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Barcelona Moves Within a Point of Third Straight Spanish Title; Inter Wins

Barcelona beat city rival Espanyol 2-0 to move to within one point of clinching its third straight Spanish soccer title.

Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique got the goals at the Camp Nou yesterday to help Barcelona maintain its eight-point lead over Real Madrid, which won 6-2 at Sevilla two days ago as Cristiano Ronaldo got four goals.

Barcelona, which has a superior head-to-head record against Real, has 91 points with three games remaining and can clinch its 21st league title by avoiding defeat at Levante on May 11. Should Real fail to beat Getafe tomorrow, the championship will go to Barca regardless of its result the following day.

In Italy, Inter Milan boosted its grip on second spot in Serie A yesterday with a 3-1 win over Fiorentina as Napoli lost.

Giampaolo Pazzini, Esteban Cambiasso and Coutinho got the goals for Inter, which won the past five league titles. Alberto Gilardino replied for the visitor. Napoli lost 2-1 at Lecce.

AC Milan sealed its first league crown since 2004 two days ago with a 0-0 tie at Roma. Milan has 78 points, Inter 72 and Napoli 68, with two rounds remaining.

In France, defending champion Marseille missed the chance to move to within a point of leader Lille as it lost 3-2 at Lyon last night. Lille had taken a four-point lead atop the standings two days ago with a 1-0 win at Nancy.

Borussia Dortmund, which has already clinched the German title, lost 2-0 at Werder Bremen two days ago. Bayern Munich beat St. Pauli 8-1 to guarantee a Champions League place and condemn its Hamburg-based opponent to relegation.

In the Netherlands, FC Twente clinched the first part of a possible cup-and-league double with a 3-2 win over Ajax after extra time in the final of the KNVB Beker.

The teams meet again in the final round of league games next weekend in a match that will decide the championship. Twente has a one-point lead over Ajax at the top.

WEEKEND RESULTS ===============

Italy: Palermo 2-1 Bari; Roma 0-0 AC Milan; Bologna 0-0 Parma; Brescia 1-2 Catania; Cagliari 0-2 Cesena; Inter Milan 3-1 Fiorentina; Lecce 2-1 Napoli; Udinese 2-1 Lazio; Genoa 2-1 Sampdoria. May 9: Juventus v Chievo.

Spain: Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Levante; Valencia 3-0 Real Sociedad; Getafe 2-0 Almeria; Sporting Gijon 2-2 Deportivo La Coruna; Hercules 2-3 Racing Santander; Atletico Madrid 0-3 Malaga; Sevilla 2-6 Real Madrid; Real Mallorca 0-0 Villarreal; Barcelona 2-0 Espanyol; Real Zaragoza 1-3 Osasuna.

Germany: Schalke 1-3 Mainz; Werder Bremen 2-0 Borussia Dortmund; Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Hamburg; Stuttgart 2-1 Hanover; Wolfsburg 1-2 Kaiserslautern; Eintracht Frankfurt 0-2 Cologne; Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-0 Freiburg; Nuremberg 1-2 Hoffenheim; St. Pauli 1-8 Bayern Munich.

France: Auxerre 1-0 Montpellier; Monaco 1-1 Paris Saint-Germain; Caen 1-1 Lens; Lorient 0-0 Toulouse; Bordeaux 0-4 Sochaux; Brest 0-0 Nice; Arles-Avignon 0-1 Saint-Etienne; Nancy 0-1 Lille; Valenciennes 2-0 Rennes; Lyon 3-2 Marseille.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter-Joseph Hegarty in London at phegarty@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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