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Barca falters, Man. United blitzes Spurs
by Paul Kennedy, April 27th, 2009 7AM



[EUROPEAN RACES] Spain's La Liga race came alive as leader Barcelona, which had not allowed a goal in seven straight games, had to rally for a 2-2 tie at Valencia, allowing Real Madrid, a 4-2 winner over Sevilla, to move to within four points with five games to play.

Barcelona was leading at Valencia on a goal by Lionel Messi after 24 minutes when the hosts scored twice in three minutes on goals by Hedwiges Maduro and Pablo Hernandez just before halftime.

Substitute Thierry Henry earned Barca a tie when he scored on a lob with four minutes remaining.

Raul's hat trick was the difference in Real Madrid's comeback win at Sevilla.

ENGLAND. The goals kept on coming in Premier League, where first-place Manchester United rallied to blitz Tottenham, 5-2, with five goals in 22 minutes in the second half. The first goal was a penalty kick converted by Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star would add the winning goal on a header off a pass from Wayne Rooney, who scored the second and fourth goals himself. Second-place Liverpool, which won 3-1 at Hull City, is three points behind United, which has a game in hand.

FRANCE. Marseille looks to be headed to its first title since the era of Bernard Tapie, opening up a five-point lead with a 2-1 win at Lille on goals by Benoit Cheyrou and Mamadou Niang three minutes apart in the second half. Second-place Bordeaux, which won the League Cup with a 4-0 win over Vannes, has a makeup game at Rennes on Wednesday. Seven-time defending champion Lyon is now six points off the top after its 0-0 tie with Paris St. Germain.

GERMANY. Leader Wolfsburg had its record-tying 10-game winning streak snapped when it lost, 2-0, to lowly Energie Cottbus on goals by Bulgarian Dimitar Rangelov and Albanian Ervin Skela. Hertha Berlin moved into second place only two points behind Wolfsburg with a 1-0 win at Hoffenheim on Patrick Ebert's goal. Defending Bayern Munich would have moved into a tie with Wolfsburg with a win but it fell at home to Schalke 04, 1-0, in another devastating setback for Juergen Klinsmann's team.

ITALY. AC Milan moved to within seven points of Inter Milan with five games to play when it beat Palermo, 3-0, and Inter lost, 1-0, at Napoli. Kaka converted two penalty kicks for Milan, which was competing for Italy's fourth berth in the UEFA Champions League only a few weeks ago. Uruguayan Marcelo Zalayeta scored to give Napoli its first league win since January and first under new coach Roberto Donadoni.

PORTUGAL. Two goals by Argentine striker Lisandro Lopez gave Porto a 2-0 win against Vitoria de Setubal. Sporting remained four points behind after goals by strikers Helder Postiga and Liedson gave it a 2-1 home win over Estrela da Amadora.


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