United and Bayern stride towards domestic glory, PSG stumble
Published: 19.03.13 / Written by: David Gold
Manchester United moved closer to their 20th English title as they defeated Reading 1-0 on Saturday.
The win was unconvincing in itself but moves the league leaders 15 points clear of Manchester City, who fell to a 2-0 defeat against Everton. The champions’ hopes of winning the title were already pretty much over, and it seems certain they will miss out this season.
Below them, Chelsea moved up to third after beating West Ham 2-0, a result which means they leapfrogged Tottenham, who were shocked 1-0 at home by Fulham. Arsenal were the big winners of that result, meaning they are four points behind their North London rivals with a game in hand after they defeated Swansea 2-0 in Wales. Everton’s win keeps them in touch but Liverpool lost ground in a 3-1 loss at Southampton.
Bayern Munich are moving increasingly close to winning the Bundesliga in record time after they beat third placed Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 at the weekend. Borussia Dortmund, the champions, won 5-1 against Freiburg but if Bayern win their next match and Dortmund fail to pick up three points, the Bavarians will reclaim the title. Eintracht Frankfurt lost 2-1 to Stuttgart but remain fourth as Schalke also lost, 3-0 against Nurnberg. The race for fourth tightened with Mainz drawing 0-0 at Hoffenheim, and they are a point adrift of the top four, as are Borussia Moenchengladbach, who beat Hannover 1-0. Hamburg lost 1-0 to Augsburg, but they are still among five teams within a point of each other from fourth down. Freiburg are not out of the race either.
In France Paris St Germain were stunned as they gave up a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with St Etienne on Sunday. The draw means PSG extend their lead by only a point after Lyon were thrashed 4-1 by Bastia. The Parisians remain five clear at the summit. Marseille drew 0-0 at home to Ajaccio to stay third, with St Etienne in fourth. Nice lost 1-0 to Nancy but remain fifth, ahead of Lille, who lost 2-1 to Evian at home. Champions Montpellier were held 1-1 by Troyes, meaning on a remarkable weekend that eight placed Lorient were the highest placed team to win in France, as they won 4-0 against Brest.
In La Liga Barcelona remain ten points clear with a game in hand after beating Rayo Vallecano 3-1, and Leo Messi scored for his eighteenth game in a row in the league. Real Madrid stay second after coming from behind to beat Real Mallorca 5-2. Atletico Madrid beat Osasuna 2-0 to remain in touch with their city rivals. Real Sociedad crushed Real Valladolid 4-1 to tighten their grip on fourth place, ahead of Valencia, who beat Real Betis 3-0. Malaga lost 2-0 at home to Espanyol to lose touch with the top four, whilst Getafe are still in touch after beating Athletic Bilbao 1-0.
Juventus continue their march towards back to back titles in Italy after they beat Bologna 2-0. That means they remain nine points clear of Napoli, who beat Atalanta 3-2. AC Milan beat Palermo 2-0 to stay third, and Fiorentina’s 3-2 win over Genoa keeps them fourth. Inter Milan drew 0-0 with Sampdoria, whilst Lazio’s 1-0 defeat to Torino means that Roma caught up with them after beating Parma 2-0. Udinese lost 3-1 at impressive Catania.
In the Netherlands Ajax beat AZ to stay top of the table after PSV had briefly overtaken them with a 2-0 win at Waalwijk. Feyenoord beat Utrecht 2-1, to stay one point behind the league leaders. Vitesse beat Den Haag 4-0.
Benfica extended the lead at the top of the Portuguese league with a 4-0 thrashing of Vitoria Guimaraes. That means they are four points clear of Porto, who drew 1-1 with Maritimo. Both are unbeaten still this season. In Ukraine Shakhtar Donetsk beat Chernomorets Odessa 3-0, meaning they have an unbelievable record of 20 wins from 21 this season. Dynamo Kiev in second beat Vorksla 1-0. Galatasaray remain top of the Turkish league after beating Kayserispor 3-1, with Besiktas losing ground after losing by the same score against Kasimpasa. Fenerbahce beat Antalyaspor 2-1.
In Russia CSKA Moscow remain clear at the top after winning 1-0 against Krasnodar, with Anzhi Makhachkala drawing 1-1 with Samara. Zenit beat Saransk 1-0, whilst the Moscow derby between Spartak and Lokomotiv ended goalless.
Over the Atlantic in Argentina, Lanus beat Godoy Cruz 1-0 to go three points clear of Newell’s Old Boys, who jumped above River Plate, whom they beat 1-0 this weekend. Quilmes drew 0-0 with Independiente to remain in the mix.