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Rediff.com  » Sports » Man United lose, Inter seven clear

Man United lose, Inter seven clear

March 23, 2009 11:28 IST

The English Premier League title race was thrown wide open with leaders Manchester United losing a second successive match and Liverpool thumping Aston Villa 5-0 to close the gap at the top to one point.

Barcelona maintained their six-point lead in Spain, while a double from Zlatan Ibrahimovic ensured Inter Milan stayed seven points clear in Serie A.

ENGLAND

Manchester United's lead at the top of the Premier League was cut to one point when they lost 2-0 at Fulham on Saturday and Liverpool crushed Aston Villa 5-0 on Sunday.

A penalty from Danny Murphy and a late goal from Zoltan Gera gave Fulham their first home win over United for 45 years and a miserable day for United was completed with Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney both sent off.

Liverpool beat Villa with Steven Gerrard scoring a hat-trick, which included two penalties with the other goals coming from Dirk Kuyt and Albert Riera.

United lead the table with 65 points from 29 games, one point more than Liverpool who moved on to 64 points having played 30 matches. Chelsea, who lost 1-0 at Tottenham Hotspur, are third on 61.

SPAIN

Leaders Barcelona hammered Malaga 6-0 at the Nou Camp on Sunday to ensure there was no change among the top four in the Primera Liga with 10 games left.

Barca maintained their six-point lead over chasing Real Madrid with a double from Samuel Eto'o and one each from Xavi, Lionel Messi, Daniel Alves and Thierry Henry.

Real had earlier made it 12 wins from 13 with a 3-0 home victory over Almeria, with two-goal Klaas Jan Huntelaar continuing his rich run of form in front of goal.

On Saturday, Frederic Kanoute's stylish hat-trick helped third-placed Sevilla to a 4-1 win over Real Valladolid. They are nine points short of Real, and six ahead of Villarreal who beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0.

ITALY

Zlatan Ibrahimovic bagged another double to help Inter Milan brush aside bottom club Reggina 3-0 and maintain their seven-point lead at the top with nine games remaining. The Swede converted a penalty and scored with a delightful chip.

Second-placed Juventus kept up the pressure with Vincenzo Iaquinta netting twice in a 4-1 win at depleted AS Roma.

AC Milan, in a distant third, drew 0-0 at Napoli while Genoa remained favourites for the fourth Champions League qualifying spot with a 2-0 home win over Udinese.

Chievo were the big winners at the bottom, moving six clear of trouble with a 1-0 victory over Palermo.

FRANCE

Olympique Lyon kept control over Ligue 1 in an unusually close title race as they ended a four-game losing streak in all competitions with a 2-0 victory at home to struggling Sochaux.

The seven-times champions lead the table on 56 points with nine games left, one ahead of Olympique Marseille, who went provisionally top with a 2-0 home win over Nantes on Saturday.

Girondins Bordeaux moved up to third, three points adrift, with a 3-0 demolition of bottom club Le Havre.

Toulouse, Lille and Paris St Germain are still in contention for the title on 52 points.

PSG were the only defeated side among those six top teams this weekend as they were crushed 4-1 at Toulouse.

GERMANY

Leaders Hertha Berlin saw their gap at the top slashed to just one point after losing 2-0 to VfB Stuttgart.

Bayern Munich, with midfielder Franck Ribery back in action, carved out a lacklustre 1-0 win against bottom club Karlsruhe thanks to a close-range goal from Jose Sosa to move a point behind Hertha.

VfL Wolfsburg are level on points with Bayern after their seventh consecutive league win, a 3-0 victory over Arminia Bielefeld. Hamburg joined Bayern and Wolfsburg on 48 points with a 2-1 win over Schalke 04.

NETHERLANDS

Steve McClaren's Twente Enschede registered a 2-1 home win over Groningen to stretch their unbeaten run to 18 matches and reduce the gap on leaders AZ Alkmaar to nine points with six matches remaining.

