By NICK IUELE
The race for first place in the English Premier League became a little tighter on Sunday, as Manchester United handed English Premier League table-toppers Chelsea their first loss of the season.
A Robin van Persie goal and David Luiz own goal put the visitors up 2-0 within the first 15 minutes, but Juan Mata and Ramires scored on both sides of halftime to tie the match. Branislav Ivanovich and Fernando Torres were sent off with red cards in the 63rd and 68th minute respectively to put the Blues down to nine men. In the 75th minute, Javier Hernandez beat Petr Cech on what appeared to be an offside tap in and United won 3-2 for their first win at Stamford Bridge in 10 years.
In Germany, first-place Bayern Munich saw their undefeated season go out the window with a 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen. The visitors took the lead in the 42nd minute on Stefan Kibling’s goal, but Munich tied things up with Mario Mandzukic’s equalizer in the 77th. Munich’s perfect record was compromised in the Sidney Sam’s header rebounded off Jerome Boateng and went into the net, giving Leverkusen all three points.
AC Milan may have saved their Serie A lives with a 1-0 win over Genoa. It took Milan 77 minutes, but Steven El Shaarawy put the Rossoneri up for good with a tap in on a ball put across the mouth of goal by Ignazio Abate. Despite a less-than-poor start, Milan is still a mid-table club and if they catch fire, may still contend for the top five.
Here’s a look at what else happened this weekend in Europe’s top leagues:
The Merseyside Derby between Liverpool and Everton ended in a 2-2 draw. The Reds jumped out to a 2-0 lead at Goodison Park on Leighton Baines’ own goal and Luis Suarez’s goal, but the lead quickly evaporated as Leon Osman and Steven Naismith scored in the 22nd and 35th minute, respectively. Everton is now in fifth place, while Liverpool remains mid-pack.
American international Clint Dempsey scored what would be the match-winner in Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-1 win over Southampton. Gareth Bale scored in the 15th minute and Dempsey scored in the 39th to seal the win. Jay Rodriguez got one back for the Saints in the 66th minute, but the comeback fell short.
English Premier League scoreboard:
Aston Villa 1, Norwich City 1
Arsenal 1, Queens Park Rangers 0
Reading 3, Fulham 3
Stoke City 0, Sunderland 0
Wigan Athletic 2, West Ham United 1
Manchester United 1, Swansea City 0
Everton 2, Liverpool 2
Newcastle United 2, West Bromwich Albion 1
Tottenham Hotspur 2, Southampton 1
Chelsea 3, Manchester United 2
Juventus held on the their undefeated season, downing Catania 1-0. The home side put up a good fight, but Juve’s Arturo Vidal scored in the 57th minute to give the defending champions all three points.
Third-place Lazio failed to keep pace with Napoli and Juve with a 2-0 loss at Fiorentina. Adem Ljajic gave Fiorentina a head in the 45th minute and Luca Toni sealed his form employers fate just before the death. The loss dropped Lazio to fourth, three points behind Inter Milan.
Serie A scoreboard:
Siena 0, Palermo 0
AC Milan 1, Genoa 0
Juventus 1, Catania 0
Inter Milan 3, Bologna 1
Fiorentina 2, Lazio 0
Parma 3, Torino 1
US Pescara 0, Atalanta 0
Udinese 3, AS Roma 2
Napoli 1, Chievo 0
Cagliari 1, Sampdoria 0
Malaga tripped up a bit with a 0-0 draw against lowly Espanyol. Malaga remained in third position after earning a point, but are only one point ahead of surging Real Madrid, who crushed Mallorca 5-0 on Sunday.
Barcelona reestablished some dominance with a comprehensive 5-0 win over sinking Rayo Vallencano. Lionel Messi was at the double, while David Villa, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas had a goal each in the win. Barca remains on top of La Liga by goal differential and has yet to lose this term.
La Liga scoreboard:
Espanyol 0, Malaga 0
Real Betis 1, Valencia 0
Celta Vigo 1, Deportivo La Coruna
Barcelona 5, Ray Vallecano 0
Real Zaragoza 2. Sevilla FC 1
Levante 3, Granada 1
Getafe 2. Athletic Bilbao 1
Atletico Madrid 3, Osasuna 1
Real Madrid 5, Mallorca 0
Eintracht lost a chance to make up ground on Munich with a 2-1 loss to lowly Stuttgart. Christian Gentner scored in the 6th minute to give Stuttgart the lead, but Alexander Meier equalized in the 67th. Vedad Ibisevic’s goal in the 84th gave Stuttgart the upset and all three points.
Schalke beat Nurnberg 1-0 to take sole possession of second place in the Bundesliga. Jefferson Farfan gave Schalke all three points with a goal in the 77th minute. Schalke is now only four points behind Munich.
VfL Wolfsburg 4, Fortuna Dusseldorf 1
Mainz 3, TSG Hoffenheim 0
Borussia Dortmund 2, SC Freiburg 0
Schalke 04 1, Nurnberg 0
SpVgg Greuther Furth 1, Werder Bremen 1
VfB Stuttgart 2, Eintracht Frankfurt 1
Bayer Leverkusen 2, Bayern Munich 1
Borussia Monchengladbach 3, Hannover 96 2
Hamburg SV 2, FC Augsburg 0
Paris Saint-Germain gave themselves a three point cushion in the Ligue 1 table with a 1-0 win over Nancy. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s won it for PSG with a 74th minute goal. Ibrahimovic leads all of France with 10 goals.
With Marseille’s match with Lyon postponed, Toulouse took advantage and jumped both clubs with a 3-1 over Brest. Ben Yedder, Etienne Capoue and Adrien Regattin scored the goals for Toulouse, who is now in second position in the table, just three points behind PSG.
Ligue 1 scoreboard:
Lorient 4, AC Ajaccio 4
Bastia 3, Bordeaux 1
Marseille v Lyon– PPD
Lille 2, Valenciennes 1
Paris St-Germain 1, AS Nancy Lorraine 0
Montpellier 3, Nice 1
Sochaux v Evian Thonon Gaillard– PPD
Stade de Reims 1, Troyes 1
Toulouse 3, Brest 1
St. Etienne 2, Stade Rennes 0