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Soccer-European roundup-Barca in first loss, Arsenal stay clear

Reuters

LONDON, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Barcelona suffered their first league defeat of the season when they went down 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday to lose their three-point lead at the top of La Liga.

Arsenal stayed clear at the head of the Premier League with a 3-0 win at Cardiff City as Chelsea and Manchester City kept up their pursuit with victories over Southampton and Swansea City respectively.

Juventus and Bayern Munich continued to set the pace in Italy and Germany.

SPAIN

Barcelona suffered their first defeat of the season and were unable to restore their three-point lead over Atletico Madrid at the top when they crashed to a 1-0 reverse at Athletic Bilbao.

An ineffectual Barca followed up Tuesday's 2-1 Champions League loss at Ajax Amsterdam with another setback when Bilbao forward Iker Muniain turned in a Markel Susaeta cross in the 71st minute at the San Mames.

The Spanish champions barely mustered a shot on target against the Basques and it was only the second time in 15 matches this season they have dropped points after the 0-0 draw at Osasuna in October.

Gerardo Martino's side are level with Atletico on 40 points following the Madrid club's 2-0 win at promoted Elche.

Real Madrid, whose 4-0 drubbing of Real Valladolid at the Bernabeu included a hat-trick from record signing Gareth Bale, are three behind in third, with Bilbao fourth on 29 points thanks to their first La Liga win against Barca since May 2006.

ENGLAND

Arsenal maintained their four-point lead at the top of the Premier League with victory at Cardiff City, but the top three now has a more familiar feel after Chelsea and Manchester City both won to stay in pursuit.

Aaron Ramsey scored twice for the league leaders on his return to his former club in a 3-0 win for Arsene Wenger's Arsenal, who moved to 31 points from 13 matches.

Chelsea climbed to second with a 3-1 win over Southampton thanks to goals from Gary Cahill, John Terry and Demba Ba, and Manchester City surged up to third with a 3-0 win over Swansea City in which Samir Nasri scored twice.

Wayne Rooney also bagged a double for Manchester United as they twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Tottenham Hotspur, leaving the champions in eighth on 22 points and Spurs a point adrift in ninth.

Liverpool, who began the weekend in second, lost 3-1 at Hull City to slip to fourth.

GERMANY

Dutchman Arjen Robben scored twice to lead Bayern Munich to a 2-0 victory over Eintracht Braunschweig as last season's treble winners maintained their four-point lead at the top following their 39th consecutive league game without defeat.

Coach Pep Guardiola also equalled the best start by a Bundesliga coach, having gone 14 league games without losing since taking over, matching Kaiserslautern's former coach Karl-Heinz Feldkamp in 1978-79.

Second-placed Bayer Leverkusen, four points behind on 34, recovered from their midweek Champions League mauling by Manchester United to beat winless Nuremberg 3-0 with forward Stefan Kiessling netting his ninth goal of the campaign.

Borussia Dortmund, in third place a further three points behind on 31, also won when two late Robert Lewandowski penalties helped them overcome Mainz 05 3-1 as coach Joachim Klopp returned to the club where he began his career.

ITALY

Juventus went three points clear at the top of Serie A when Fernando Llorente scored in added time to give them a 1-0 win over Udinese, their sixth successive victory without conceding a goal.

The champions have 37 points from 14 games, three ahead of AS Roma who drew for the fourth time in a row when Kevin Strootman scored in the 90th minute in a 1-1 draw at Atalanta.

Napoli, third with 28 points, visit Lazio on Monday and fourth-placed Inter Milan drew 1-1 at home to Sampdoria.

AC Milan are ninth with 17 points after winning 3-1 at table-propping Catania to end a five-match winless streak in the league.

FRANCE

Zlatan Ibrahimovic took his tally to 11 goals in Ligue 1 this season converting two penalties as Paris St Germain hammered Olympique Lyon 4-0 to stay firmly on top of the table.

Ibrahimovic, who last season became the first player in 20 years to net 30 league goals in a season, is now the leading scorer with one more goal than team mate Edinson Cavani.

PSG have 37 points from 15 games, four ahead of second-placed Lille, who recorded a 10th consecutive clean sheet when they won 1-0 at neighbours Valenciennes.

Monaco are third on 33 after Colombian James Rodriguez made up for compatriot Radamel Falcao's absence with a brilliant performance and the opening goal to lead them to a 2-0 victory over Stade Rennes.

SERBIA

Champions Partizan Belgrade beat Spartak Subotica 2-0 thanks to a Milos Jojic double to stay top a point ahead of bitter city foes Red Star, who kept up the pressure with a 2-1 win at OFK Belgrade.

Under-21 international midfielder Jojic drove in a penalty and then curled home a superb free kick as Partizan, who are chasing a record seventh successive league title, stayed in the driving seat with one round to go before the December-March winter break.

A Milos Ninkovic penalty gave Red Star the win at their cross-town rivals after OFK forward Aleksandar Cavric had cancelled out an early opener by the league's scorer Dragan Mrdja, who stabbed in his ninth league goal of the season on a frozen pitch.

Red Star midfielder Milos Ninkovic hit the woodwork with a piledriver from 25 metres and then nursed a sore knee with a chunk of snow by the touchline, as the cold and wet Balkan winter began to bite. (Editing by Rex Gowar)

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