Alkmaar failed to score for the first time in 26 matches as they were held to a goalless draw by Feyenoord.

Defenders Thomas Vermaelen and Gregory van der Wiel scored for third-placed Ajax Amsterdam in a 3-0 win at NAC Breda to keep them three points behind Twente.

Fifth-placed PSV Eindhoven beat Vitesse Arnhem 2-0 for their first win in a month, while Graafschap Doetinchem stunned Heerenveen with a 2-0 home win to move one place off the bottom.

SCOTLAND

There was no change at the top of the Premier League with leaders Celtic being held to a 2-2 draw at Dundee United on Sunday, following Rangers' 2-2 draw with Hearts on Saturday.

With 29 matches played, Celtic are top with 64 points, followed by Rangers on 61. Hearts are a distant third with 49 points from 30.

Rangers led 2-0 with first-half goals from Kyle Lafferty and Barry Ferguson before Hearts came back with two goals in three minutes midway through the second half from Christos Karipidis and Ruben Palazuelos.

Celtic took the lead at Dundee United through Scott McDonald before Francisco Sandaza scored twice to put United ahead. Lee Naylor salvaged a point for Celtic nine minutes from time.

GREECE

Olympiakos Piraeus secured their 12th Greek championship in 13 years when they came from behind to beat Panionios 3-2.

With closest rivals Panathinaikos held to a 1-1 draw at Asteras Tripolis, Olympiakos hold an unassailable 11-point lead with three rounds remaining. It is their fifth consecutive title.

AEK Athens' 3-1 win over Levadiakos was overshadowed by crowd trouble, with police saying they had fired tear gas after clashing with around 60 fans inside the Olympic stadium in the Greek capital.

RUSSIA

Dynamo Moscow and Krylya Sovietov Samara are the only teams to have won both their opening matches after champions Rubin Kazan were held to a 0-0 draw at Spartak Nalchik.

Alexander Dimidko headed home an Alexander Kerzhakov cross on the hour to give Dynamo a 3-2 home win over Khimki, while Czech striker Jan Koller scored his first goal for Samara in a 1-0 home defeat of Amkar Perm.

Zenit St Petersburg beat Saturn Ramenskoye 2-1 thanks to a Fatih Tekke header midway through the second half and promoted Kuban Krasnodar earned a 1-0 home win over Spartak Moscow after missing two penalties.

ROMANIA

Dinamo Bucharest, looking for their third league title in the last five years, thumped bottom team Gloria Buzau 3-1 away and stretched their lead at the top to four points after Unirea Urziceni were beaten 1-0 at Gaz Metan Medias.

Rapid Bucharest moved into third, five points off the pace, with a 4-0 home rout of Otelul Galati while former European Cup winners Steaua Bucharest trail the leaders by nine points after a 2-2 draw at mid-table Arges Pitesti.

UKRAINE

Champions Shakhtar Donetsk closed the gap on leaders Dynamo Kiev to nine points after Croatia midfielder Darijo Srna curled in a superb free kick to give them a 1-0 home victory over Vorskla Poltava.

Dynamo, who qualified for the UEFA Cup last eight along with Shakhtar, can restore a 12-point lead over their traditional foes when they entertain Arsenal on Monday.

POLAND

Third-placed champions Wisla Krakow came from behind to register a 4-1 home drubbing of city foes Cracovia and close in on the leaders after the top two slipped up.

Wisla are three points behind front-runners Lech Poznan, who were held to a 0-0 draw at home to mid-table Arka Gdynia, and level with old enemies Legia Warsaw who laboured to a goalless home stalemate against bottom team Gornik Zabrze.

SERBIA

Champions Partizan Belgrade went 11 points clear at the top after two goals from the league's top scorer Lamine Diarra and a third by Almami Moreira handed them a 3-0 win over Hajduk Kula.

Red Star stayed second after scraping a 0-0 draw at city rivals Rad, while third-placed Vojvodina Novi Sad went level on points with them following a 1-0 success at Banat Zrenjanin.

Source:
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