By JUSTIN FERGUSON
After 77 straight league home matches without a loss, Jose Mourinho has now tasted defeat inside Stamford Bridge — and it could not have come at a worse time for his Chelsea team.
Second-place Chelsea lost 2-1 on Saturday to last-place Sunderland, who won on an 82nd-minute penalty kick from Fabio Borini. The Italian forward helped out the club who loaned him out to Sunderland, league-leading Liverpool, by converting the spot kick after USMNT forward Jozy Altidore came off the bench and drew the late foul.
Samuel Eto’o notched a 12th-minute goal to put the host Blues out in front, but Conor Wickham rebounded home an equalizer six minutes later for the Black Cats. Chelsea finished the match with 31 shots — 15 of them on goal — but they could not find a way past Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone. With just minutes left in the match, Cesar Azpilicueta’s foul on Altidore made all the difference as Borini’s penalty conversion gave Sunderland three crucial points and opened the door for Liverpool to extend their league lead.
While Chelsea lost precious points in their title hunt, Barcelona kept themselves in their race for La Liga’s crown with a 2-1 home win against fourth-place Athletic Bilbao. After a scoreless first half, Aritz Adruiz broke the deadlock with a 50th-minute goal off a mistake from Barcelona defender Marc Bartra. But Barcelona hit back with a one-two punch midway through the second half with Pedro netting an easy equalizer and Lionel Messi scoring a match-winner on a goal kick in the span of three minutes at a quiet Camp Nou.
Here is a closer look at all the weekend’s action from the top leagues in Europe:
First-place Liverpool moved five points ahead of the pack with three matches remaining Sunday with a 3-2 road victory at relegation-threatened Norwich City. Raheem Sterling struck twice for the Reds, scoring a long-range stunner in the opening minutes of the match and a 62nd-minute goal on a one-man counter attack. Luis Suarez kept his blistering scoring pace with his 30th goal in 30 league matches, and the two forwards’ efforts were enough to put Liverpool over a late-charging Norwich City squad at Carrow Road.
With fourth-place Arsenal coasting past Hull City 3-0 on Sunday, fifth-place Everton stayed in the race for a Champions League spot with a relatively easy 2-0 victory against former manager David Moyes and seventh-place Manchester United. Leighton Baines scored a 28th-minute penalty off a Phil Jones handball call, and Kevin Mirallas doubled Everton’s lead just before the halftime whistle with a close-range effort. Manchester United only had two shots on USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard’s goal in another loss for the defending champions, who seem out of the hunt for any European spot in what has been a disastrous campaign.
Here are the results from this weekend’s English Premier League action:
Tottenham Hotspur 3, Fulham 1
Aston Villa 0, Southampton 0
Cardiff City 1, Stoke City 1
Swansea City 2, Newcastle United 1
Crystal Palace 1, West Ham United 0
Sunderland 2, Chelsea 1
Liverpool 3, Norwich City 2
Arsenal 3, Hull City 0
Everton 2, Manchester United 0
Atletico Madrid kept up their pace atop La Liga on Friday with a 2-0 victory against 16th-place Elche at the Vicente Calderon. David Villa’s 50th-minute penalty was saved by Elche goalkeeper Manu, but Atletico defender Miranda came through for his side in the 72nd minute with a fine header off a corner kick routine. Diego Costa sealed all three points for Atletico in second-half stoppage time with a penalty conversion that pulled them six points of city rivals Real, who were not in action this weekend.
Sevilla recorded a huge win for next season’s European hopes ahead of this season’s Europa League semifinal against fellow La Liga side Valencia. Sevilla, who now trail Athletic Bilbao by three points in the race for fourth place, defeated Granada 4-0 at home thanks to an own goal and a early second-half rally from their own offense. Diego Mainz put the ball into his own net in the 14th minute, and Sevilla tacked on goals from Kevin Gameiro, Stephane M’Bia and Vitolo in the span of 17 minutes after the halftime break.
