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Juventus Dents Inter Title Defense; Real Cuts Gap to Barcelona

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Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Juventus beat Inter Milan 1-0 to dent the Italian soccer champion’s title defense, while Real Madrid defeated Espanyol to close the gap on Spanish league leader Barcelona to five points.

Alessandro Matri got the only goal in Turin last night as Inter fell to its second loss since Leonardo took over as coach on Dec. 24. The win lifted Juventus into sixth place, three points behind fourth-place Inter.

Lazio earlier kept up its title challenge with a 2-0 win at Brescia. Alvaro Gonzalez opened the scoring in the 18th minute and Libor Kozak got the second goal after an hour.

League leader AC Milan beat Parma 4-0 two days ago to keep its three-point lead over second-place Napoli, which won 2-0 at Roma. Milan has 52 points, Napoli 49, Lazio 45 and Inter 44.

In Spain, second-place Real Madrid moved to within five points of Barcelona after Marcelo’s goal secured the win at Espanyol. Real played almost the entire match with 10 men after goalkeeper Iker Casillas was red-carded in the second minute for a foul on Jose Callejon.

Barcelona’s record-breaking run of 16 straight league wins ended two days ago with a 1-1 draw at Sporting Gijon. Barca has 62 points, with Real on 57 and Valencia on 47. Villarreal dropped to fourth, two points behind Valencia, after a 1-0 loss at Deportivo La Coruna yesterday.

In Germany, Borussia Dortmund leads with 52 points after a 1-1 draw at Kaiserslautern two days ago. Second-place Bayer Leverkusen has 42 points after a 3-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt.

In France, Lille kept its five-point advantage at the top of Ligue 1 last night by beating Toulouse 2-0. Rennes had earlier moved into second spot with a 2-0 home win over Nice.

In the Netherlands, PSV Eindhoven and FC Twente lead on 50 points. PSV won 4-0 at AZ Alkmaar two days ago, while Twente had a 1-0 home victory over Vitesse Arnhem. Third-place Ajax is five points adrift after a 2-2 draw at Roda JC yesterday.

WEEKEND RESULTS ============== Italy: AC Milan 4-0 Parma; Roma 0-2 Napoli; Palermo 2-4 Fiorentina; Bari 0-0 Genoa; Brescia 0-2 Lazio; Cagliari 4-1 Chievo; Catania 3-2 Lecce; Cesena 0-3 Udinese; Sampdoria 3-1 Bologna; Juventus 1-0 Inter Milan.

Spain: Atletico Madrid 1-2 Valencia; Sporting Gijon 1-1 Barcelona; Racing Santander 3-2 Sevilla; Levante 1-0 Almeria; Malaga 2-2 Getafe; Hercules 2-1 Real Zaragoza; Real Sociedad 1-0 Osasuna; Deportivo La Coruna 1-0 Villarreal. Espanyol 0-1 Real Madrid. Feb. 14: Real Mallorca v Athletic Bilbao.

Germany: Bayern Munich 4-0 Hoffenheim; Schalke 1-0 Freiburg; Stuttgart 1-4 Nuremberg; Wolfsburg 0-1 Hamburg; Eintracht Frankfurt 0-3 Bayer Leverkusen; St. Pauli 3-1 Borussia Moenchengladbach; Kaiserslautern 1-1 Borussia Dortmund; Cologne 4-2 Mainz; Werder Bremen 1-1 Hanover.

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

Netherlands: Den Haag 3-0 VVV; AZ Alkmaar 0-4 PSV Eindhoven; FC Twente 1-0 Vitesse Arnhem; Feyenoord 2-1 Heracles; Willem II 3-3 FC Utrecht; De Graafschap 1-1 Groningen; NAC Breda 0-2 Heerenveen; NEC Nijmegen 2-0 Excelsior; Roda JC 2-2 Ajax.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dan Baynes in Sydney at dbaynes@bloomberg.net; Peter-Joseph Hegarty in London at phegarty@bloomberg.net

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

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