By IAN HOLLIDAY
The weather was the big story in Europe this weekend, with snow postponing matches in England, France, and Italy. The Premier League was the hardest hit, losing all but two of its weekend matches to the weather.
In the matches that actually were played, late goals were the story of the weekend. Napoli got a stoppage-time winner from Edinson Cavani to defeat Lecce, while an own-goal from Udinese's Christian Zapata in the 89th minute gave Lazio a 3-2 victory. Both clubs climbed three points closer to Serie A leaders AC Milan, which fell to AS Roma on another second-half goal.
German leaders Borussia Dortmund also fell victim to a last-second winner, allowing an 87th minute goal from Eintracht Frankfurt's Theofanis Gekas to end its 15-match unbeaten streak. American Ricardo Clark earned a rare start for Frankfurt and went the distance in the historic match.
In Spain, Barcelona and Real Madrid continued their winning ways, though they did so in decidedly different styles. Barca poured it on again, demolishing local rivals Espanyol 5-1. Madrid struggled against Sevilla, but earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory on Angel Di Maria's 76th minute strike.
The marquee matchup in France was Marseille v. Lyon, a battle of UEFA Champions League round of 16 participants. Ultimately, neither club was able to make any headway in the tight Ligue 1 table, as the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Here is a rundown of all the weekend scores from Europe's top leagues:
The fact that all but two of the weekend matches – including Chelsea v. Man United – were postponed could actually prove beneficial to Manchester City. Assuming the Citizens' Monday afternoon match against Everton isn't canceled, the club will have a chance to take sole possession of first place in the Premier League with a victory. Of course, City's derby rivals United would have two games in hand with which to make up just one point, but obtaining the poll position could prove a psychological boost for a club that wants desparately to belong at the top of English soccer.
Sunderland 1, Bolton 0
Blackburn 1, West Ham United 1
Arsenal v. Stoke City (postponed)
Birmingham City v. Newcastle United (postponed)
Wigan Athletic v. Aston Villa (postponed)
Liverpool v. Fulham (postponed)
West Bromwich Albion v. Wolverhampton Wanderers (postponed)
Blackpool v. Tottenham (postponed)
Chelsea v. Manchester United (postponed)
Monday: Manchester City v. Everton
With Barca and Real Madrid once again lapping the field in La Liga, the more interesting battle in the second half of the season may prove to be the race for the league's final two Champions League spots. Villarreal has opened up a five-point lead in third place, thanks in large part to in-form New Jersey-born striker Giuseppe Rossi, who added another goal to his team-leading nine on Saturday. The clubs in the race for fourth place all look flawed. Right now, Valencia leads the pack with 28 points, but behind it on goal differential is Espanyol. Atletico Madrid and Getafe follow with 26, and Athletic Bilbao is only three points off the pace with 25. All of those clubs won on the weekend, except Espanyol, which looked awful against Barcelona. Then again, who doesn't?
Almeria 2, Getafe 3
Osasuna 0, Real Zaragoza 0
Malaga 0, Atletico Madrid 3
Real Madrid 1, Sevilla 0
Deportivo La Coruna 1, Sporting Gijon 1
Levante 1, Athletic Bilbao 2
Villarreal 3, Mallorca 1
Espanyol 1, Barcelona 5
Real Sociedad 1, Valencia 2
Monday: Racing Santander v. Hercules
Inter Milan defeated Congolese club TP Mazembe to take home the FIFA Club World Cup on Saturday, but that has done little to stop the calls for Rafa Benitez's head. With just 23 points from its 15 matches, Inter is a disappointing seventh in Serie A at the moment. And while the club now has two games in hand over the teams ahead of it, wins are anything but assured in Serie A this season. Just ask Juventus, which looked like it was going to continue to press AC Milan at the top of the table until it allowed a stoppage-time equalizer to Chievo's Sergio Pellissier.
Lazio 3, Udinese 2
Bari 1, Palermo 1
Catania 1, Brescia 0
Chievo 1, Juventus 1
Napoli 1, Lecce 0
Parma 0, Bologna 0
Cesena 1, Cagliari 0
AC Milan 0, AS Roma 1
Sampdoria v. Genoa (postponed)
Dortmund's impressive streak had to end sometime. And even with the loss to Eintracht Frankfurt, the club still holds a 10-point advantage in the Bundesliga and a 14-1-1 record in its last 16 matches, leaving the club just one point shy of the Bundesliga pre-winter-break points record of 44. A club that isn't likely to set any records this season is Bayern Munich, which nevertheless earned an impressive win on Sunday, jumping out to a 5-1 lead over Stuttgart before eventually winning 5-3. Mario Gomez had a hat-trick in the victory, which saw Bayern climb to fifth in the league table.
Bayer Leverkusen 2, SC Freiburg 2
VfB Stuttgart 3, Bayern Munich 5
Eintracht Frankfurt 1, Borussia Dortmund 0
Nurnberg 3, Hannover 96 1
Schalke 04 3, FC Cologne 0
VfL Wolfsburg 2, Hoffenheim 2
Werder Bremen 1, Kaiserslautern 2
St. Pauli 2, Mainz 05 4
Borussia Moenchengladbach 1, Hamburg 2
Lyon's 1-1 draw at Marseille extended its unbeaten streak to 12 matches, but the result actually dropped the club a place in the close confines at the top of the Ligue 1 table. Three points would have sent the visitors to the top of the table with 32, but the draw left them all the way down in fourth on 30. Ahead of Lyon are Lille, Paris St. Germain, and Stade Rennes, all on 31 points. Lille has a game in hand after its Sunday match at home to Nancy was postponed.
Sochaux 1, Bordeaux 1
Marseille 1, Lyon 1
Montpellier 1, AJ Auxerre 1
Nice 1, Brest 1
St. Etienne 2, Arles 0
Stade Rennes 1, Valenciennes 0
Toulouse 3, Lorient 0
Paris St. Germain 2, AS Monaco 2
Lille v. AS Nancy Lorraine (postponed)
Lens v. Caen (postponed)
What did you think of this week's results? Disappointed so many matches were canceled? Or did the lack of Premier League games allow you to catch up on some other leagues? Share your thoughts below: