Football roundup: Man United on top, Ronaldo, Messi score again

London: Manchester United knocked Manchester City off the top of the Premier League table for the first time since mid-October as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi continued their rich vein of scoring form.

La Liga leaders Real Madrid stayed 10 points clear of Barcelona and AC Milan took advantage of yet another Juventus draw to move four points clear of their rivals at the top of Serie A.


Manchester United went top of the Premier League for the first time since October when two goals from Wayne Rooney secured a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion as leaders Manchester City lost 1-0 at Swansea City.

The champions have 67 points with 10 games remaining, one point clear of long-time leaders City. Tottenham Hotspur stayed in third place on 53 points despite losing 1-0 at Everton, their third successive league defeat.

Arsenal are fourth on 49 points but will close the gap on their arch-rivals to one point if they beat Newcastle United on Monday. Chelsea won their first league match under interim coach Roberto Di Matteo as a Didier Drogba goal secured a 1-0 win over Stoke City.


Ronaldo and Messi netted twice as leaders Real Madrid came from a goal down in an entertaining 3-2 win at Real Betis on Saturday and second-placed Barcelona won 2-0 at struggling Racing Santander on Sunday.

La Liga top scorer Ronaldo took his tally for the season to 32, while Messi continued his astonishing recent goal glut by scoring his 12th and 13th goals in his last five games for Barca, including a record five in Wednesday`s Champions League match against Bayer Leverkusen.

World Player of the Year Messi is now two behind Ronaldo in the league scoring chart on 30 goals and has 50 in all competitions this season compared with 40 for Ronaldo.

With 12 La Liga matches left, Real have 70 points and champions Barca 60. Valencia dropped further behind the leaders in third on 44 points after they let slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home to Real Mallorca on Sunday.


Bayern Munich bounced back from last week`s defeat at Bayer Leverkusen by thumping hapless Hoffenheim 7-1, taking less than one hour to run up their tally before easing off.

Mario Gomez led the way with a hat-trick for the Bavarians while Arjen Robben scored twice and Toni Kroos and Franck Ribery shared the others. A Bayern player also provided Hoffenheim with their consolation as Luiz Gustavo put through his own net.

Bayern, second in the table, have 51 points from 25 games and moved within five of Borussia Dortmund after the league leaders and defending champions were held to a 0-0 draw at lowly Augsburg.

Third-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach were also involved in a goalless stalemate, at home to Freiburg, and dropped three points behind Bayern.


AC Milan went four points clear at the top after they beat Lecce 2-0 and second-placed Juventus drew 0-0 at Genoa, their sixth draw in their last seven games.

Juventus, who remain unbeaten after 27 games with 53 points, hit the woodwork three times early in the second half and Simone Pepe had a goal disallowed in a dramatic game.

Antonio Nocerino and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with his 19th goal of the season, scored in each half for Milan, who have 57 points from 27 games.

Third-placed Lazio dropped five points behind Juventus after having two players sent off in a 3-1 home defeat against Bologna.


Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain overcame Mohamed Sissoko`s first-half dismissal to snatch a 2-1 win at lowly Dijon thanks to Kevin Gameiro`s stoppage-time goal.

Gameiro netted from Jeremy Menez`s pass to move PSG on 58 points from 27 games, one ahead of Montpellier who beat Caen 3-0 at home.

There is then a 10-point gap back to third-placed Lille after the defending champions lost 2-1 at Olympique Lyon on Saturday.

Olympique Marseille, who face Inter Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday, suffered their fourth consecutive defeat when they lost 1-0 at Ajaccio on Friday.


Leaders Porto were surprisingly held to a 1-1 draw at home by Academica, a result that opened up the title race with the top three teams separated by one point.

Brazilian forward Hulk fired in a stoppage time penalty to salvage a draw for Porto who have 53 points after 22 matches, one point ahead of Benfica and Braga.

Benfica caem from a goal down to win 2-1 away at Pacos Ferreira while Braga earned their 11th consecutive league win, beating Uniao Leiria 2-1 at home.


AZ Alkmaar moved three points clear at the top of the Dutch championship after the leaders beat Graafschap Doetinchem 2-0 and title rivals Twente Enschede and PSV Eindhoven lost.

Second-half goals by Rasmus Elm and Erik Falkenburg earned AZ victory at Graafschap. Elm scored with an in-swinging corner four minutes after the interval and Falkenburg sealed the points in stoppage time.

Alkmaar have 52 points after 29 matches, three ahead of in-form Ajax Amsterdam who beat RKC Waalwijk 3-0 to leapfrog Twente, beaten 3-1 at NEC Nijmegen, and PSV, who also lost 3-1 at NAC Breda.


Greek Super League leaders Olympiakos Pireaus extended their advantage over Panathinaikos to four points with a 3-0 win over Aris Salonika as their title rivals slumped to a 2-0 derby loss to AEK Athens on Sunday.

First-half goals from Ivan Marcano and Jose Holebas from the penalty spot put Ernesto Valvede`s Olympiakos firmly in control, before Belgium striker Kevin Mirallas netted his 14th goal of the season to seal a 10th consecutive win in all competitions for the champions.

Bureau Report

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