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AZ ends Dutch dominance of big three
April 20th, 2009 7:01AM



[EUROPEAN RACES] Despite losing its third game of the season, AZ Alkmaar clinched the Dutch league, marking the first time since 1981 that the championship won't go to PSV, Ajax or Feyenoord, the big three.

Coached by former Ajax and Barcelona coach Louis van Gaal, AZ lost to Vitesse, 2-1, but clinched the Eredivisie title with three games to play when second-place Twente lost, 1-0, at Feyenoord and third-place Ajax fell to PSV, 6-2.

FRANCE. Lyon's hopes of an eighth straight league title appear to be dead after a 1-0 loss to Bordeaux dropped it to third place, four points behind Marseille and two behind Bordeaux. Brandao's goal 11 minutes from time gave Marseille a 2-1 win at Lorient.

GERMANY. Brazilian striker Grafite scored both goals to give Wolfsburg a 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen that kept it three points ahead of Bayern Munich and Hamburg at the top of the Bundesliga. The defending champion beat Arminia Bielefeld, 1-0, on Luca Toni's late goal while HSV edged Hannover 96, 2-1.

ITALY. Inter Milan remained 10 points ahead of second-place Juventus despite conceding a goal in stoppage time that allowed Juve to earn a 1-1 tie. Czech defender Zdenek Grygera scored on a header to cancel out young striker Mario Balotelli's goal midway through the second half. AC Milan moved into a tie with Juve thanks to its 5-1 win over relegation-threatened Torino. Filippo Inzaghi, 35, scored a hat trick to give him 11 goals for the season.

PORTUGAL. Porto remained four points ahead of second-place Sporting with five games to play thanks to a 3-0 win at Academica on second-half goals by Rolando, Lisandro Lopez and Mariano Gonzalez.

SCOTLAND. One point separates Celtic and Rangers, which both won. Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink's fourth goal in as many games helped Celtic beat Aberdeen, 2-0, while Rangers won, 3-2, at Hibernian with American Maurice Edu getting the third Rangers' goal.

SPAIN. Barcelona maintained its six-point lead over Real Madrid with seven games left to play when it beat Getafe, 1-0, on Lionel Messi's goal. Marcelo's goal earned Real Madrid a 1-0 win at Recreativo Huelva for its 15th victory in its last 16 games.



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