Barcelona Goes Nine Points Clear in Spain; Juventus Extends Lead
Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 4-1 in a matchup of the top two in Spanish soccer’s La Liga as Real Madrid dropped 13 points off the lead after a 2-2 draw. Juventus defeated Atalanta 3-0 to go seven points clear in Italy.
Lionel Messi scored twice in the second half at the Camp Nou last night to extend his calendar-year record tally of elite goals to 90. Adriano and Sergio Busquets also scored for Barca after Radamel Falcao put Atletico ahead in the 31st minute.
Barcelona’s 15th victory in 16 league games this season lifted it nine points clear of Atletico atop the standings with 46 points. Defending champion Real has 33 points after Juan Albin’s 88th-minute goal earned second-last Espanyol a 2-2 draw at the Bernabeu stadium.
Real coach Jose Mourinho said after the match that it’s now “practically impossible” for his team, which has already lost more league games than it did over the whole of last season, to retain its title.
Mirko Vucinic, Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio scored in Juventus’s win against Atalanta as the defending champion moved to 41 points after 17 Serie A matches.
Napoli lost 3-2 at home against Bologna last night, missing the chance to move above Inter Milan into second place. Inter lost 1-0 at fourth-place Lazio two days ago.
Also yesterday, Fiorentina won 4-1 against last-place Siena, Luca Toni scoring twice, and AC Milan beat Pescara by the same score. Roma lost 1-0 at Chievo.
Paris Saint-Germain beat Lyon 1-0 on Blaise Matuidi’s header in first-half stoppage time last night to go top of France’s Ligue 1 on goal difference ahead of its opponent and Marseille, which won 1-0 at Toulouse two days ago.
All three clubs have accumulated 35 points from 18 games.
Bayern Munich heads into the Bundesliga’s winter break with a nine-point lead after it was held to a 1-1 home draw by Borussia Moenchengladbach on Dec. 14, and second-place Bayer Leverkusen beat Hamburg 3-0 two days ago.
Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt are a further three points back. Dortmund beat Hoffenheim 3-1 yesterday, while Frankfurt defeated Wolfsburg 2-0 two days ago.
Seventh-place Schalke fired coach Huub Stevens yesterday after a 3-1 defeat to Freiburg the previous day. Jens Keller will take charge for the remainder of the season. The team had two points from its last six games.
PSV tied 1-1 at NEC Nijmegen two days ago, while Twente beat Heracles 3-2 on Dec. 14.
WEEKEND RESULTS =============== Spain: Getafe 1-1 Osasuna, Real Mallorca 0-1 Athletic Bilbao, Granada 0-0 Real Sociedad, Sevilla 0-2 Malaga, Real Zaragoza 0-1 Levante, Valencia 0-1 Rayo Vallecano, Real Madrid 2-2 Espanyol, Barcelona 4-1 Atletico Madrid. Today: Deportivo La Coruna vs Real Valladolid, Celta Vigo vs Real Betis. Italy: Udinese 1-1 Palermo, Lazio 1-0 Inter Milan, Fiorentina 4- 1 Siena, AC Milan 4-1 Pescara, Catania 3-1 Sampdoria, Chievo 1-0 Roma, Genoa 1-1 Torino, Juventus 3-0 Atalanta, Parma 4-1 Cagliari, Napoli 2-3 Bologna. Germany: Bayern Munich 1-1 B. Moenchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 Hamburg, Fortuna Dusseldorf 2-1 Hanover, Greuther Furth 1-1 Augsburg, Mainz 3-1 Stuttgart, Wolfsburg 0-2 Eintracht Frankfurt, Schalke 1-3 Freiburg, Hoffenheim 1-3 Borussia Dortmund, Werder Bremen 1-1 Nurnberg. France: Rennes 2-0 Valenciennes, Toulouse 0-1 Marseille, Montpellier 4-0 Bastia, Nice 3-2 Evian, Reims 1-1 Lille, Sochaux 1-2 Brest, Troyes 3-2 AC Ajaccio, Nancy 1-1 Bordeaux, St Etienne 0-2 Lorient, Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 Lyon. Netherlands: FC Twente 3-2 Heracles, FC Zwolle 1-2 AZ Alkmaar, Groningen 0-0 VVV, Roda JC 0-0 NAC Breda, NEC Nijmegen 1-1 PSV Eindhoven, FC Utrecht 3-1 Heerenveen, Feyenoord 3-2 Den Haag, Vitesse Arnhem 2-2 RKC Waalwijk, Willem II 2-4 Ajax.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at email@example.com