Grant Holt and substitute Simeon Jackson scored a hat-trick apiece as the Championship's second-placed side, Norwich City, thrashed Scunthorpe United 6-0 to give them a four-point cushion over Cardiff in third. The Iron slump to the bottom after the first match of Alan Knill's reign as manager.
Goals by Jay Bothroyd, Dekel Keinan, Paul Quinn and Peter Whittingham saw Cardiff power to a 4-0 win over Derby County and move above Swansea City to third place after the Swans lost 2-1 at Preston North End. Iain Hume scored both goals as Preston moved off the bottom. Nottingham Forest's Chris Cohen was sent off 10 minutes before half-time at Elland Road which turned the contest in Leeds United's favour. Second-half goals for Jonathan Howson, Luciano Becchio and two by Max Gradel saw Nigel Grayson's men win 4-1 to stay fifth.
Shane Long scored both goals, one a penalty, in Reading's 2-0 defeat of Portsmouth which lifted the Royals into the sixth play-off place, but Burnley's play-off hopes suffered a setback after a 2-1 home defeat by Ipswich. Steve Morison's first-half rocket from just outside the penalty area saw Millwall win 1-0 at Hull to go eighth.
Crystal Palace are seven points above the bottom three after James Vaughan's late penalty earned a 2-1 home win against Barnsley. "I am looking forward now," Palace manager Dougie Freedman said. "I have a group of players who can finish three or four places higher than we are."
After seven games without a win, Coventry City lifted the gloom and uncertainty around the club with a 2-0 win over Watford, their first under caretaker manager Andy Thorn. Ayegbeni Yakubu's hat-trick for Leicester City against former club Middlesbrough earned only a point for the Foxes in a 3-3 draw. Bristol City made it six wins in seven matches after a 1-0 defeat of Doncaster.
Leagues One and Two
League One leaders Brighton were held to a 2-2 draw at Rochdale and Huddersfield, second, won 2-0 at Tranmere to cut the lead to 11 points. In the battle at the foot of League Two, Steve Kabba scored all four as Barnet won 4-1 at Burton. Crewe ran riot as Clayton Donaldson and Joel Grant both scored hat-tricks in the 8-0 humiliation of Cheltenham.
Rangers missed the chance to go top of the Premier when David Goodwillie's late goal earned Dundee United a 3-2 win at Ibrox.
Barcelona capitalised on Real Madrid's shock 1-0 home defeat by Sporting Gijon to open up an eight-point lead at the top of the Spanish League by winning 1-0 at Villarreal. Gerard Pique neatly put in the only goal.
In Italy, Milan are similarly poised to take the title after beating Internazionale 3-0 in the Milan derby. Alexandre Pato set them on their way after just 44 seconds and added a second in the second half before Antonio Cassano completed the rout with a last-minute penalty.