London: Manchester City secured a dramatic 3-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur to stay three points clear of Manchester United in England and Lionel Messi scored another hat-trick to keep Barca in touch with Real Madrid in Spain.   

Juventus have Milan for close company at the top of Serie A while in Germany, leaders Bayern Munich slipped up.   

England   

The two Manchester clubs pulled away from the chasing pack as leaders City beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 and United won 2-1 at Arsenal.   

City needed a last-gasp penalty from Mario Balotelli to grab the three points after seeing an earlier two-goal lead evaporate against third-placed visitors Spurs.   

Second-placed United added to the north London misery with goals from Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck sealing victory at the Emirates stadium after Robin van Persie had given Arsenal hope.   

The results left City three points clear of United with 54 points from 22 games, while Spurs sit third on 46 points. Chelsea are fourth with 41 points after being held to a 0-0 draw at promoted Norwich City.   

Spain   

La Liga leaders Real Madrid ended a miserable week with a morale-boosting 4-1 comeback win at home to 10-man Athletic Bilbao on Sunday which preserved their five-point lead over Barcelona.   

Barca, who beat Real in the King's Cup in the week, had trimmed Real's lead to two points when Lionel Messi's hat-trick helped the champions to a 4-1 win at Malaga.   

Real responded with a gritty performance against dangerous opponents to give themselves a lift ahead of Wednesday's Cup return leg at the Nou Camp.   

With half the season played, Real have 49 points from 19 games with Barca on 45. Valencia are nine behind in third after they conceded a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Osasuna and Levante are four points behind their city rivals in fourth after a 0-0 draw at bottom club Real Zaragoza.   

Italy   

Second-half goals from Stephan Lichtsteiner and Emanuele Giaccherini kept Juventus clear at the top in Serie A.   

Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted a brace as AC Milan triumphed at bottom side Novara 3-0 to stay a point behind Juve while third-placed Udinese edged past Catania and Inter Milan beat Lazio 2-1 to leapfrog the Romans into fourth. Francesco Totti also struck twice to set a league scoring record as resurgent AS Roma climbed to sixth by crushing Cesena 5-1.   

Germany   

League leaders Bayern Munich's surprise 3-1 defeat at Borussia Moenchengladbach on Friday as the Bundesliga re-started after the winter break gave the chance to champions Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 to join them on 37 points.   

Visitors Dortmund ruthlessly demolished Hamburg SV 5-1 with two goals each from Jakub Blaszczykowski and Robert Lewandowski to cut Bayern's lead to mere goal difference.   

Schalke also made the most of Bayern's slip-up, beating VfB Stuttgart 3-1 on Saturday to remain in the title hunt.   

Fourth-placed Gladbach cut the gap to the top to just one point with their win, continuing a dazzling season for a team that needed a relegation playoff last season to stay up.   

Netherlands  
 

Former England manager Steve McClaren made a successful comeback in the Dutch league as his Twente Enschede side thrashed RKC Waalwijk 5-0 with Luuk de Jong scoring twice.   

Twente are now three points behind leaders AZ Alkmaar who were held to a 1-1 draw by fourth-placed Ajax Amsterdam. PSV Eindhoven, second by one point, failed to move on top after a 1-1 draw at Utrecht.   

Portugal   

Benfica beat Gil Vicente 3-1 at home to keep their two-point lead at the top of the Portuguese Premier league.   

Strikers Oscar Cardozo and Rodrigo both scored before classy Argentine midfielder Pablo Aimar, who came off the bench, sealed the win with a fine strike in the 75th minute.   

Holders Porto, on 40 points, earned a well deserved 3-1 win over sixth-placed Vitoria Guimaraes.   

Portugal internationals Rolando and Joao Moutinho snatched one each and Colombia's James Rodriguez rounded off his side's fine performance by scoring from the spot in the 77th minute.

(Agencies)