Published January 08, 2015
Starved of success for decades before the influx of Abu Dhabi cash in 2008, Manchester City collected a third trophy inside three years on Sunday. Exquisite goals from Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri in the space of two minutes during the second half enabled City to come from behind to beat Sunderland 3-1 and lift the League Cup.
On the day English football's first trophy of the season was handed out, the destination of the Spanish league title remained thrillingly uncertain as the Madrid derby was drawn.
Here is a look at the action from the leading leagues in Europe on Sunday:
Two exceptional moments early in the second half swung the game in City's favor. Toure curled in a shot nonchalantly from 30 yards, with the ball looping into the corner of the net, and Nasri scored with a first-time volley from a cross. Jesus Navas ensured there would be no extra time by adding a third from close range in the 90th minute.
There were three Premier League matches. Roberto Soldado scored for the first time in more than two months as fifth-place Tottenham beat relegation-threatened Cardiff 1-0. Aston Villa moved further from danger by beating Norwich 4-1. Norwich is sandwiched in 15th place between Swansea and Crystal Palace, who drew 1-1.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a late equalizer as Real Madrid escaped a bruising derby defeat at title rival Atletico Madrid with a 2-2 draw. Madrid, which had led through Karim Benzema, stayed three points ahead of Atletico while Barcelona can cut its deficit to Madrid to one point with a victory against Almeria later Sunday.
Third-place Napoli was held to a 1-1 draw at relegation-threatened Livorno in Serie A but moved seven points ahead of Fiorentina in the race for the final Champions League spot. In the late games, Fiorentina was hosting Lazio, and leader Juventus was visiting struggling AC Milan.
Hoffenheim scored three goals in quick succession late in the first half in a 6-2 rout of Wolfsburg, which was prevented from overtaking fourth-place Schalke. Stuttgart fell to its eighth consecutive defeat and is now one place above the danger zone, throwing away the lead to lose 2-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Salomon Kalou scored a hat trick — including the winner from the penalty spot — as Lille stayed third in the league with a 3-2 win at last-place Ajaccio. The goals had already been scored by the time Lille was reduced to 10 men in the 80th minute when defender Adama Soumaoro was sent off for a two-footed lunge on Dennis Oliech.