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Rediff.com  » Sports » Round up: Barca forced to wait; Juve, PSG close in

Round up: Barca forced to wait; Juve, PSG close in

Last updated on: April 29, 2013 09:12 IST

Barcelona's title celebrations were put on hold

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Barcelona must wait a bit longer before they can claim their La Liga crown after drawing 2-2 with Athletic Bilbao, while Paris St Germain and Juventus continued to close in on the French and Italian titles.

With Manchester United having already secured the Premier League title, the focus has switched to the battle for Champions League places with Chelsea jumping above Arsenal into third place.

Spain

Barcelona's title celebrations were put on hold for another week after Athletic Bilbao grabbed a last-gasp equaliser to draw 2-2 at home to the La Liga leaders on Saturday.

A brilliant run and shot from substitute Lionel Messi and a strike from Alexis Sanchez put Barca 2-1 up before Ander Herrera struck in the 90th-minute to leave Tito Vilanova's side on 85 points with five games to play.

Their lead was cut back to 11 points by second-placed Real Madrid who triumphed 2-1 in the city derby at third-placed Atletico Madrid. An own-goal from Juanfran and an Angel Di Maria strike handed a weakened Real side the victory.

Atletico have 68 points, 10 ahead of fourth-placed Real Sociedad who were 4-2 victors over Valencia on Sunday, when Imanol Agirretxe scored two and set up one in a pulsating clash.


Image: Athletic Bilbao's Gorka Iraizoz (left) clashes with Barcelona's Alexis Sanchez
Photographs: Vincent West/Reuters

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Van Persie hogs limelight

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England

Reading and Queens Park Rangers were relegated from the Premier League after a 0-0 draw condemned both to the trapdoor after a long season of struggle.

Neither side are able to get enough points to overhaul Aston Villa, who are one place above the drop zone.

Chelsea took the initiative in the battle for a top-four finish and Champions League places after a 2-0 win over Swansea moved them up to third on 65 points.

Arsenal dropped one place to fourth on 64 after a 1-1 draw at home to champions Manchester United, for whom Robin van Persie scored against his former club. Tottenham, who drew 2-2 at Wigan, are fifth on 62.


Image: Robin van Persie (left) celebrates
Photographs: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

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Bayern Munich set a Bundesliga record

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Germany

Already crowned champions two weeks ago, Bayern Munich set a Bundesliga record for the most points when they moved on to 84 following their 1-0 victory over Freiburg on Saturday.

Xherdan Shaqiri scored the only goal as coach Jupp Heynckes rested several key players ahead of their Champions League semi-final second leg in Barcelona on Wednesday.

Fellow Champions League semi-finalists Borussia Dortmund also deployed a second-string team, with 10 changes to the one that crushed Real Madrid 4-1 on Wednesday, to beat Fortuna Dusseldorf 2-1 and stay eight points clear in second place.

A controversial Stefan Kiessling penalty gave third-placed Bayer Leverkusen a 1-0 win over troubled Werder Bremen and lifted them to 56 points, with Schalke 04 in fourth place seven behind, thanks to Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's superb hat-trick in their 4-1 demolition of Hamburg SV.


Image: Bayern Munich
Photographs: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

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Juventus extend their lead at the top

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Italy

Juventus won 2-0 at neighbours Torino to stay 11 points clear of Napoli at the top and can wrap up their second successive Serie A title against Palermo next week.

Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio scored in the last five minutes as Juventus won their seventh successive league game, leaving them with 80 points from 34 matches. Napoli beat Pescara 3-0 away.

AC Milan twice came from behind to beat Catania 4-2 and cling on to third place, the Champions League playoff spot. Giampaolo Pazzini scored twice and Mario Balotelli won and converted a late penalty at the San Siro.

Milan stayed one point clear of Fiorentina, who kept up the pressure with a 3-0 win at Sampdoria.


Image: Juventus' Arturo Vidal (left) celebrates with his coach Antonio Conte
Photographs: Giorgio Perottino/Reuters

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Paris St Germain continued their march

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France

Paris St Germain continued their march towards their first French league title since 1994 when Javier Pastore's goal gave them a 1-0 win at Evian Thonon Gaillard in a heated Ligue 1 game on Sunday.

PSG finished the game with nine men after David Beckham and Marco Verratti were sent off in the closing stages.

A mass brawl erupted after the final whistle and Saber Khlifa of Evian was shown a straight red card. PSG's Salvatore Sirigu was also expected to be handed a red card but referee Olivier Thual never managed to show it to him as the keeper was on his way back to the dressing room.

PSG have 73 points and lead second-placed Olympique Marseille, who beat Lorient 1-0 away on Saturday, by nine points with four games left.

Olympique Lyon remained third on 60 points after Yoann Gourcuff's second-half strike salvaged a 1-1 home draw against arch rivals St Etienne, who are fourth on 58.


Image: David Beckham (right) of Paris St-Germain reacts after receiving a red card
Photographs: Robert Pratta/Reuters

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Ajax Amsterdam move closer to title

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Netherlands

A goal from Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and an own goal by Tim Gilissen gave Ajax Amsterdam a 2-0 win at NAC Breda that moved them closer to a third successive title.

Ajax, who are four points clear at the top of the table with two matches remaining, host bottom side Willem II Tilburg next week and need a win to lift the trophy.

PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord stayed joint second and involved in the race for a Champions League berth after comfortable home wins, with PSV beating Groningen 5-2 and Feyenoord hammering Heracles Almelo 6-0.


Image: Kolbeinn Sigthorsson of Ajax celebrates
Photographs: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

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Gonzalez keep Porto's hopes alive

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Portugal

Argentine playmaker Lucho Gonzalez broke the deadlock in Porto's 2-0 win over Vitoria de Setubal to keep alive their chase of league leaders Benfica.

The home win, completed with a tap-in from Belgian midfielder Steven Defour, temporarily took Porto to within one point of Benfica, who play Maritimo on the Atlantic island of Madeira on Monday.

Porto are on 69 points from 27 matches and Benfica on 70 with a game in hand. There are three rounds left in the championship.


Image: Porto's Lucho Gonzalez (right) battles for the ball
Photographs: Miguel Vidal/Reuters

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