By NICK IUELE
Going undefeated for an entire season is near impossible, but Barcelona looked like they would never be beaten. However, even the greatest teams falter at times and the clock struck midnight on Barca’s amazing run this weekend.
Real Sociedad became the first club to beat Barcelona this term. Imanol Agirretxe sunk the La Liga table-toppers with a goal in second half stoppage time. After Barca went up 2-0 after 25 minutes, getting goals from Leonel Messi and Xavi, Sociedad got a double from Gonzalo Castro before Agirretxe struck the winner. Barca is still up nine points on the competition.
In England, American international Clint Dempsey helped Tottenham Hotspur salvage a point against Manchester United at White Hart Lane. Robin van Persie put the home side up in the 25th minute and it looked like all three points were going to United. Dempsey, however, came to the rescue with a strike in second-half stoppage time to hold the table-toppers.
Juventus got their first Serie A win of the second half with a comprehensive 4-0 thrashing of Udinese. Paul Pogba hit a brace, while Mirko Vucinic and Alessandro Matri had a goal each. Juve lost the first game after break and was held last weekend. The Old Lady is five points clear in the table.
Here are the rest of the results from Europe’s top leagues:
Chelsea got a big 2-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday. The Blues jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with goals from Juan Mata and Frank Lampard. Theo Walcott, who just signed a big extension with the Gunners, scored in the 58th minute but Arsenal ran out of time and the comeback fell short. Chelsea remains comfortably in third position.
Liverpool continued a run of good form with a 5-0 win over Norwich City this weekend. Jordan Henderson and Luis Suarez notched goals in the first half, while Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard hit the back of the net in the secon. The fifth goal was a Ryan Bennett own goal. The Reds are now on seventh place and firmly in the Europe conversation.
English Premier League scoreboard:
Chelsea 2, Arsenal 1
Tottenham Hotspur 1, Manchester United 1
Liverpool 5, Norwich City 0
Manchester City 2, Fulham 0
Reading 2, Newcastle 1
Swansea City 3, Stoke City 1
West Ham United 1, Queens Park Rangers 1
Sunderland 3, Wigan Athletic 2
West Bromwich Albion 2, Aston Villa 2
Monday: Southampton v Everton
AC Milan inched closer to a European qualification spot with a 2-1 win over Bologna. Giampaolo Pazzini had a second-half brace to lead Milan into sixth place. Bologna’s only goal came on a Phillippe Mexes own goal before the death.
Napoli, Lazio and Inter Milan all were held over the weekend, giving Juventus a bit of breathing room at the top.
Serie A scoreboard:
Fiorentina 1, Napoli 1
AC Milan 2, Bologna 1
Atalanta 1, Cagliari 1
Chievo Verona 1, Parma 1
Catania 2, Genoa 0
Siena 1, Sampdoria 0
Torino 2, US Pescara 0
AS Roma 1, Inter Milan 1
Palermo 2, Lazio 2
Juventus 4, Udinese 0
Atletico Madrid took advantage of a rare opportunity to gain ground on Barcelona with a 2-0 win over Levante. Adrian and Koke had the goals for Atletico. Falcao, who had a rare goalless match, limped off the field and could be out for a few weeks. Atletico has stretched their home winning streak to 18 games and is nine points back of Barca for first.
Real Madrid kept hold of a Champions League spot with a 5-0 win over Valencia. Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo were both at the double, while Gonzalo Higuian notched the fifth goal for Real.
La Liga scoreboard:
Osasuna 2, Deportivo La Coruna 1
Real Valladolid 2, Real Zaragoza 0
Atletico Madrid 2, Levante 0
Real Madrid 5, Valencia 0
Granada 2, Rayo Vallecano 0
Real Sociedad 3, Barcelona 2
Getafe 1, Sevilla FC 1
Malaga 1, Celta Vigo 1
Espanyol 3, Mallorca 1
Monday: Real Betis v Athletic Bilbao
Bayer Leverkusen passed a big test downing Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1. Sebastian Boenisch and Stefan Kiebling scored within two minutes of each other of the first half. Andre Schurrle notched the third goal in the 58th minute. Leverkusen hung on to second place with the win.
Bayern Munich got back to their winning ways with a 2-0 win over Greuther Furth. Mario Mandzukic scored both goals for Bayern in the victory. Bayern has a nine point lead on the competition.
Nurnberg 1, Hamburg SV 1
FC Augsburg 3, Fortuna Dusseldorf 2
Bayer Leverkusen 3, Eintracht Frankfurt 1
Bayern Munich 2, SpVgg Greuther Furth 0
Mainz 0, SC Freiburg 0
TSG Hoffenheim 0, Borussia Monchengladbach 0
VfL Wolfsburg 2, VfB Stuttgart 0
Borussia Dortmund 5, Werder Bremen 0
Schalke 04 5, Hannover 96 4
Paris Saint-Germain edged out Bordeaux 1-0. Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit the winner in the 43rd minute. The win put PSG back in the Ligue 1 driver’s seat, while Lyon suffered a scoreless draw and dropped to second.
Ligue 1 scoreboard:
Stade Rennes 2, Bastia 0
Nice 2, Lille 0
Paris St.-Germain 1, Bordeaux 0
Sochaux 1, Stade de Reims 0
Marseille 3, Montpellier 2
AC Ajaccio 1, Valenciennes 1
St. Etienne 1, Brest 0
Lorient 3, Troyes 2
Toulouse 2, AS Nancy Lorraine 1
Lyon 0, Evian Thonon Gaillard 0