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EPL stalemate with two games to play
April 28th, 2008 6:45AM



[EUROPEAN RACES] Chelsea beat Manchester United, 2-1, and moved into a first-place tie with United with two games to play in the English Premier League. Leaders won in Germany (Bayern Munich), Italy (Inter Milan) and Spain (Real Madrid) and closed in on titles to be decided in May, while Lyon's 2-2 tie with Caen kept it four points ahead of second-place Bordeaux, which could only manage a 0-0 tie with Nice at home. In Scotland, Celtic's 3-2 win over Rangers in their Old Firm derby gave it a five-point lead, but Rangers still has three games in hand.

ENGLAND. Germany captain Michael Ballack scored twice to give Chelsea a 2-1 win over Manchester United Saturday that left both teams tied for first place in the Premier League with two games to play.

United has a big edge in goal difference, the first tiebreaker. It hosts West Ham next Saturday and is at Wigan on May 11, the final day of the season. The Blues are at Newcastle on May 5 and host Bolton on May 11.

Premier League Standings (2 games to play)
1. Man. United 81 (+53)
2. Chelsea 81 (+37)
3. Arsenal 74
4. Liverpool 64

FRANCE. Karim Benzema scored his league-leading 18th and 19th goals of the season to salvage a 2-2 tie for leader Lyon against Caen. Second-place Bordeaux also had to settle for a tie at home, drawing 0-0 with Nice. Paris St. Germain's bid to avoid relegation got a boost when it beat Auxerre, 3-1, and joined Lens and Toulouse in a three-way for the final relegation spot at 38 points. Portuguese Pauleta scored his 200th goal in French soccer in the win.

Ligue 1 Standings (3 games to play):
1. Lyon 72 points
2. Bordeaux 68
3. Marseille 58
4. Nancy 57

GERMANY. Frenchman Franck Ribery came off the bench and scored twice in Bayern Munich's 4-1 win over VfB Stuttgart that gave it a 12-point at the top of the standings with four games to play. "You can congratulate us now on the championship," said general manager Uli Hoeness, "because no one can snatch the title away from us."

Bundesliga Standings (4 games to play):
1. Bayern Munich 66 points
2. Werder Bremen 54
2. Schalke 04 54
4. Bayer Leverkusen 48
4. Hamburg 48
4. VfB Stuttgart 48

ITALY. Inter Milan moved closer to its third straight Serie A title when it beat Cagliari. 2-1, on Sunday. Striker Julio Ricardo Cruz and defender Marco Materazzi scored in the victory that kept Inter six points ahead of Roma, which beat Torino, 4-1. In its first season back in Serie A, third-place Juventus clinched a Champions League qualifying place with a 5-2 win over Lazio.

Serie A Standings (3 games to play):
1. Inter Milan 81 points
2. Roma 75
3. Juventus 70
4. Fiorentina 60
5. AC Milan 58
6. Sampdoria 56

SCOTLAND. Celtic kept its Premier League title hopes alive with a 3-2 win over Rangers in their Old Firm derby on Sunday. Celtic, which got two goals from Australian striker Scott McDonald and a penalty kick from Barry Robson, has a five-point lead but Rangers has three games in hand.

Premier League Standings (4 games to play):
1. Celtic 80 points
2. *Rangers 75
* 3 games in hand

SPAIN. Real Madrid got goals from little-used Argentine Javier Saviola and substitutes Arjen Robben and Gonzalo Higuain to beat Athletic Bilbao, 3-0, and close in on La Liga title. Villarreal's 1-0 victory at Real Betis put the Merengues' celebrations on hold for at least another week.

La Liga Standings (4 games to play):
1. Real Madrid 75 points
2. Villarreal 65
3. Barcelona 61
4. Atletico Madrid 55
5. Racing Santander 53
6. Sevilla 52



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