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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football round-up: Liverpool, Atletico maintain title bids

Football round-up: Liverpool, Atletico maintain title bids

April 21, 2014 11:31 IST

Football round-up: Liverpool, Atletico maintain title bids

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Liverpool opened a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League by beating Norwich City 3-2 after title rivals Chelsea slipped up against Sunderland, ending manager Jose Mourinho's long unbeaten home league record.

Atletico Madrid stayed on course for a surprise championship triumph in Spain with a 2-0 win over Elche that kept them four points clear at the summit while Barcelona stayed in touch with a 2-1 comeback win over Athletic Bilbao.

Juventus moved closer to a third straight Serie A crown with a 1-0 victory over Bologna, Paris St Germain won the French League Cup by defeating Olympique Lyon 2-1 and Benfica clinched a first Portuguese title since 2010.

ENGLAND

Liverpool moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League with three matches remaining after a 3-2 win over Norwich City on Sunday, capitalising on Chelsea's shock 2-1 defeat by bottom club Sunderland the previous day.

Fabio Borini, on loan from Liverpool, scored the winner for Sunderland from the penalty spot eight minutes from time, inflicting on Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho a first home league defeat in 78 matches in charge of the club over two spells.

Liverpool's win, courtesy of two Raheem Sterling goals and Luis Suarez's 30th league strike of the season, moved them to 80 points, five ahead of Chelsea and nine more than third-placed Manchester City who play West Bromwich Albion on Monday and have two matches in hand.

Everton ensured the return of David Moyes to Goodison Park ended badly when his Manchester United side lost 2-0.

Arsenal remain in fourth place, one point ahead of Everton, after a 3-0 win at Hull City in a dress-rehearsal for next month's FA Cup final.


Image: Liverpool players celebrate a goal during their match against Norwich City
Photographs: Michael Regan/Getty Images

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Atletico Madrid firmly on course for a surprise title triumph

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SPAIN

Atletico Madrid stayed firmly on course for a surprise title triumph when a Miranda header and Diego Costa's late penalty secured a 2-0 win for the leaders at home to Elche on Friday.

Lionel Messi smashed in a superb free kick to complete a 2-1 comeback victory for injury-hit Barcelona at home to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday that lifted them above Real Madrid into second and kept alive their slim hopes of catching Atletico.

Aritz Aduriz fired fourth-placed Bilbao ahead five minutes into the second half, Pedro levelled in the 72nd minute and Messi struck the winner three minutes later when he drove the ball powerfully into the net, the Argentina forward's 26th goal of the campaign.

With four matches left including a trip to Barca on the final day of the season, Atletico top the standings on 85 points. Barca are second on 81, two ahead of Real, who have a game in hand.

FRANCE

Monaco delayed Paris St Germain's march to the Ligue 1 title after Dimitar Berbatov's cheeky goal earned them a 1-0 win against neighbours Nice on Sunday to cement second place.

Bulgarian striker Berbatov casually lobbed David Ospina from the edge of the box in the fifth minute to put his side on 72 points with four games left.

Claudio Ranieri's side trail leaders PSG by seven points with the French champions playing their game in hand against Evian Thonon Gaillard on Wednesday.

PSG won the League Cup by beating Olympique Lyon 2-1 thanks to an Edinson Cavani double on Saturday.


Image: Diego Costa of Atletico de Madrid celebrates scoring their second goal against Elche
Photographs: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

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Juventus move closer to a third consecutive Serie A title

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ITALY

Juventus moved closer to a third consecutive Serie A title when a long-range Paul Pogba goal beat a dogged Bologna side 1-0 to keep them eight points clear of AS Roma at the top with four games to play.

Juve also maintained a 100 percent home record this season after 17 games.

Roma made sure of secured second spot and a Champions League place by winning 1-0 at Fiorentina with a Radja Nainngolan goal.

Juventus, who visit Roma on the penultimate day of the championship, have 90 points, with Roma on 82 and Napoli on 68 after a 1-1 draw with Udinese.

AC Milan, making a late charge for European football, beat Livorno 3-0 for their fifth consecutive win.

GERMANY

Second-placed Borussia Dortmund made sure of a place in the Champions League group stage next season when a 4-2 win over Mainz 05 guaranteed them a top-three finish in the Bundesliga.

Bayern Munich, who have already wrapped up the title, won for the first time in four league games as they beat bottom club Eintracht Braunschweig 2-0 away with goals from Claudio Pizarro and substitute Mario Manduzkic.

The bottom three all lost at home leaving Hamburg, the only ever-present club in the Bundesliga's 51-year history, in 16th, the relegation playoff spot, and Nuremberg and Braunschweig in the drop zone.

Hamburg crashed 3-1 to VfL Wolfsburg and Nuremberg were thumped 4-1 by Bayer Leverkusen who stayed in fourth, the Champions League playoff spot. VfB Stuttgart pulled four points clear of Hamburg with a 3-1 win over Schalke 04.

PORTUGAL

Benfica clinched their first Portuguese league title since 2010 when the hosts beat bottom-of-the-table Olhanense 2-0 with a double from forward Lima on Sunday.

The 30-year-old Brazilian, a little-known journeyman until he joined Benfica two years ago, broke the deadlock in the 57th minute and added a second goal three minutes later helped by a blunder from goalkeeper Vid Belec.

Benfica's 11th successive league win gave them an unassailable seven-point lead over second-placed Sporting with two games to play.

Sporting's 1-0 win at Belenenses guaranteed them second place and a spot in next season's Champions League group stage.


Image: Paul Pogba (right) of Juventus celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Bologna
Photographs: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

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