By IAN HOLLIDAY
It took Manchester City until the 60th minute to score its second goal at Old Trafford Sunday, but once Mario Balotelli had tapped home James Milner's cross for his and the team's second of the match, the metaphorical floodgates opened.
Sergio Aguero struck in the 69th and Edin Dzeko added a brace of his own in the last minute plus stoppage time as the visitors hammered their derby rivals 6-1. After the match, Sir Alex Ferguson called the defeat "the worst result in [his] history." Indeed, the result was Manchester United's worst home defeat since the 1930-31 season, and only City's second victory by any scoreline at Old Trafford since 1974.
The game would likely have been closer if United had not been reduced to 10 men when Jonny Evans was sent off just after halftime for holding back Balotelli when the Italian would have been in on goal. As it was, City earned a commanding victory and ran its lead to five points over United at the top of the Premier League.
While the Manchester derby was undoubtedly the match of the weekend in Europe, there were plenty of exciting matches being played elsewhere. Chief among them was AC Milan's 4-3 victory at Lecce, in which the Rossoneri found themselves down 3-0 at halftime before substitute Kevin-Prince Boateng scored a 14-minute hat-trick to put the defending Serie A champs back on level terms. Mario Yepes headed home the winner in the 83rd minute.
Bayern Munich did something Sunday that it hadn't done in any competition all season: it surrendered more than one goal in a match. After seeing its 12-match clean-sheet streak snapped by a Holger Badstuber own goal against Napoli midweek, Bayern surrendered two goals in its 2-1 loss at American Steve Cherundolo's Hannover 96 on Sunday, a match in which Cherundolo was red-carded in the 63rd minute.
In Spain, FC Barcelona slipped to third place in La Liga with a scoreless draw against Sevilla at Camp Nou in which Lionel Messi missed a late penalty kick, while Real Madrid got a first-half hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo and took its foot off the gas in the second half of a 4-0 win at Malaga.
Here's a rundown of all the weekend scores from Europe's top leagues:
Lost in the excitement of the Manchester derby this weekend were solid performances by the Premier League's promoted clubs, especially Queens Park Rangers, which got a 1-0 lead on a 10th minute penalty kick and managed to hold on to beat Chelsea on Sunday. The visiting Blues suffered first-half red cards to Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba, but still managed to look dangerous at times in their defeat. Norwich and Swansea earned a point each, though the Canaries' come-from-behind 1-1 draw at Liverpool was more impressive than Swansea's squandering of a 2-0 halftime lead to draw 2-2 at Wolves.
Arsenal 3, Stoke City 1
Fulham 1, Everton 3
Manchester United 1, Manchester City 6
Blackburn 1, Tottenham 2
Queens Park Rangers 1, Chelsea 0
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Swansea City 2
Aston Villa 1, West Bromwich Albion 2
Bolton 0, Sunderland 2
Newcastle United 1, Wigan Athletic 0
Liverpool 1, Norwich City 1
Sevilla's draw at Barca allowed both clubs to remain undefeated in La Liga this season, a feat matched by only one other club, which currently claims the top spot in the Spanish table after defeating Villarreal 3-0 on Sunday. No, it's not Real Madrid or Valencia. It's Levante, which has recorded six wins and only two draws on the season so far, and has yet to suffer a defeat. And with matches upcoming against mid-table clubs Real Sociedad and Osasuna, it's more than possible that the club could remain in first through the next two rounds before facing a stiff challenge on Nov. 6 at home to city rivals Valencia.
Real Betis 0, Rayo Vallecano 2
Real Sociedad 0, Getafe 0
Atletico Madrid 1, Mallorca 1
Osasuna 3, Real Zaragoza 0
Valencia 1, Athletic Bilbao 1
Villarreal 0, Levante 3
Racing Santander 0, Espanyol 1
Sporting Gijon 2, Granada 0
Malaga 0, Real Madrid 4
Barcelona 0, Sevilla FC 0
While AC Milan's come-from-behind victory was the most exciting match of the weekend in Serie A, it wasn't the one with the most impact on the shape of the Italian table. That match was Juventus' 2-2 home draw with Genoa, in which the hosts twice surrendered leads given to them by Alessandro Matri, and in the process surrendered their position at the top of the league. The result dropped Juve to third, behind leaders Udinese, which easily defeated Novara 3-0 on Sunday, and second-placed Lazio, which won 2-0 at Bologna.
Fiorentina 2, Catania 2
Juventus 2, Genoa 2
Lecce 3, AC Milan 4
Parma 1, Atalanta 2
Siena 2, Cesena 0
Inter Milan 1, Chievo 0
Cagliari 0, Napoli 0
Udinese 3, Novara 0
AS Roma 1, Palermo 0
Bologna 0, Lazio 2
Despite losing for just the second time all season, Bayern Munich still has a three-point lead in the Bundesliga, but the Bavarians will be looking over their shoulders after this weekend's results, which saw last year's champions Borussia Dortmund destroy Cologne 5-0. Dortmund started the season slowly, and continues to struggle in the UEFA Champions League, in which it lost 3-1 at Olimpiakos Wednesday, but the club looks to be finding its form in domestic play. The champions have now won four straight in the Bundesliga by a combined score of 13-1.
Bayer Leverkusen 0, Schalke 04 1
Hannover 96 2, Bayern Munich 1
Borussia Dortmund 5, FC Cologne 0
Hertha Berlin 0, Mainz 0
Kaiserslautern 1, SC Freiburg 0
Nurnberg 2, VfB Stuttgart 2
Hoffenheim 1, Borussia Moenchengladbach 0
Hamburg 1, VfL Wolfsburg 1
FC Augsburg 1, Werder Bremen 1
Like Man City in England, Paris St. Germain has been making a serious case for its first league title in decades. On Sunday, PSG got a brace from Nene to defeat promoted club Dijon 2-0 and solidify its position at the top of the Ligue 1 table. The club is three points better than Montpellier and four points ahead of last year's champions Lille, who seem to have recovered from their slow start to the season. The club came back from a goal down to beat perennial French powers Lyon 3-1 on Sunday.
AJ Auxerre 0, Stade Rennes 1
Paris St. Germain 2, Dijon FCO 0
Lille 3, Lyon 1
AS Nancy Lorraine 1, Nice 0
Bordeaux 1, Brest 1
Caen 1, Montpellier 3
Marseille 2, AC Ajaccio 0
Sochaux 1, Evian Thonon Gaillard 1
St. Etienne 1, Valenciennes 0
Lorient 0, Toulouse 0
What did you think of this week's results? Will Manchester City be able to take the Premier League title? Will Milan's epic comeback boost its title defense?