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Rediff.com  » Sports » Real surge nine clear, Inter held

Real surge nine clear, Inter held

January 28, 2008 12:28 IST

Real Madrid took full advantage of slip-ups from the chasing pack by beating Villarreal 3-2 to move nine points clear in the Spanish Primera Liga on Sunday.

Inter Milan saw their Serie A lead cut to five points in Italy after they were held to a goalless draw by Udinese.

SPAIN

Real Madrid extended their lead at the top of the Primera Liga to nine points with a 3-2 victory over Villarreal at the Bernabeu on Sunday, after Barcelona were held 1-1 at Athletic Bilbao.

Brazil forward Robinho twice put Real in front only for Giuseppe Rossi and Joan Capdevila to level each time in an open game full of attacking football.

Substitute Wesley Sneijder struck the winner to make it eight consecutive wins for runaway Real.

Barcelona took the lead against Bilbao through Bojan Krkic but failed to kill off the game and were hanging on at the end after Lilian Thuram put the ball in his own net 11 minutes from time.

Real have 53 points, Barca 44 and third-placed Villarreal 38. Fourth-placed Atletico, on 37, lost 1-0 at Real Mallorca while Espanyol, a point back in fifth, lost 2-1 at home to Real Betis.

FRANCE

An injury-time freekick from France striker Karim Benzema earned Olympique Lyon a 1-1 draw at neighbours St Etienne that took the six-times champions four points clear at the top of Ligue 1 on Sunday.

A blunder from France goalkeeper Gregory Coupet enabled forward Batefimbi Gomis to open the scoring for St Etienne just before halftime but Benzema struck back with his 15th league goal this season virtually on the final whistle.

Lyon move to 46 points from 23 games, one ahead of Girondins Bordeaux, who lost 1-0 at Lorient earlier on Sunday.

Nancy stayed third after a goalless draw at Auxerre on Saturday.

NETHERLANDS

Danny Koevermans scored his 11th goal of the season in injury time to earn leaders PSV Eindhoven a hard-fought 2-1 home win over bottom side Excelsior Rotterdam on Saturday.

With 46 points from 21 matches PSV are five points clear of Ajax Amsterdam, their opponents on Wednesday.

Ajax were held to a 2-2 draw by Vitesse Arnhem, who opened the scoring through Mads Junker and also had Harrie Gommans on target after Urby Emanuelson and Luis Suarez netted early in the second half for Ajax on Sunday.

Feyenoord remain third on 40 points following a 1-1 draw at home against Groningen.

Marcus Berg opened the scoring for Groningen netting a rebound but on the stroke of halftime an own goal by Mark Jan Fledderus brought Feyenoord level.

ITALY

Inter Milan had their Serie A lead cut to five points after the champions could only draw 0-0 at Udinese and second-placed AS Roma won 1-0 at home to Palermo.

Inter coach Roberto Mancini was still pleased with the draw, the first time Inter have failed to win in the league in nine games, after left winger Cesar was dismissed on 21 minutes.

Juventus are 10 behind Inter in third after the league's top scorer David Trezeguet netted twice in a 3-1 win at Livorno.

Brazilian teenager Pato also grabbed a brace in AC Milan's 2-0 win over Genoa, which moved the European champions up to seventh.

ENGLAND

The magic of the FA Cup was to the fore this weekend as minor league Havant and Waterlooville enjoyed a day to remember as they twice led Liverpool at Anfield before eventually losing their fourth-round tie 5-2.

Liverpool, though, rested several first-choice players and the debate about the value of the competition will rage on as only six Premier League teams advanced to Monday's fifth-round draw, including the "big four".

Manchester United, seeking to extend their record number of FA Cup triumphs to 12, beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 with two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, holders Chelsea won 2-1 at Wigan Athletic while Arsenal beat Newcastle United 3-0 in all-Premiership ties.

Derby County and Manchester City were beaten by Championship (second division) opposition.

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