Soccer: Juventus and Barcelona benefit as leaders slip

Fabio Quagliarella netted a crucial goal for Juventus in Palermo.  Photo / AP
Fabio Quagliarella netted a crucial goal for Juventus in Palermo. Photo / AP

Manchester United all but sealed a 20th English title as they opened up an eight-point lead over Manchester City with just six games left to play.

United beat Queens Park Rangers 2-0 at Old Trafford while Mikel Arteta's goal three minutes from time secured a 1-0 victory for Arsenal over City who had temperamental striker Mario Balotelli sent off a minute before fulltime.

At Old Trafford, goals from Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes saw United - who are now two goals better off on goal difference than City - to victory.

FRANCE

Paris Saint Germain rekindled hopes of a first French league championship success in 18 years after squeezing past old rivals Marseille 2-1 at the Parc des Princes.

The three points moved the big-spending capital club level on 63 points with Montpellier at the top of Ligue 1, although the Parisians have played a game more.

Montpellier, who have never won the title, saw off Sochaux 2-1 with Younes Belhanda and Souleymane Camara netting.

GERMANY

Bayern Munich thanked a Mario Gomez brace as they stayed in the Bundesliga title hunt with a 2-1 win over Augsburg, but the Bavarians still trail Borussia Dortmund by three points after the table-toppers won 3-1 at Wolfsburg.

Bayern are the record title winners with 22 crowns, but reigning champions Dortmund are in pole position for an eighth title with 66 points from 29 games with just five rounds of action remaining.

ITALY

Juventus took a crucial step towards a first Serie A title since 2003 with a 2-0 win at Palermo to go top after AC Milan fell to a shock 2-1 defeat at home to struggling Fiorentina.

Two games ago champions Milan led the table by four points but after a draw at Catania and now this defeat, Antonio Conte's Juventus are a point clear.

Centreback Leonardo Bonucci scored for the second game in a row and Fabio Quagliarella added the other in Sicily.

But Juve were most indebted to former forward Amauri, who scored a dramatic late winner at the San Siro for Fiorentina.

NETHERLANDS

PSV Eindhoven won the Dutch Cup with a 3-0 win over Heracles Almelo in Rotterdam. Ola Toivonen, Dries Mertens and Jeremain Lens were the scorers.

PORTUGAL

Hulk scored Porto's winner in a 1-0 win at Sporting Braga to extend his team's lead at the top to four points from Benfica who face local rivals Sporting Lisbon overnight.

SPAIN

Real Madrid have Barcelona breathing down their necks after having their lead in La Liga cut to just four points after a 0-0 draw with Valencia.

Barcelona crushed Zaragoza 4-1 to secure a ninth win in succession. Lionel Messi became the first player in almost 40 years to score 60 goals in a single European top-flight season after a brace helped Barcelona come from behind to beat their 10-man opponents.

Messi's 23 goals from the last 12 games has helped him arrive at the landmark 60 figure, the first time since Gerd Muller scored 67 goals in the 1972-73 season for Bayern Munich.

- AAP

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