Fowler nets again for Liverpool
LONDON -- Liverpool won its seventh straight game in the English Premier League, beating Blackburn 1-0 Sunday on Robbie Fowler's fourth goal in five games. Fowler scored in the 29th minute when Fernando Morientes kept the ball in play and passed to Fowler, who beat former U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel. Blackburn complained that the goal should have been disallowed because Djibril Cisse was offside. The referee ruled Cisse was not interfering with play, however. Friedel kept Blackburn from falling further behind when he pushed Cisse's shot over the bar in first-half injury time. Liverpool is in third place in the league with 73 points, three behind second-place Manchester United, which has played a game less. Blackburn is sixth with 54 points, seven points behind fourth-place Tottenham and three points behind Arsenal. Chelsea leads the league with 85 points and can win its second straight title on Monday against visiting Everton. Milan Baros scored twice to give Aston Villa a 3-1 win over local rival Birmingham. Baros scored in the 10th and 78th minutes, and Gary Cahill added a goal in between. Birmingham made it 1-1 when Chris Sutton scored in the 25th.
Madrid -- Real Madrid missed its chance to keep pace with Valencia in the Spanish league, dropping to third place after a 1-1 tie with Getafe. Julio Baptista gave Madrid the lead with a goal in the 61st minute, but Manuel Tena tied the score in the 83rd. Baptista had three more chances to score for Madrid, hitting the crossbar in the 12th minute, forcing Getafe defender Ruben Pulido to make a tough save in the 27th and missing after a free kick from substitute David Beckham in injury time. Valencia easily beat Copa del Rey champion Espanyol 4-0. David Villa, Roberto Ayala, Miguel Angel ``Mista'' Ferrer and Ruben Baraja all scored for Valencia, which has 62 points and trails leader FC Barcelona by 11 points. Madrid is third with 60 points.
PARIS -- Brazilian striker Fred scored his 10th goal of the league season and Lyon celebrated its fifth straight title with a 1-0 win at Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday. Fred scored the only goal at Parc des Princes in the 23rd minute when he headed in a corner from Brazil midfielder Juninho. The win improved Lyon to 78 points from 34 matches, giving coach Gerard Houllier's team a 17-point lead over second-place Bordeaux, which conceded the title when it lost 3-2 at Lille on Saturday. Lyon is the only French team to have won five consecutive titles, eclipsing the four straight won by Saint-Etienne and Marseille.
ATHENS -- Olympiakos Piraeus won its ninth Greek league title in 10 years and 34th overall Sunday despite a 2-1 loss to Larissa, claiming the crown when Iraklis beat Panathinaikos 1-0. The results left Olympiakos with 69 points, six ahead of AEK and eight in front of Panathinaikos with two games remaining. Olympiakos would still claim the title if AEK, which beat OFI Crete 2-0 on Sunday, won its last two games and tied it on points, having won the season series between the two clubs. The title was Olympiakos' second straight and gave it 15 more than its next closest rival, Panathinaikos, which won last won the league in 2004.
BERLIN -- FC Nuremberg climbed into ninth place in the Bundesliga with its fifth straight win at home, and Robert Vittek scored two more goals in a 3-2 win over FC Kaiserslautern. With the score tied 2-2 in the 87th minute, Vittek took a headed pass and chipped over the goalkeeper to win the game. The Slovakian, without a goal before the winter break, has 13 goals in 14 games. Halil Altintop, who is second in the league behind Werder Bremen's Miroslav Klose with 18 goals, scored two for Kaiserslautern. The Turk-German has signed with Schalke for next season. Jon Dahl Tomasson scored in the 82nd minute to give Stuttgart a 3-3 tie against Hannover 96.
AMSTERDAM -- Ajax secured a spot in the playoffs for next season's Champions League by beating RKC Waalwijk 4-2 in the Dutch league. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored two goals and Johnny Heitinga and Nourdin Boukhari added the others for Ajax, which finished in fourth place with 60 points. Dutch league champion PSV Eindhoven, which beat NAC Breda 6-2, is guaranteed of one spot in Europe's top club competition, while the next four teams go into a playoff for the other. AZ Alkmaar, Feyenoord and FC Groningen are also in the playoffs. AZ beat SC Heerenveen 4-2, Feyenoord topped RBC Roosendaal 2-0 and Groningen was held to a 1-1 draw by FC Twente.
GLASGOW -- Celtic was presented with the Scottish Premier League championship trophy despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Hibernian. Steven Fletcher gave Hibs the lead in the 35th minute, and Maciej Zurawski tied the score for Celtic in the 76th.