Real Madrid Stays in Title Race; Napoli Into Champions League

Real Madrid beat Malaga 6-2 to prevent Barcelona from securing the Spanish La Liga soccer title, while Napoli clinched one of Italy’s Champions League spots.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 34th league goal last night to help Real pull within eight points of Barcelona with three matches remaining. The league leader, which has played one game fewer, would have claimed the championship if Real hadn’t won.

Raul Albiol, Mesut Ozil, Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Angel Di Maria also scored for defending champion Real at its Santiago Bernabeu stadium. Roque Santa Cruz and Vitorino Antunes got Malaga’s goals.

Barcelona can seal the title May 12 when it visits third-place Atletico Madrid, which beat Celta Vigo 3-1 last night. Barca will be guaranteed the championship if Real fails to win at Espanyol the day before.

In Italy’s Serie A, Napoli won 3-0 at Bologna to claim a berth in Europe’s elite club competition. Marek Hamsik, Blerim Dzemaili and Edinson Cavani scored as Napoli clinched second place behind champion Juventus, which beat Atalanta 1-0.

AC Milan maintained its hold on the third Champions League place from Italy with a 4-0 rout of Pescara. Mario Balotelli scored twice as Milan stayed four points clear of fourth-place Fiorentina, which won 1-0 at Siena, with two matches remaining.

Inter Milan’s chances of playing in any European competition next season were dashed by a 3-1 home loss to Lazio. The loss leaves Inter, which won the Champions League in 2010, in eighth place with 53 points, seven fewer than fifth-place Udinese in the final Europe League qualifying spot.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at bbensch@bloomberg.net.

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

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