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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 1, 2006

Barca closes in on 2nd straight Spanish crown

MADRID -- Ronaldo scored an equalizing goal and 10-man Real Madrid held league leader Barcelona to a 1-1 tie on Saturday, a result that still enabled Barca to move closer to a second straight Spanish crown and 18th overall.

The result at Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium left Barca 11 points atop the standings and requiring 10 points from its last seven games to retain its title.

Second-place Madrid, which looks set to end a third straight season without a trophy, played the last 65 minutes with 10 men following the ejection of Roberto Carlos for two yellow cards.

The match between the two Spanish giants was marred before kickoff when Barcelona fans attacked Real Madrid's team bus with bottles, cans and stones. A window was broken as the bus arrived at Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium about 90 minutes before the start of the match, news agency Efe reported.

Barcelona has 69 points, followed by Madrid with 58 and Osasuna with 55. Valencia is next with 53 points, while Sevilla has 51.

England
LONDON -- Chelsea's Premier League lead was cut to seven points on Saturday as the Blues were held to a scoreless tie by relegation-threatened Birmingham and second-place Manchester United beat Bolton 2-1.

Jose Mourinho's team had an 18-point lead three weeks ago. But the Blues have dropped five points in their last two games on the road and United's run of eight straight Premier League victories helped them make up ground.

Although they fell behind to Kevin Davies' 26th-minute strike at the Reebok Stadium, United scored his in the 33rd on a goal by Louis Saha and Ruud van Nistelrooy came off the bench to score the winner with 11 minutes left.

"He's the best finisher in the game," United manager Alex Ferguson said of Van Nistelrooy, who has started just once in six games. "And next week he will be fresh, (against) Arsenal, a massive game now.

"It's no good making predictions because seven points is still a massive gap and it can still only be thrown away by Chelsea. But it's getting closer and we are playing well and that's the important issue."

Chelsea's goalless tie at Birmingham was one of the most surprising results of the season. Birmingham had given up 12 goals in three games without scoring.

"I want to win every game," said Mourinho, who believed the referee wrongly chalked off Asier Del Horno goal for offside. "I'm not happy with the performance. I'm not happy with the result. I cannot say I'm not concerned."

Jose Mourinho's Chelsea has 79 points with six games to go and United has 72.

Third-place Liverpool won 2-0 at West Bromwich Albion thanks to first-half goals by Robbie Fowler and Djibril Cisse, but is 12 points behind Chelsea.

Arsenal followed up its impressive 2-0 victory over Italy's Juventus in the European Champions League with a 5-0 rout of Aston Villa at Highbury. Thierry Henry scored twice for his 27th goal of the season. The Gunners moved up to fifth and within two points of neighbor Tottenham, which lost 3-1 at Newcastle.

Italy
ROME -- Serie A leader Juventus was held to a 0-0 draw by last-place Treviso on Saturday, but stretched its lead to nine points with six rounds remaining over AC Milan, which lost 1-0 at Lecce.

Third-place Inter Milan moved within two points of its city rival with a 3-0 home win over lowly Messina.

Inter scored three first-half goals within 10 minutes. Santiago Solari scored two and Obafemi Martins added another.

At Treviso, the Turin powerhouse had its third draw in four matches to move to 79 points.

AC Milan remained with 70 after its sixth loss this season on a second-half goal by Lecce's Ivory Coast striker, Cedric Konan.

Germany
BERLIN -- Oliver Kahn left the match with a rib injury at halftime after his two blunders handed FC Cologne a 2-2 tie with Bayern Munich.

Under pressure to be Germany's first-choice goalkeeper at the World Cup, Kahn missed a cross that led to Markus Feulner's goal in the 12th minute and misjudged a bounce on Albert Streit's 36th-minute shot from well outside the area.

Goals by Willy Sagnol and Roy Makaay rescued a point for champion Bayern Munich, which is 10 points ahead of Werder Bremen, a 1-0 winner at Eintracht Frankfurt, and Hamburg, which visits fourth-place Schalke on Sunday.

Netherlands
AMSTERDAM -- PSV Eindhoven beat RBC Roosendaal 2-1 on Saturday on a pair of second-half goals and closed within a point of its second straight Dutch league title and third in four years.

Saturday's loss assured Roosendaal's demotion from the Eredivisie after managing only a single win in 31 games.

The victory gave PSV 79 points and a 12-point advantage over second-place AZ Alkmaar, putting it in position to claim its 19th Dutch crown with a victory by NAC Breda over AZ on Sunday.