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Liverpool, Barca and Inter stay top
December 08, 2008 12:59 IST
There were mixed fortunes for league leaders around Europe over the weekend with Barcelona, Inter Milan and Liverpool winning but Olympique Lyon and Hoffenheim going down to defeats.
Barcelona moved six points clear with an impressive 4-0 destruction of Valencia including a Thierry Henry [Images] hat-trick.
Second-placed Villarreal fought back from three down to draw 3-3 at home with Getafe.
Valencia stay third but are only ahead of Sevilla on goal difference after Manolo Jimenez's side, having led 3-1 at halftime, survived a fightback from champions Real Madrid [Images] to win 4-3 in a thriller at the Bernabeu.
Real's third defeat in four matches left them fifth nine points behind Barcelona and with morale low for next week's trip to face arch-rivals Barca at the Nou Camp.
The top six teams all won with leaders Liverpool, who beat Blackburn Rovers 3-1 at Ewood Park, remaining a point ahead of Chelsea, who won 2-0 at Bolton Wanderers.
It was Chelsea's 11th successive away win, breaking the record of 10 set by Tottenham Hotspur in 1960.
Third-placed Manchester United [Images] left it late before beating managerless Sunderland 1-0 at Old Trafford with a stoppage time goal from Nemanja Vidic, while Arsenal [Images] stayed fourth with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Wigan Athletic at the Emirates.
Aston Villa kept fifth place with an astonishing 3-2 win over Everton at Goodison Park where both teams scored in stoppage time. Hull City, sixth, beat Middlesbrough 2-1.
Champions Inter Milan remain six points clear after winning 3-0 at Lazio to chalk up their sixth consecutive league victory.
Second-placed Juventus beat Lecce 2-1 away from home with a last-gasp goal by Brazilian striker Amauri.
Injury-hit AC Milan, who like Juve have 30 points from 15 games, did not give any ground either, defeating Catania 1-0 at the San Siro thanks to Kaka's [Images] second-half header.
Last year's runners-up AS Roma continued their recovery from a terrible start by beating basement side Chievo Verona 1-0 away courtesy of French forward Jeremy Menez's first Serie A goal.
Champions Bayern Munich closed in on surprise league leaders Hoffenheim with a 2-1 victory over the newcomers thanks to a last-gasp strike by Luca Toni deep in stoppage time.
Hoffenheim, who only won promotion this year, are now ahead of Bayern only on goal difference.
Bayer Leverkusen climbed to third three points behind with a comfortable 3-1 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach. Stefan Kiessling scored a brace before Patrick Helmes notched his 12th goal of the season for Leverkusen.
Schalke made amends for their mid-week UEFA [Images] Cup defeat and a poor recent league run with a spirited 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin while Hamburg's Mladen Petric scored a brace to steer his team to a 2-1 win against Cologne and into fifth place.
Olympique Lyon's 2-1 defeat at strugglers Nantes kept the title race open.
Lyon have 34 points from 17 matches but are now only three points ahead of Olympique Marseille, who beat Nice 2-1.
Stade Rennes, who have not lost in 15 league matches, were held 1-1 at Caen and trail Lyon by four points.
Girondins Bordeaux moved up to fourth courtesy of a 2-1 win against bottom club Valenciennes.
A double by league top scorer Guillaume Hoarau sent Paris St Germain to fifth in a 3-1 defeat of Le Mans.
AZ Alkmaar registered a 2-0 home win over Heracles Almelo to stay top while second-placed Ajax Amsterdam, trailing by three points, came from behind at bottom side Volendam to win 2-1.
PSV Eindhoven hit four second half goals in 15 minutes, Otman Bakkal and Danko Lazovic both scoring twice, to come from two down at home to win 4-2 against Groningen.
Steve McClaren's Twente Enschede thrashed Sparta Rotterdam 6-2 to move into third, while Feyenoord's league woes continued following a humiliating 3-1 home defeat against lowly Graafschap Doetinchem.
Benfica went top for at least 24 hours when they thumped 10-man Maritimo 6-0, Honduras striker David Suazo and Nuno Gomes scoring twice each.
Benfica lead the standings for the first time since 2005 when they won the title, but Leixoes will regain first place if they win away to Vitoria Guimaraes on Monday.
Leaders Olympiakos Piraeus went six points clear with a 1-0 win over Levadiakos thanks to Argentine Fernando Belluschi's 28th-minute goal from compatriot Sebastian Leto's pass while second-placed PAOK Salonika were held 1-1 by Asteras Tripolis.
Panathinaikos won 2-1 away to Xanthi with goals from Brazilian Gilberto Silva and Croatian Ante Rukavinato to leapfrog over their opponents into third place but are still nine points behind the leaders.
AEK Athens moved into sixth place thanks to a lone strike from Ismael Blanco which gave them a 1-0 win over Panthrakikos.
There were contrasting fortunes for the Old Firm with leaders Celtic's 12-match winning run ending in a 2-0 defeat at Hibernian while Rangers beat bottom-of-the-table Hamilton 7-1.
Celtic stayed top with 43 points from 17 matches. Rangers narrowed the gap to four points, although they have played one more match.
Hibs took the lead when Celtic keeper Artur Boruc fumbled a 40-metre shot from John Rankin after 55 minutes before Colin Nish doubled the score in the 69th.
Rangers conceded a second-minute goal to James McArthur at Ibrox but came storming back and Kris Boyd scored a hat-trick.
Champions Dinamo Zagreb stayed in the driving seat ahead of the winter break after a 3-1 home win over neighbours NK Zagreb sent them four points clear at the top of the 12-team first division, which resumes in February.
Goals from Bosko Balaban, Brazilian midfielder Sammir and substitute Mario Mandzukic gave Dinamo a 3-0 lead before their former player Davor Vugrinec pulled one back for the visitors.
Dinamo's traditional rivals Hajduk Split were playing at third-placed Sibenik later on Sunday.
Champions Partizan Belgrade were held 1-1 at home by struggling city rivals Rad and saw their lead cut to three points after second-placed Vojvodina Novi Sad came from behind to win 2-1 at Hajduk Kula.
Milan Jovanovic cancelled out Adem Ljajic's early opener for Partizan while Dusan Tadic scored two late goals for Vojvodina, who entertain the league leaders on Wednesday in the last round of games before the winter break.
Former European Cup winners Red Star Belgrade stayed third, six points off the pace, with a 4-1 win at Jagodina.
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