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Rediff.com  » Sports » Soccer PIX: Bayern reclaim top spot

Soccer PIX: Bayern reclaim top spot

Last updated on: April 15, 2019 00:00 IST

Bayern Munich

IMAGE: Bayern Munich's Thomas Mueller, David Alaba and Kingsley Coman celebrate their first goal with team mates. Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Champions Bayern Munich eased past hosts Fortuna Duesseldorf 4-1 on Sunday with winger Kingsley Coman scoring twice, to go a point clear at the top of the Bundesliga.

The Bavarians are on 67 points, with Borussia Dortmund on 66 after their 2-1 win over Mainz 05 on Saturday, and five games left in the title race. RB Leipzig are in third place on 58.

 

"I think we approached this game in a very serious way and we deserved to win by this score," said Bayern coach Niko Kovac, who used the same starting 11 as in their 5-0 demolition of Dortmund last week.

There were some bad news for Bayern, however, with keeper Manuel Neuer taken off in the 53rd minute with a calf muscle injury.

"It is the same calf which had caused him problems recently," said Kovac. "We will check it tomorrow and hope it is not a serious injury."

Bayern Munich

Bayern, in no mood to experience another 3-3 draw against Duesseldorf from earlier in the season, did not underestimate them this time and pressed high from the start.

It paid off when Coman found space to cross into the box, Thomas Mueller failed get a foot on it and the ball sailed past keeper Michael Rensing into goal in the 15th minute.

Bundesliga leading scorer Robert Lewandowski came close to adding another one in the 23rd but his free kick from the edge of the back flew narrowly wide.

Despite more than 60 percent possession, the visitors struggled at times with an agile and hard-working Duesseldorf defence until Coman struck again four minutes from halftime for his fifth goal of the season.

The Frenchman drilled in Joshua Kimmich's cutback, his 11th assist this season and the league leaders picked up after the break where they had left off with Serge Gnabry slotting in from a metre out in the 55th to give them a three-goal cushion.

Bayern, chasing a record-extending seventh straight league title, could have scored several more in the second half but Rensing, a former Bayern keeper, made a string of superb saves.

The hosts got a late consolation goal with a Dodi Lukebakio penalty from a Mats Hummels handball but Leon Goretzka scored Bayern' fourth in stoppage time.

Napoli win to delay Juventus title celebrations and send Chievo down

Napoli

IMAGE: Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates. Photograph: Daniele Mascolo/Reuters

Napoli postponed Juventus's march to the Serie A title and consigned Chievo to relegation with a 3-1 win at the Stadio Bentegodi on Sunday.

Carlo Ancelotti's side needed a victory to ensure that the Turin club, who lost 2-1 at SPAL on Saturday, would not wrap up their eighth consecutive league championship with a record six games to spare.

Two goals from Kalidou Koulibaly either side of an Arkadiusz Milik strike confirmed Chievo's demotion despite Bostjan Cesar's late consolation, after a miserable season in which the Verona club have recorded just one win in 32 games.

The result leaves second-placed Napoli on 67 points, 17 behind runaway leaders Juventus on 84.

However, Juve can secure the title by avoiding defeat at home to Fiorentina next weekend.

PAOK put Greek league title party on hold after draw at Larissa

Undefeated PAOK drew 1-1 at Larissa on Sunday to put their Greek league title celebrations on hold by at least a week, with two matches left to play.

The Thessaloniki club needed a win to clinch their first Greek league title in 34 years and the first to be won by a club outside Athens since 1988.

Dimitris Pelkas scored a 55th-minute goal for the visitors, who have been in a class of their own this season having won 24 and drawn four matches. However, the hosts levelled nine minutes later through Nikola Jakimovski to spoil any planned title party.

PAOK are now on 74 points, with second-placed Olympiakos Pireaus on 66 with a game in hand.

Success-starved PAOK last won the title in 1985 while Larissa are the last club outside Athens to win the league back in 1988.

PAOK missed out on the title last season following crowd trouble in matches against Olympiakos and AEK Athens and with controversial Russian-born businessman Ivan Savvidis storming onto the pitch in the latter game with a gun in his holster.

Savvidis has been banned from football stadiums for three years.

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