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United thrash Chelsea, Barca survive
January 12, 2009 16:00 IST
Manchester United [Images] had English Premier League leaders Liverpool looking anxiously over their shoulders after a 3-0 drubbing of Chelsea on Sunday put the champions just five points off the pace with two games in hand.
Barcelona left it late to win at Osasuna and go 12 points clear in Spain while David Beckham [Images] played almost all the match on his debut for AC Milan, a 2-2 draw at AS Roma.
Manchester United sent out an ominous warning to their title rivals in the Premier League with a 3-0 hammering of Chelsea on Sunday at Old Trafford.
Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney [Images] and Dimitar Berbatov were all on target against second-placed Chelsea who are yet to beat any of their main title rivals this season.
United are now just five points behind Liverpool with two games in hand and will be top if they beat Wigan Athletic at home on Wednesday and win at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday before leaders Liverpool host Everton next Monday.
Liverpool, who have 46 points, could only draw 0-0 at Stoke City on Saturday after manager Rafael Benitez opted to leave strikers Fernando Torres and Robbie Keane on the bench.
Aston Villa are fourth after a 2-1 defeat of bottom club West Bromwich Albion while Arsenal [Images] are fifth after Nicklas Bendtner scored a late winner in a 1-0 defeat of Bolton.
Barcelona extended their lead at the top of the Primera Liga to 12 points with a gritty 3-2 comeback win at bottom club Osasuna on Sunday.
Xavi and Lionel Messi [Images] scored in the last 10 minutes to prevent a shock defeat, which had looked unlikely when Samuel Eto'o opened the scoring with his 16th goal of the campaign, just before the break.
Champions Real Madrid [Images] are getting back in to their stride and the 3-0 win at Real Mallorca, their third consecutive victory, put them second ahead of Sevilla on goal difference.
Ten-man Sevilla came back to beat Deportivo Coruna 3-1 on Saturday, and Valencia slipped back to fourth after being held 3-3 by Villarreal in a thrilling match on Saturday.
Inter Milan saw their lead slashed to four points after the champions were held 1-1 at home by Cagliari and second-placed Juventus beat Siena 1-0 thanks to yet another Alessandro Del Piero free kick.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic [Images] salvaged a point for Jose Mourinho's side after Cagliari forward Robert Acquafresca, on loan from Inter, had fired the Sardinians ahead in the second half.
David Beckham played 89 minutes as third-placed AC Milan drew 2-2 at midtable AS Roma, Mirko Vucinic and Alexandre Pato grabbing braces for both sides.
Napoli clambered up to fourth with a 1-0 win at home to Catania while Fiorentina dropped back to sixth after a surprise 2-1 defeat at home to Lecce, who jumped out of the relegation zone.
Girondins Bordeaux went second just one point behind leaders Olympique Lyon with a crushing 4-0 win over Paris St Germain on Sunday that featured a superb goal from Yoann Gourcuff.
Last season's runners-up moved to 38 points from 20 games, one behind seven-times champions Lyon, who had to be content with a 1-1 home draw with mid-table Lorient on Saturday.
Surprise package Stade Rennes were in third, a further point adrift, after a 1-0 home win over Grenoble, also on Saturday.
Gifted France playmaker Gourcuff, already being compared with the great Zinedine Zidane [Images], showed his class when he took the ball with his back to the goal just outside the box, set himself up by rolling it back with the sole of his boot before beating two PSG defenders to score.
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