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4. WORLD: Man United's lead cut to two points
December 18th, 2006 2:22PM

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Manchester United's lead in the English Premier League was cut from eight points to two in five days following its 1-0 loss at West Ham United on Sunday.

Second-place Chelsea, which beat Newcastle in a makeup game on Wednesday, closed the gap to two points after winning, 3-2, at Everton.

The West Ham won on Nigel Reo-Coker's goal in the 75th minute. The Hammers had never previously beaten United at Upton Park since the start of the Premier League.

FRANCE. Lyon, winner of the last five league titles, opened up a 17-point lead at the top of La Ligue with a 4-0 win at second-place Lens. Brazilian midfielder Juninho led Lyon with two goals and an assist. OL has won 15 of its 18 league games.

GERMANY. Brazilian defender Naldo's goal on a free kick in the 86th minute gave Werder Bremen a 2-1 victory over Wolfsburg. Bremen takes the Bundesliga lead into the winter break. It leads second-place Schalke 04, which won, 1-0, at Arminia Bielefeld, on goal difference. In the last four seasons and 30 of the previous 43, the team leading at the winter break has won the league championship.

ITALY. Inter Milan set a club record by beating Messina, 2-0, for its ninth straight league win. Marco Materazzi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored for Inter, which maintained its seven-point lead over Roma. In a battle for second place, Roma crushed Palermo, 4-0, thanks to two goals each by Francesco Totti and Brazilian Mancini.

NETHERLANDS. PSV stretched its winning streak to 11 games with a 3-0 win over Heracles on goals by Timmy Simons, Phillip Cocu and Patrick Kluivert. Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes has not given up a goal in the last 829 minutes. PSV leads AZ by seven points at the halfway mark.

SPAIN. Sevilla took advantage of Barcelona's absence to take over first place in the La Liga with a 3-1 win at Recreativo Huelva. Mali international Frederic Kanoute moved into the league lead with his 12th goal of the season for Sevilla, which has a one-point lead over Barca. Real Madrid is third, two points behind Sevilla, after its 1-0 win over Espanyol on Ruud van Nistelrooy's goal. Idle Barca has a game in hand.


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