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Madrid and Marseille lose ground in title reckoning

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Madrid and Marseille lose ground in title reckoning
Published: Monday 31 January 2011, 0.55CET
Real Madrid CF face a seven-point gap to leaders FC Barcelona in Spain after a 1-0 defeat at CA Osasuna, while Olympique de Marseille lost ground in France. looks back.

Real Madrid CF must make up a seven point gap to pacesetters FC Barcelona in Spain after suffering a surprise 1-0 setback at struggling CA Osasuna, while it proved a good weekend for leaders LOSC Lille Métropole in France as a number of their rivals dropped vital points. looks back at the latest action from around the continent.

It was a potentially decisive weekend in the Liga, with Barcelona picking up the pace and Madrid failing to follow suit. Josep Guardiola's titleholders beat Hércules CF 3-0 on Saturday to register a record-equalling 15th straight league win and go seven points clear at the summit. That cushion remains intact following Madrid's 1-0 defeat at fifth-bottom Osasuna on Sunday – only José Mourinho's third defeat in all competitions since arriving at the Santiago Bernabéu in the summer. "I can't fault the players as they did their job," said the Portuguese. "We didn't deserve to lose the three points."

Lille continue to look convincing championship material after stretching their unbeaten Ligue 1 run to 11 matches with a 1-0 derby defeat of northern neighbours RC Lens. "We're making good progress, but the road ahead is still long," explained Lille coach Rudi Garcia, whose charges enjoy a four-point cushion to Paris Saint-Germain FC, 2-1 victors at AC Arles-Avignon. Olympique Lyonnais are another three points back after they succumbed 2-1 at Valenciennes FC and there was frustration for fellow hopefuls Stade Rennais FC and Olympique de Marseille as well, the former losing 5-1 at FC Sochaux-Montbéliard and the latter drawing 0-0 at AS Monaco FC on Sunday.

Two of Serie A's most in-form talents shone again as AC Milan stayed four points clear of SSC Napoli following victories for both. The Rossoneri recorded a 2-0 win at Calcio Catania on Saturday and, once again, Zlatan Ibrahimović was prominent, provoking Robinho's opener before notching his 13th effort in 20 league outings, after Mark van Bommel had been sent off on his Serie A debut. "I think by winning here we made a statement," said Ibrahimović. The following day, leading scorer Edinson Cavani plundered a hat-trick in Napoli's 4-0 handling of UC Sampdoria, and there was similar joy for Giampaolo Pazzini as the FC Internazionale Milano newcomer struck twice to help the champions turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 success against US Città di Palermo.

Borussia Dortmund returned to winning ways with a 3-0 victory at VfL Wolfsburg that maintained their handsome 11-point lead in Germany, with Bayer 04 Leverkusen still second after seeing off fifth-placed Hannover 96 2-0. "Today we played against the upcoming champions," said Wolfsburg coach Steve McClaren. "Dortmund were our strongest opponents all season." FC Bayern München are up to third, meanwhile, thanks to their 3-1 success at SV Werder Bremen, and bottom side VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach boosted their survival prospects by prevailing 1-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt for their second win in three games.

The FA Cup returned to centre stage in England and it proved a frustrating weekend for the underdogs, with Manchester United FC recovering from falling behind at Southampton FC to win 2-1 and Birmingham City FC turning a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 victory at home against second-tier Coventry City FC. "I wouldn't want to live through that too often with the stress levels," said Birmingham manager Alex McLeish. Arsenal FC had Cesc Fàbregas's late penalty winner to thank for seeing off third-division Huddersfield Town FC, but Notts County FC held Manchester City FC 1-1 and Crawley Town FC ensured a non-league presence in the fifth round by winning 1-0 at Torquay United FC.

Fenerbahçe SK turned up the heat in the Turkish title race by handing leaders Trabzonspor AŞ – who finished with nine men to the hosts' ten – a 2-0 reverse that leaves them just two points ahead of Bursaspor and four clear of their conquerors on Sunday. There was a tightening at the top in Belgium too as frontrunners RSC Anderlecht could only draw 0-0 at KV Mechelen, allowing KRC Genk to close to within four points. As for PSV Eindhoven, they were thankful for Genero Zeefuik's 93rd-minute effort in a 2-1 defeat of bottom club Willem II that kept them ahead of FC Twente at the Eredivisie summit. In Scotland, finally, Celtic FC and Rangers FC won their way through to the League Cup final.
Related Items

* Osasuna shock Madrid
* Ambitious Freiburg see off Stuttgart
* Milan march on
* Lille four clear
* Dortmund stride on
* FA Cup round-up
* Cavani treble keeps Napoli rolling
* Barcelona stroll on after equalling Liga milestone
* United survive cup scare at Southampton
* Transfer round-up
* Marseille kept at bay by Monaco


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