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Rediff.com  » Sports » Europe: Top league leaders all win to stay ahead

Europe: Top league leaders all win to stay ahead

November 17, 2008 11:43 IST

The status quo remained the same in Europe's top leagues as Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Olympique Lyon and Bayer Leverkusen all won to remain at the top of their leagues.

Lyon enjoy the healthiest advantage after a win over last season's runners-up Girondins Bordeaux gave them a seven-point cushion in France while Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen retained slender goal difference leads in England and Germany.

ENGLAND

Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United all collected impressive victories but Arsenal's struggles continued with another home defeat - 2-0 at the hands of Aston Villa.

Chelsea won 3-0 at bottom club West Bromwich Albion with two goals for the league's leading scorer Nicolas Anelka and one for Jose Bosingwa, while Liverpool won 2-0 at Bolton Wanderers via Dirk Kuyt and Steven Gerrard.

Both clubs have 32 points, with Chelsea top on goal difference. Manchester United are third on 24 with a game in hand after thrashing Stoke City 5-0, helped by two for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Arsenal and Villa both have 23 after a Gael Clichy own goal and a Gabriel Agbonlahor shot gave Martin O'Neill's team the points.

SPAIN

It was a good weekend for Barcelona after none of the Primera Liga leaders' rivals in the top four won allowing the Catalans to open a three-point lead at the top of the table with a 2-0 victory at struggling Recreativo Huelva.

Real Madrid and Valencia both missed opportunities to take provisional top spot on Saturday after losses and Villarreal twice surrendered the lead to draw 2-2 at Malaga on Sunday.

The victory at Recreativo extends Barcelona's winning streak in the league to nine and the Catalans have 28 points from 11 matches ahead of unbeaten Villarreal in second on 25.

Valencia, Real and Sevilla all have 23 points, with the Andalusians in fifth, Real in fourth and Valencia in third, and Atletico are one place behind Sevilla on 17.

ITALY

Serie A leaders Inter Milan, who host Juventus next Saturday, ended the weekend a point clear after Zlatan Ibrahimovic's stunning brace secured a 2-0 win at Palermo.

AC Milan lie second after beating bottom side Chievo 1-0 at home thanks to Kaka's fortunate penalty.

Juve, who beat Genoa 4-1 on Thursday, are third with Lazio failing to overtake them after having the better chances but going down 1-0 to AS Roma in a feisty Rome derby.

Napoli also lost ground after a niggly 3-1 reverse at Atalanta while Fiorentina and Udinese are further off the pace following 1-0 defeats by Cagliari and Reggina respectively.

FRANCE

Ligue 1 top scorer Karim Benzema notched his ninth goal of the season to help Olympique Lyon move seven points clear at the top of the table with a 2-1 home win over Girondins Bordeaux.

Lyon lead the standings on 33 points from 14 games despite being dominated throughout a tense match while second-placed Olympique Marseille wasted a two-goal lead when they slumped to a 3-2 home defeat by Lorient on Saturday.

Stade Rennes moved up to third place, eight points off the pace, after they extended their unbeaten streak to 12 league games with a 2-1 home win over Monaco.

GERMANY

Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim moved three points clear at the top after Bayern Munich's five-match winning run came to an end with a careless display against Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Leverkusen enjoyed a great 2-1 win at home to rivals Schalke 04, with goals from in-form forwards Stefan Kiessling and Patrick Helmes, to keep hold of top spot on goal difference, after Hoffenheim saw off Wolfsburg 3-2.

Bayern should have stayed on their shoulders after taking a 2-0 lead away to Gladbach with goals from Luca Toni and Franck Ribery but they conceded twice in two crazy second-half minutes and ended up having to settle for a point.

With 13 matches played, Leverkusen and Hoffenheim have 28 points apiece, with Bayern third on 25. Werder Bremen rediscovered some form to move up from 11th to seventh on 20 points with a 3-1 win at home to Cologne on Sunday.

NETHERLANDS

Ajax Amsterdam brushed aside PSV Eindhoven with a 4-1 home victory to go top of the Dutch league with 25 points, ahead of NAC Breda on goal difference after they beat Heracles Almelo 3-0.

AZ Alkmaar slipped to fourth, two points behind the leaders, after being held to a 1-1 draw by Vitesse Arnhem. They trail Groningen, 3-0 winners over Graafschap Doetinchem, also on goal difference.

Heerenveen beat Utrecht 3-2 to climb to the fifth spot, while struggling Feyenoord remain 12th, 13 points behind the leaders after a 1-1 draw at Twente Enschede.

PORTUGAL

Unheralded Leixoes continued their excellent start to the season with a 1-0 win at Sporting on Saturday to stay top of the standings with 19 points from eight matches, one ahead Benfica.

Maritimo, who beat Trofense 2-0 on Friday, champions Porto, who defeated Vitoria Guimaraes 2-0 on Saturday, and Nacional Madeira, who drew 0-0 with Rio Ave on Sunday, share third spot with 14 points each.

Benfica consolidated second place when Brazilian defender Sidnei clinched a 1-0 home win over Estrela Amadora on Sunday.

SCOTLAND

Celtic retained their four-point lead over Rangers but left it late to secure a 2-1 win at Hamilton despite the league's bottom side having Martin Canning sent off late in the first half.

Paul Hartley got the winner four minutes from time after a Shunsuke Nakamura penalty cancelled out Richard Offiong's opener.

Early goals for Kris Boyd and Steven Davis enabled Rangers to beat St Mirren 2-1 and gain revenge for their only league defeat of the season to date.

GREECE

Olympiakos Piraeus moved four points clear at the top of the Greek Super League after every other team in the top eight failed to win at the weekend.

Olympiakos' 2-0 win over second-placed PAOK Salonika, thanks to goals from Christos Patsatzoglou and Diogo, put the champions four points clear with 23 points. Xanthi are level with PAOK on 19 after drawing 0-0 with lowly Panthrakikos.

RUSSIA

Brazil striker Vagner Love notched a second-half hat-trick to power CSKA Moscow to a 4-0 win over newly-crowned champions Rubin Kazan in a penultimate round of the Russian premier league season.

The league's top scorer took his tally for the season to 20 after scoring seven goals two games and sealing second place and a spot in next year's Champions League for the army club.

CSKA have 56 points from 29 matches, five points ahead of city rivals Dynamo Moscow, who held last year's champions Zenit St Petersburg to a 1-1 draw to stay in third place.

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