|Neymar celebrates his goal (AFP)
The past weekend had some titanic European clashes in store but we were treated to more of the same really.
PSG blitzed past a hapless Monaco to add to new manager Thierry Henry’s woes. This game couldn’t have come at a worse time for Monaco, who are in an injury crisis and are only off bottom spot on goal difference.
Edinson Cavani helped himself to a hat trick before Neymar’s fourth to ensure PSG maintain their 13 point lead (13!) atop the French Ligue 1 table.
It’s incredible that this game had been a 1st versus 2nd fixture in the last two seasons and their relegation fight shows how much Monaco have fallen off this term. Injuries and an inadequate squad are mostly to blame as Henry continues to search for the first win of his managerial career.
|Gonzalo Higuain (GETTY IMAGES)
AC Milan squared off to Juventus in the Italian Serie A but Milan came up empty-handed after another routine Juventus win, Mario Mandzukic and Cristiano Ronaldo netted for the Bianconeri.
Gonzalo Higuain endured a horrible game for the hosts, missing a penalty and getting sent off against his former team. He continues to ‘bottle it’ in the biggest games and he let his emotions run over after seeing successive yellows for foul play and dissent then leaving the pitch in tears.
The gulf in class was obvious (look forward to a repeat of this phrase soon), with Milan offering little of a threat -especially with Higuain having such an off day- and Juventus have created a different level for themselves in Serie A, leading by six points at the moment and seemingly on course for an eighth scudetto
|Marco Reus scored twice for Dortmund. (GETTY IMAGES)
Borussia Dortmund have flipped the script on Bayern Munich’s dominance of the German Bundesliga after that thrilling 3-2 win in Der Klassiker.
BVB continue to impress in Germany and their renaissance coincides with Bayern’s decline this season; Saturday’s result felt like an official changing of guard and the Bundesliga can look forward to new champions since 2012.
Bayern have under-performing world class veterans in their side and shouldn’t be written off but BVB showed that they’re gunning for title and now hold a four point lead at the top of the table, seven ahead of fifth-placed Bayern.
Exciting times in Germany then, except you’re of the Bavarian parish.
|Manchester City players celebrate in the Derby. (GETTY IMAGES)
The eagerly-anticipated Manchester derby did little more than emphasize the huge gulf in class between the sides, or between Manchester City and the rest of the league.
United went into the game on a high after recent come-from-behind victories and that morale-boosting win at Juve last time out. A similar 3-2 win after being 2-0 down the last time these sides met further whet the appetite for this one but City asserted their superiority over United.
City did exactly what they needed to (as they always do and with so much control) by grabbing an early goal and seeking to kill the game with more goals but United battled to stay in the game until half time.
The second goal arrived through Aguero from a typically powerful finish from a tight angle on the right after a one-two passing combination, I have honestly lost count of how many times I’ve seen that move.
City’s moment of
Déjà vu arrived when Lukaku won a penalty that was converted to halve the deficit but City showed they have learnt their lessons and killed the game off with a third goal.
Pogba’s absence was devastating for United as his ball-carrying abilities would have been essential in getting the ball up the pitch to relieve his teammates from City’s relentless pressure when in possession and providing the attackers quality service. You just wouldn’t know how much his presence would have influenced the result, probably minimal, considering that City are better this season and dealt with the whole match superbly.
|African champions ES Tunis (GETTY IMAGES)
Esperance are CAF Champions league winners after a 3-0 win over Al Ahly in Rades on Friday. The Tunisian side got the goals required to turn around the tie after their crucial away goal in the first leg saw them win 4-3 on aggregate.
Justice was served after the first leg was marred by Video Assistant Referee (VAR) controversy in the awarding of two penalties to Al Ahly and the suspension of Walid Azaro for the second leg.
Esperance were determined to fight back, buoyed by their home support, they got the job done and were crowned African champions for the third time. They have to contest the small matter of the club world club next month in the United Arab Emirates and I wish them all the luck.