Premier League betting favourites Manchester United moved three points clear of Liverpool at the top of the table and still have a game in hand on Rafa Benitez's side after beating Portsmouth 2-0 at Old Trafford.
Ahead after nine minutes thanks to a Wayne Rooney goal, it was not until eight minutes from time that substitute Michael Carrick finally made the points safe for the Red Devils.
Meanwhile, Chelsea's outside title chances all but evaporated as dogged Everton earned a goalless draw on a tense night at Stamford Bridge.
In Spain, Barcelona are six points clear at the top of the table after thrashing Sevilla 4-0 at the Nou Camp, while Valencia improved their chances of qualifying for next season's Champions League by winning 2-1 at Real Betis thanks to David Villa's double.
Malaga beat Osasuna 3-2 in a game that saw four players sent off and Deportivo La Coruna beat Almeria 2-0.
In the World Snooker Championship, six-time champion Steve Davis crashed to a 10-2 first round defeat to Neil Robertson who now meets Ali Carter.
Elsewhere, Shaun Murphy beat Andrew Higginson 10-8 and will now play Hong Kong's Marco Fu in the last 16, while world number eight Ryan Day progressed to the second round with a comfortable 10-4 win over Stephen Lee.
Stephen Maguire holds a 6-3 lead over Jamie Burnett while two-time champion John Higgins has a 5-4 advantage against qualifier Michael Holt.
In cricket, Shahid Afridi took a career-best 6-38 as Pakistan beat Australia by four wickets in Dubai to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match one-day series.
Australia were dismissed for 168 before Pakistan reached their target with almost six overs remaining.
In the County Championship, England stars Stuart Broad and James Anderson grabbed all the headlines.
Broad took 4-35 for Nottinghamshire on the second day of their game against Worcestershire after scoring 60 runs with the bat.
Worcestershire were reduced to 140-4 at the close in reply to Nottinghamshire's first-innings total of 504.
Meanwhile, Anderson took 6-56 as Lancashire bowled Sussex out for 289 at Hove. When the Red Rose county replied they recovered from a dreadful start to close on 209-4.
Last year's champions Durham reached 303-7 thanks largely to Ian Blackwell's 95 on the first day of their game against Yorkshire, while at Edgbaston, Warwickshire's Andrew Miller took 3-70 in Hampshire's 310-7.
In Division Two, Gloucestershire lead Essex by 93 runs with one second-innings wicket remaining while Geraint Jones scored a century as Kent reached 257-3 in replay to Northamptonshire's 355.
Derbyshire reached 152-7 after dismissing Surrey for 131 while at Lord's Mark Cosgrove made a century as Glamorgan closed on 351-6 against Middlesex.