By JOHN BOSCHINI
One wouldn't expect one of the games of the season to come out of the Carling Cup but that's exactly what happened when Liverpool edged Cardiff City via penalties in a thrilling final at Wembley.
Liverpool seemed to have dispatched the Championship side when Dirk Kuyt scored a wonderful goal in the 108th minute but Cardiff refused to give up. Ben Turner capped a mad scramble inside the box with a toe-poke under Pepe Reina with under three minutes left in the second period of extra time.
The ensuing penalty kick was symptomatic of the exhausting previous 120 minutes as Steven Gerrard and Charlie Adam failed to convert Liverpool's first two penalties. Things were worse for Cardiff as Kenny Miller and Rudy Gestede hit the post and Anthony Gerrard, Steven's cousin, rolled the decisive penalty wide of the post. The win gives Liverpool their first piece of major silverware since 2006.
In Italy, Juventus and AC Milan played to a 1-1 draw as controversial refereeing decisions grabbed the post-game headlines.
AC Milan were by far the better team in the first half. Antonio Nocerino pounced on a poor pass from Juventus and fired a deflected shot past Gianluigi Buffon in the 14th minute. The home team's lead should have been doubled when Sulley Muntari's header clearly crossed the line before Buffon palmed it away but the goal was not given.
Juventus had their own reason to complain in the second half when Alessandro Matri's goal was unfairly disallowed for offsides 11 minutes from time. The visitors eventually got their equalizer in the 83rd minute when Matri scored. Juventus remain the only unbeaten side in Europe but find themselves a point behind Milan with a game in hand.
Here is a look back at all the results, including the North London Derby, from around Europe.
The reports of Arsenal's death have been greatly exaggerated. The Gunners rattled off five unanswered goals at the Emirates for an emphatic 5-2 victory over Tottenham in the North London Derby. An early goal from Louis Saha and a penalty from Emmanuel Adebayor put the visitors up midway through the first half and it seemed like another devastating loss was in the cards for Arsenal, However, an offensive explosion unlike anything the Gunners have displayed this season came in a 28-minute span starting just before halftime.
Barcay Sagna, Robin Van Persie and Tomas Rosicky put Arsenal ahead with Theo Walcott adding a brace to complete the rout. The win moves Arsenal level on points with Chelsea with the Gunners taking fourth place on account of goals scored. The Blues got back on track with a comfortable win over Bolton. Both Manchester clubs rolled to easy victories to increase their lead at the top of the table.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE SCOREBOARD
Chelsea 3, Bolton Wanderers 0
Newcastle United 2, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2
Queens Park Rangers 0, Fulham 1
West Bromwich Albion 4, Sunderland 0
Wigan Athletic 0, Aston Villa 0
Manchester City 3, Blackburn Rovers 0
Arsenal 5, Tottenham Hotspur 2
Norwich City 1, Manchester United 2
Stoke City 2, Swansea City 0
CARLING CUP SCOREBOARD
Cardiff City 2, Liverpool 2 (Liverpool wins 3-2 on PKs)
Two remarkable goals from the league's brightest stars gave Real Madrid and Barcelona one-goal victories.
Lionel Messi's stunning free kick with nine minutes to go gave Barcelona a 2-1 win over Athletico Madrid. It was a much-needed away win in the league for the defending champions. Cristiano Ronaldo kept Real Madrid's lead at 10 points with the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano.
LA LIGA SCOREBOARD
Racing Santander 1, Sporting Gijon 1
Real Betis 1, Getafe 1
Malaga 5, Real Zaragoza 1
Espanyol 1, Levante 2
Villarreal 2, Athletic Bilbao 2
Rayo Vallecano 0, Real Madrid 1
Osasuna 2, Granada 1
Real Sociedad 1, Mallorca 0
Valencia 1, Sevilla FC 2
Atletico Madrid 1, Barcelona 2
Franck Ribery scored twice to get Bayern Munich back on track following Champions League disappointment with a 2-0 win over Schalke. Bayern move up to second place and to within four points of Borussia Dortmund. The current league leaders were comfortable in a 3-1 victory over Hannover.
Borussia Monchengladbach suffered a setback to their title hopes with a 1-1 draw against Hamburg.
Borussia Monchengladbach 1, Hamburg SV 1
FC Augsburg 3, Hertha Berlin 0
FC Cologne 0, Bayer Leverkusen 2
Mainz 4, Kaiserslautern 0
VfB Stuttgart 4, SC Freiburg 1
VfL Wolfsburg 1, TSG Hoffenheim 2
Werder Bremen 0, Nurnberg 1
Bayern Munich 2, Schalke 04 0
Borussia Dortmund 3, Hannover 96 1
The crisis at Inter Milan continues as a 1-0 loss to Napoli extends their winless streak in all competitions to eight games. Napoli, on the other hand, are moving up the league table and are into fifth place, five points off a Champions League spot.
The final nail in Cesena's relegation coffin may have come in the form of a 1-0 loss to Chievo Verona. The Seahorses are 10 points from safety with 14 games left to play.
SERIE A SCOREBOARD
Genoa 2, Parma 2
AC Milan 1, Juventus 1
Atalanta 4, AS Roma 1
Cagliari 1, Lecce 2
Catania 3, Novara 1
Chievo Verona 1, Cesena 0
Siena 4, Palermo 1
Bologna 1, Udinese 3
Lazio 1, Fiorentina 0
Napoli 1, Inter Milan 0
Paris Saint-Germain earned a last-gasp equalizer to draw 4-4 with Lyon in what may be the game of the season in Ligue 1. Lyon 4-2 lead into the last 20 minutes of the game before Ceara and Guillaume Hoarau clawed back a much-needed point.
Montpellier moved to the top of the table when a late goal from John Utaka gave the home team a 1-0 victory over Bordeaux. Montpellier are now unbeaten in six games and hold a one-point advantage over PSG.
LIGUE 1 SCOREBOARD
AC Ajaccio 2, Dijon 1
AJ Auxerre 0, St. Etienne 0
Evian Thonon Gaillard 2, AS Nancy Lorraine 0
Montpellier 1, Bordeaux 0
Nice 1, Caen 0
Valenciennes 2, Lorient 0
Lyon 4, Paris Saint-Germain 4
Brest 1, Marseille 0
Toulouse 2, Sochaux 0
Stade Rennes 1, Lille 1
PSV Eindhoven took advantage of AZ Alkmaar's 3-3 draw with Heerenveen to move into first place with a 3-2 win over Feyenoord. Zakaria Labyad scored in the winner in the 80th minute after Eindhoven surrendered a two-goal lead in the second half.
RKC Waalwijk 1, Vitesse Arnhem 0
NAC Breda 4, ADO Den Haag 0
Roda JC Kerkrade 0, De Graafschap 2
VVV Venlo 3, SC Heracles Almelo 1
NEC Nijmegen 4, FC Groningen 0
Excelsior 1, Ajax 4
PSV Eindhoven 3, Feyenoord Rotterdam 2
FC Twente 1, FC Utrecht 0
AZ Alkmaar 3, Heerenveen 3
What did you think of the weekend's action? Were you caught up in the Carling Cup final? Surprised by Arsenal's demolition of Tottenham? Did the officials ruin the spectacle of Juventus vs. AC Milan?
Share your thoughts below.