Football was mourning Gary Speed after the Wales manager was found dead at his home in Chester. The 42-year-old former midfielder won 85 international caps and had been national team boss for 10 games.
Speed helped Leeds United win the 1992 First Division title, the season before the Premier League was formed, and went on to play for Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United.
With Speed’s death putting the weekend’s action into stark perspective, Manchester City remained five points clear at the top of the Premier League as they and second-placed Manchester United were held to 1-1 draws by Liverpool and Newcastle respectively.
Vincent Kompany put the leaders ahead midway through the first half at Anfield but Joleon Lescott scored an own goal two minutes later. In the second half City striker Mario Balotelli was sent off for two bookings. United could not see off 10-man Newcastle, who stayed fourth, at Old Trafford as Demba Ba converted a controversial penalty after Javier Hernandez put the hosts in front.
Tottenham, who have a game in hand, closed the gap on United to two points with 3-1 win at West Brom. Chelsea remained fifth with a 3-0 defeat of Wolves. Arsenal, a place behind Liverpool in seventh, were held 1-1 by Fulham.
Aston Villa played out a goalless draw with Swansea, Everton beat Bolton 2-0, Norwich saw off QPR 2-1, Stoke defeated bottom side Blackburn 3-1 and Sunderland lost 2-1 to Wigan.
In Formula One’s last race of the season, the Brazilian Grand Prix, Mark Webber took his first chequered flag of the year.
World champion Sebastian Vettel led but suffered gearbox problems, having to settle for second. Jenson Button held off Fernando Alonso to clinch third.
Roger Federer won Tennis’ last event of the year, the ATP World Tour finals in London, beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-7, (6-8), 6-3 at the O2 Arena.
In Rugby Union, Harlequins made it nine Premiership wins from nine by thrashing Newcastle 39-8. They lead second-placed Saracens, who lost 30-8 to fourth-placed Northampton, by nine points. London Irish, in third, beat Wasps 21-17, Leicester saw off Gloucester 19-14, Exeter defeated Sale 30-23 and Worcester beat Bath 16-7.
In international action, Australia thumped the Barbarians 60-11 at Twickenham although Rugby League star Sam Tomkins scored a late try for the Baa-Baas.