Real win again; AC Milan extend lead; Bayern pile on the pressure
Last Updated: March 12, 2012 4:43pm
Real Madrid moved one step closer to wrestling the Liga title from the clutches of Barcelona in Spain.
AC Milan extended their lead in Italy's top flight, while Bayern Munich are pilling the pressure on Borussia Dortmund.
Montpellier are keeping pace with Paris Saint Germain in Ligue 1 as AZ Alkmaar continue to lead the way in the Eredivisie.
Real Madrid edged a step closer to the Primera Liga title following a 3-2 away win to Real Betis.
Gonzalo Higuain cancelled out Jorge Molina's opener for the home side before Jefferson Montero levelled matters after Cristiano Ronaldo fired the visitors in front for the first time.
The ex-Manchester United man had the final say in the game courtesy of 73rd-minute winner, clinching Real's 23rd win from 26 league games this season in the process.
On Sunday, Barcelona kept their faint title hopes alive with an away win over Racing Santander while third-placed Valencia were held at home to Real Mallorca.
Pep Guardiola's men ensured the gap between themselves and league leaders Real Madrid remained at 10 points by the end of the weekend, courtesy of a 2-0 win at El Sardinero.
Lionel Messi continued his never-ending goalscoring streak with both goals either side of half-time - his 49th and 50th goals of the season - and Barca barely got out of first gear as they cruised to another three points.
AC Milan defeated Lecce to extend their lead at the top of Serie A to four points as second-placed Juventus drew with Genoa.
The Rossoneri continued to go about their business as league leaders, registering their 17th win of the season with an assured 2-0 victory at the San Siro, as Antonio Nocerino and Zlatan Ibrahimovic provided the goals either side of half time.
Juve, who also drew their game in hand against Bologna in midweek, could only manage a goalless stalemate at the Luigi Ferraris stadium, despite dominating possession and racking up 17 attempts on goal.
In Saturday's only game Roma secured a 1-0 win over Palermo courtesy of Fabio Borini's early goal. The win lifted the team into sixth in Italy's top fight, although the visitors had to endure more than a few nervy moments.
Bayern Munich have closed the gap on Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund following a crushing win over Hoffenheim on Saturday.
With Dortmund being held to a goalless draw at FC Augsburg the Bavarian giants capitalised by destroying Hoffenheim 7-1.
Mario Gomez helped himself to a hat-trick as Bayern went on a scoring spree with Toni Kroos, Luiz Gustavo, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben (2) also netting.
Schalke beat Hamburg 3-1 in Gelsenkirchen to move to within a point of third-placed Borussia Monchengladbach.
All four goals came in the first half, with Teemu Pukki giving Schalke the lead after five minutes and Christoph Metzelder making it 2-0 on 25 minutes.
Holland international Klaas Jan Huntelaar converted a penalty shortly after the half-hour mark before Gojko Kacar pulled a goal back just before the break.
It is as you were at the top of the Ligue 1 table after both Pairs Saint Germain and Montpellier claimed three-point hauls on Sunday.
Leaders PSG needed a last-minute winner from Kevin Gameiro to beat Dijon 2-1 while a second-half blitz from Montpellier saw off Caen 3-0.
On Saturday rock-bottom Sochaux boosted their hopes of avoiding the drop with a 3-2 success at Evian.
The hosts took the lead through Cedric Mongongu's 25th minute penalty, but Sochaux were ahead by half-time following a Brice Dja Djedje own goal and a Vincent Nogueira effort.
Eduard Butin increased the visitors' lead on 66 minutes, but Cedric Canbon's reply five minutes later ensured Sochaux endured a nervy final 20 minutes to hold on for a fifth win of the season.
Leaders AZ Alkmaar won 2-0 at De Graafschap while Ajax have leapfrogged FC Twente in the standings into second.
AZ marched on thanks to goals from Rasmus Elm and Erik Falkenburg and Twente's 3-1 loss to NEC means they now have a four-point lead at the top.
Ajax moved into second place with a comfortable 3-0 home win over RKC Waalwijk in their fifth successive league victory. Goals from Jan Vertonghen, Siem De Jong and Lorenzo Ebicilio secured the points.
There was only game in Scotland's top flight over the weekend with the Scottish Cup taking centre stage over both days.
Roman Golobart scored a spectacular own goal but netted the leveller to earn Inverness a 1-1 draw against Kilmarnock.
Celtic advanced to the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup courtesy of a 4-0 win over 10-man Dundee United.
Hearts and St Mirren will need a replay to separate them, Hibernian secured a 2-0 in over Ayr while Aberdeen won 2-1 against Motherwell at Fir Park.
Best of the rest
In Portugal, Benfica are a point behind FC Porto after staging a second-half comeback to beat Pacos Ferreira while the leaders needed an injury-time goal from Hulk to rescue a draw against Academica.
Olympiakos have moved four points clear in Greece after seeing off Aris Salonika 3-0 while second-placed Panathinaikos lost 2-0 to AEK Athens.Galatasaray remain nine clear in Turkey following a 2-0 success over Genclerbirligi. On Friday, Fenernahce maintained the pressure on the leaders by winning 2-0 away to Ankaragucu.
|Ranking||Player||Team||Competition||Rating (10)||Key stats|
|1||Lionel Messi||Barcelona||La Liga||10||Scored a brace, and took his tally to 30 in this season's La Liga|
|2||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid||La Liga||10||Scored two goals, attempted 10 shots in 3-2 win against Betid|
|3||Arjen Robben||Bayern Munich||Bundesliga||10||Scored a brace, completed seven dribbles and provided two assists|
|4||Kalu Uche||Espanyol||La Liga||10||Scored a hat trick as Espanyol routed Rayo Vallecano 5-1|
|5||Joaquin Larrivey||Cagliari||Serie A||10||Scored a hat trick as Cagliari lost a 6-3 thriller against Napoli|
|6||Wayne Rooney||Manchester United||Premier League||10||Scored a brace against WBA|
|7||Franck Ribéry||Bayern Munich||Bundesliga||10||Scored a goal and set up another three as Bayern ran riot against Hoffenheim|
|8||Zlatan Ibrahimovic||AC Milan||Serie A||9||Set up his side's first goal and then scored the second in a 2-0 win over Lecce|
|9||Mario Gomez||Bayern Munich||Bundesliga||9||Scored a hat trick and returned to the top of the BL goal scorers charts|
|10||Andrea Pirlo||Juventus||Serie A||9||Totalled 131 touches, completed 80 passes, 44 of which in the final third|