Across the Atlantic: PSG and Celtic stumble while other big sides win comfortably

Jasper Juinen

Most of the big sides outside of Europe's big four won comfortably this weekend, but two of the biggest stumbled ahead of big Champions League encounters.

This weekend's action in Europe was relatively routine, with a lot of easy wins for big sides. The teams at the top of the table in Portugal, Russia, Turkey, the Netherlands and Ukraine all ran out comfortable winners, but there were upsets in France and Scotland. Paris Saint-Germain disappointed hopeful home fans, while Celtic dropped points for the second straight match.

Ibra was kung fu fighting

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been a magnificent signing for Paris Saint-Germain, scoring 12 goals between Ligue 1 and the Champions League, but he was the primary scapegoat after PSG's 2-1 loss to Saint-Etienne.

The visitors took the lead after 55 minutes, on an own goal by PSG defender Mamadou Sakho. Fabien Lemoine set up the chance with a through ball to substitute striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose cross deflected off Sakho and into the back of the net. In the 71st minute, Ibrahimovic seriously hindered his team's chances of making a comeback with a perfectly executed kung fu kick on Stephane Ruffier.

Aubameyang scored two minutes later, sealing the win for Saint-Etienne, who jumped up to sixth place. Guillaume Hoarau pulled one back for PSG, but it was way too little, too late.

PSG are still top of the table in Ligue 1, but the two teams directly behind them both have a game in hand. Olympique Lyonnais are one point back, while Olympique Marseille are tied with PSG on points, but behind them on goal differential. Both Lyon and Marseille won their matches comfortably over the weekend.

CSKA stay top in Russia with dramatic victory

It took quite a bit of luck at the end, but CSKA Moscow came away victorious from their local derby against Lokomotiv Moscow on Sunday. Their 2-1 victory, captured in the second minute of stoppage time, keeps them on top of the Russian Premier League table for another week.

Rasmus Elm opened the scoring with an absolutely stellar free kick from 35 yards out. CSKA's lead didn't stand long, with Andrey Eshchenko netting an equalizer for Lokomotiv just four minutes later, on a shot that took a wicked deflection.

In the second half, Dmitriy Tarasov picked up a second yellow card and was sent off, but it took CSKA until the very end of the match to make use of their man advantage. Pontus Wernbloom was the man who scored their equalizer, poking home the rebound after a shot by Sergei Ignashevich. The initial shot took an incredible deflection, much like the shot that Eshchenko scored on, giving Dario Kresic no chance to catch the ball.

All of CSKA's main rivals in Russia also won their matches to keep pace at the top of the table. Anzhi trail by one point, while Zenit trail by three. Spartak Moscow are lurking in fourth place, eight points back of the leaders.

All chalk in Turkey, Holland and Portugal

There wasn't a whole lot to see this week in the Eredivisie, the Turkish Super Lig or Portuguese Liga, as the top sides easily defeated inferior opposition. In Turkey, all of Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas won their matches.

FC Twente thrashed Feyenoord 3-0 at home to stay top of the Eredivisie, and PSV sit just one point behind them after they destroyed Hercules, 4-0. Ajax, who probably had one eye on Champions League, lost 2-0 at home to Vitesse, though that's not much of an upset given Vitesse's fantastic form and their stable of Chelsea loanees.

Porto's Colombian stars Jackson Martinez and James Rodriguez both netted braces in a 5-0 thrashing of Maritimo, while Benfica comfortably downed Vitória Guimarães, 3-0. Braga recorded a win as well to keep things mildly interesting, while struggling Sporting Lisbon lost again to fall to 13th.

The Ukranian Premier League: The best league you don't watch

Over the last couple of years, the Ukranian Premier League has quietly developed into a league with four very legitimate teams. Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo Kiev are proving their worth in the Champions League this year, but there are a couple of other very good sides in that league as well, and they played each other on Saturday.

In a massive match with potential Champions League implications, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk defeated Metalist Kharkiv 2-0 to maintain a cushion between themselves and both Metalist and Dynamo Kiev. Ruslan Rotan and Giuliano scored the goals to keep them in second place, a Champions League playoff round spot in Ukraine.

Elsewhere, Shakhtar Donetsk rested four of their stars in preparation for their trip to Stamford Bridge and won anyway, because they were playing last-placed Metalurh Zaporizhya.

What on earth happened to Club Brugge?

Club Brugge started their season with six wins and four draws from their first 10 domestic matches, which was good enough to put them top of the table in the Belgian Pro League. Since then, they've dropped four consecutive matches in the league, and have dropped all the way down to eighth place in just one month. This week's loss came at home to new table-toppers Zulte-Waregem, who won 1-0 on a goal by Eden Hazard's little brother Thorgan.

One Scandinavian league ends, while another winds down

Congratulations to IF Elfsborg, the champions of the Swedish Allsvenskan. The title is the club's first since 2006. They drew Åtvidaberg, which was good enough for them to hold onto the top spot in the league, thanks to Mälmo's loss to AIK.

In Norway, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Molde drew away to Tromso, while Stromsgodset defeated Rosenborg. With two rounds to play, Molde leads Stromsgodset by one point. Rosenborg, who now trail by four points, probably had their title chances killed off with this week's loss.

Heartbreak in Bucharest, as Dinamo fall apart against Steaua

Dinamo Bucharest took a stunning first half lead in their local derby against table-toppers Steaua Bucharest, but the home side rallied back late to assert their dominance over their rivals and the rest of the league in a 3-1 win. Marius Alexe put Dinamo up just before the break on a great counter-attack, but a 62nd minute penalty got Steaua back in the game. Raul Andre Rusescu converted, then went on to score the winner from open play in the 83rd minute. Lukasz Szukala added the exclamation point, heading in a corner.

Are Celtic still top of the SPL?

Barely! They drew away to Dundee United by allowing two goals after the 88th minute. Gary Mackay-Steven, who might have a higher level of football in his future, fired his side back into the game in the 89th minute. Dundee United stole a point in the 93rd minute, thanks to an own goal by Efe Ambrose. Celtic are now tied with Hibernian on points on top of the SPL table.

Stuff we covered in depth over the weekend

English Premier League: Manchester United down Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle draw

La Liga: Valencia end Atleti's run, Real and Barca win comfortably

Serie A: Inter end Juve's unbeaten run in derby, Lazio get embarrassed

Bundesliga: Bayern Munich expand their lead at the top

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