Here are the results from this weekend’s La Liga action:
Atletico Madrid 2, Elche 0
Osasuna 1, Valencia 1
Levante 0, Getafe 0
Real Sociedad 2, Espanyol 1
Celta Vigo 4, Almeria 2
Rayo Vallecano 3, Real Betis 1
Sevilla 4, Granada 0
Barcelona 2, Athletic Bilbao 1
Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich snapped their rare two-match league losing streak this weekend, but they needed a late push to knock off last-place Eintracht Braunschweig away from home. Claudio Pizarro scored in the 75th minute to make the much-needed breakthrough for Pep Guardiola’s club, and Mario Mandzukic added another in the 86th minute to end hopes of a draw for Braunschweig. Bayern only had three shots on goal in the victory, something they will want to improve on heading into their massive Champions League semifinal clash with Real Madrid later this week.
Bayer Leverkusen kept themselves in the Bundesliga’s final Champions League spot Sunday with a commanding 4-1 victory against 17th-place Nurnberg. Emir Spahic scored twice for Bayer Leverkusen, who are turning things around under interim manager Sacha Lewandowski. Marvin Plattenhardt took away Leverkusen’s early lead from Spahic’s opener, but the visitors rallied with a second-half trifecta of goals from Sebastian Boenisch, Spahic and Roberto Hilbert.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Bundesliga action:
Borussia Dortmund 4, Mainz 2
Augsburg 0, Hertha Berlin 0
Freiburg 4, Borussia Monchengladbach 2
Bayern Munich 2, Eintracht Braunschweig 0
Werder Bremen 3, Hoffenheim 1
Wolfsburg 3, Hamburg 1
Bayer Leverkusen 4, Nurnberg 1
Stuttgart 3, Schalke 1
First-place Juventus kept their stride toward a third consecutive Serie A title Saturday with a 1-0 home victory against Bologna, who have now slipped into the relegation zone in 18th place. Paul Pogba netted the match’s only goal in the 64th minute, but Juve were in control most of the match and came close to adding another goal several times. Bologna did not record their first shot on goal until the 82nd minute, and Gianluigi Buffon was there to make the save and one more on Juve’s way to another shutout victory in domestic league play.
Second-place AS Roma mathematically stayed in the race for the Scudetto with a 1-0 road win against fourth-place Fiorentina, who now need a miracle to make the Champions League next season. Radja Nainggolan scored in the 26th minute for Roma, and their league-best defense kept their record at only 19 goals allowed through 34 matches. Fiorentina had multiple efforts to prevent the shutout with their 24 shots, but only three were on target as Roma posted another shutout victory away from the Stadio Olimpico.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Serie A action:
AC Milan 3, Livorno 0
Hellas Verona 2, Atalanta 1
Catania 2, Sampdoria 1
Sassuolo 1, Chievo Verona 0
Cagliari 2, Genoa 1
Lazio 3, Torino 3
Inter Milan 2, Parma 0
Udinese 1, Napoli 1
Juventus 1, Bologna 0
AS Roma 1, Fiorentina 0
Second-place AS Monaco will be back in the Champions League next season after their 1-0 win against Nice at the Stade Louis II. Dimitar Berbatov’s fifth-minute strike was all Monaco needed to record the important victory at home, which ensured the defending Ligue 2 champions will finish in the Top 3 in their grand return to the top division. Nice put up a solid fight against Monaco with an even share of possession and an equal amount of efforts on goal, but Monaco withstood the attack for three more points in front of their home crowd.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Ligue 1 action:
Saint Etienne 0, Stade Rennes 0
AS Monaco 1, Nice 0
Bastia 2, AC Ajaccio 1
Bordeaux 5, Guingamp 1
Lorient 4, Montpellier 4
Sochaux 1, Stade de Reims 0
Nantes 6, Valenciennes 2
Marseille 0, Lille 0
What did you think of this weekend’s European league action? Shocked at Chelsea’s loss to Sunderland at Stamford Bridge? Think Liverpool are locks to win the English Premier League now? See Barcelona making a late run at the top of La Liga?
Share your thoughts below.