into the reign of Andre Villas-Boas.
A last-gasp goal from substitute Dirk Kuyt saw Liverpool snatch their win over United. The game had seemed set for a replay at Old Trafford after South Korean midfielder Park Ji-Sung had swept in a deserved equaliser for United to cancel out Daniel Agger's opener for Liverpool.
"It's been a fantastic week for the players. Everyone realises the history of the football club and the players want to be part of it," said Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, whose side had reached the League Cup final on Wednesday.
Chelsea booked their place after a disputed Juan Mata penalty saw off Queens Park Rangers in the first meeting of the two sides since the stormy clash in October which led to Chelsea captain John Terry being accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
Rangers defender Ferdinand was spared the dilemma of whether or not to shake Terry's hand in the pre-match build-up after the FA ruled there would be no handshake shortly before kick-off.
Second tier Brighton, finalists in 1983, ousted Premier League high-riders Newcastle 1-0 while promotion-chasing League Two side Crawley revived memories of last year's fairytale run by downing Championship outfit Hull.
Arsenal then thanked two Robin van Persie penalties and a Theo Walcott goal to edge out Villa, who had seemed set fair to advance after a Richard Dunne header and Darren Bent strike had put them 2-0 in front.
In La Liga, Barca were held to a goalless draw by Villarreal and with Real beating Zaragoza 3-1 the Catalan club are now seven points behind Jose Mourinho's men.
Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil scored for Real but Pep Guardiola's Barca could not find a way past an inspired Diego Lopez in the Villarreal goal as even Lionel Messi was unable to produce anything to break the stalemate.
Real overcame Angel Lafita's opener for Zaragoza at the Santiago Bernabeuto make it fifteen wins in sixteen league games, the home defeat to Barcelona in December being the only blip.
Then Sunday, Levante missed a golden opportunity to secure their fourth position in La Liga when they lost 2-1 at home to Getafe.
The result means Levante remain fourth but they are now level on points with Espanyol and two points ahead of Athletic Bilbao in sixth, after both teams won on Saturday.
In Serie A, Inter Milan's run of seven successive wins came to an abrupt end as they fell 1-0 to relegation strugglers Lecce, a loss made all the more bitter by AC Milan's 3-0 win over Cagliari which saw their rivals tuck in just a point behind leaders Juventus.
Uruguayan Guillermo Giaccomazzi struck for Lecce to give them their first home win of the season - they had previously taken just two points from the 27 available at home.
Inter's loss leaves them nine points adrift of Juve, who beat Udinese 2-1 on Saturday, and AC Milan rubbed it in by sweeping aside Calgiari with goals from Serie A's leading marksman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who bagged his 15th goal of the campaign with a fine freekick which sailed in past helpless keeper Michael Agazzi.
After the Sweden international's opening salvo on 32 minutes Antonio Nocerino swiftly made it 2-0 with his seventh of the season shortly before the break before Massimo Ambrosini swept home the clincher with the outside of his right boot on 75 minutes.
The win moved the defending champions onto 43 points from 20 games with Juve having moved to 44 after a brace from Alessandro Matri saw off fellow high-riders Udinese in Turin on Saturday.
In France, Marseille won 2-1 at Rennes, extending their winning run to seven games in all competitions to move within two points of the Champions League positions.
Tongo Doumbia's long-range goal had given Rennes an early lead but Didier Deschamps' side turned the game around through an Onyekachi Apam own goal and a 77th-minute strike by Benoit Cheyrou to climb above Rennes into fifth place.
Leaders PSG ground out a 1-0 win at Brest on Saturday courtesy of a scruffy Milan Bisevac goal in the first half to remain three points clear of Montpellier, who needed a last-minute goal from Olivier Giroud to prevail 1-0 at Nice.
Nolan Roux scored twice on his debut for third-placed Lille as the champions breezed past Saint-Etienne 3-0, while Lyon, fourth, beat Dijon 3-1.
The preservation of the status quo means that Lille remain seven points behind PSG and four points shy of Montpellier, with Lyon a point further back.
Borussia Moenchengladbach ensured just one point divides the top four teams in the German league after their impressive 3-0 win over VfB Stuttgart with Mike Hanke, Marco Reus and Igor de Camargo on target.
Bayern Munich remain top of the league on goal difference after their home win against Wolfsburg on Saturday, but defending Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 are level on 40 points.
Munich won 2-0 at the Allianz Arena to banish memories of their previous match, a loss at Gladbach, with Mario Gomez scoring on the hour mark before Dutch star Arjen Robben netted in added time.
Defending champions Dortmund and Schalke are hard on Bayern's heels after Japan winger Shinji Kagawa scored twice in Dortmund's 3-1 win over Hoffenheim.
Schalke came from behind to record a 4-1 win at 10-man Cologne to stay third.
Porto's 55-match unbeaten run ended on Sunday with a 3-1 reverse at modest Gil Vicente.
The northerners' last league loss, more than a year before Villas-Boas joined Chelsea, had come on February 28, 2010 against Sporting Lisbon.
Two goals from Claudio and another from Andre Cunha shocked Porto, now coached by Vitor Pereira, and Silvestre Varela's response was only window dressing.
Benfica hold the unbeaten record of just one match more, their 56-game streak set in the mid 1970s.
Benfica have yet to lose this season and won 2-1 at Feirense on Saturday to go five points clear.
PSV Eindhoven lead the way in the Netherlands after seeing off Arnhem 3-1 with FC Twente two points behind after thrashing Groningen 4-1.
Alkmaar are level on points with Twente but went down 2-0 at Roda while Ajax are five points further back after losing 4-2 at Feyenoord.