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European Round Up

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16 Jan 2012 03:46:31

European Round Up

Manchester United went level with Manchester City in England, Real Madrid and Barcelona both won in Spain while the renaissance of Inter Milan and Marseille continued.

ENGLAND

- Paul Scholes scored as Manchester United outclassed Bolton 3-0 to go level on points with Premier League leaders Manchester City.

Playing his first game at Old Trafford since making a shock return from retirement in the FA Cup win over City last week, Scholes fired United ahead in first-half injury time.

The 37-year-old's strike was his 103rd goal in the Premier League and came 18 years after his first.

Late goals from striker Danny Welbeck and Michael Carrick made sure of the points as United -- who also had a Wayne Rooney penalty saved -- ended a run of two league defeats.

Tottenham missed the opportunity to join United and City -- who face bottom club Wigan Athletic on Monday -- at the top after being held to a 1-1 draw by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Chelsea clung on for a 1-0 victory over Sunderland at Stamford Bridge while Liverpool's push towards a top-four finish suffered another setback when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Stoke.

On Sunday, Arsenal lost ground as the Gunners slumped to a surprise 3-2 defeat against Swansea City, while Mark Hughes' debut as QPR boss ended in a 1-0 loss at Newcastle United.

SPAIN

- Barcelona squandered a two-goal lead before seeing off 10-man Real Betis 4-2 to cut Real Madrid's lead at the top of La Liga back to five points.

Two goals from Lionel Messi and a goal apiece from Xavi and Alexis Sanchez fired them to the victory after Ruben Castro and Roque Santa Cruz had levelled.

Betis had Mario Vazquez sent off with the score at 2-2 with 20 minutes remaining and Barca never looked back.

Now the focus is turned to the Spanish Cup on Wednesday when the two giants face each other in the first leg of a quarter-final tie.

Real Madrid had came from behind on Saturday to win 2-1 at Mallorca with late goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Jose Callejon.

ITALY

- Inter Milan thrust themselves back into the Serie A title race with a crucial 1-0 win away to city rivals AC Milan at the San Siro.

Veteran Argentine forward Diego Milito rolled back the years to score the only goal and move fifth-placed Inter to within five points of their neighbours, who are a point behind leaders Juventus.

The top three picked up only a point between them with Juve's 1-1 draw at home to Cagliari enough to see them take over sole ownership of top spot.

Third-placed Udinese lost 3-2 at Genoa and, with fourth-placed Lazio winning, there are now just six points separating the top five.

FRANCE

- Lille's title defence received a significant setback as their 17-game unbeaten run came to an end in a 2-0 defeat at resurgent Marseille in which Loic Remy claimed both goals.

Rudi Garcia's side had not been beaten in the league since a 1-0 loss at home to Montpellier on August 14 but Remy's brace gave Marseille a win that lifted the victors up to sixth and left Lille seven points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

On Saturday, Carlo Ancelotti enjoyed a memorable home debut as PSG coach after his side beat Toulouse 3-1 to preserve their three-point lead at the top.

Brazilian forward Nene scored twice, either side of a fine goal by record signing Javier Pastore, which was his first strike in the league since October 29.

PORTUGAL

- Benfica beat Vitoria Setubal 4-1 to stay two points clear of FC Porto, who saw off Rio Ave 2-0. Benfica have 39 points, two more than their great rivals with both sides undefeated after 15 games.


AFP

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