Inter Milan wins record-tying 11th straight
ROME -- Inter Milan tied the Italian league record with its 11th consecutive victory by rallying past Atalanta 2-1 Saturday. Inter matched AS Roma's 11-game winning streak from last season. It will have to wait three weeks to try to break the record when it plays Torino on Jan. 14 after the holiday break. Inter leads the league with 48 points, followed by Roma with 41 and Palermo with 35. "I'm pleased to spend Christmas like this, but we know the season doesn't end with the end of the calendar year," Inter owner Massimo Moratti said. Inter fell behind when Cristiano Doni scored for Atalanta from outside the penalty area in the 17th minute at San Siro. Adriano tied it in the 64th with a diving header, his first goal for Inter in nine months. Inter got the winner in the 75th after Atalanta defender Simone Loria sent a header into his own goal. Roma beat Cagliari 2-0 with a spectacular bicycle kick by Rodrigo Taddei and another goal from Amantino Mancini. Gionatha Spinesi scored a hat trick for Catania in a 4-2 win over Sampdoria to give the Sicilian club 26 points and sole possession of fourth place. Alberto Gilardino and Ricardo Oliveira scored as AC Milan continued its climb up the standings with a 3-0 win at Udinese. Milan, which began the season with an eight-point penalty from the Italian match-fixing scandal, is 12th with 20 points. Two other penalized clubs, Lazio and Fiorentina, also won. Lazio beat Parma 3-1 and Fiorentina beat 10-man Messina 4-0.
LONDON -- Cristiano Ronaldo's two goals helped Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-0 and stay atop the Premier League halfway through the season. Chelsea kept pace with a 3-2 victory over Wigan. Ronaldo opened for United in the 58th minute before Paul Scholes volleyed in a superb strike five minutes later. Ronaldo sealed the win by turning in Gary Neville's cross in the 86th. "He is fantastic," manager Alex Ferguson said. "He's had a marvelous season for us." United leads the standings with 47 points. Every club with that number of points after 19 games has gone on to win the Premier League. Chelsea has 45 points -- needing an injury-time goal from Arjen Robben for the win at Wigan. Chelsea had led 2-0 on goals by Frank Lampard and Salomon Kalou -- both set up by Robben -- before Wigan evened the score behind two goals from Emile Heskey. Liverpool is third with 34 points, with Arsenal and Bolton at 33. This was the first meeting of Premier League teams run by NFL owners -- United's Malcolm Glazer (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Villa's Randy Lerner (Cleveland Browns). Villa has not beaten United at Villa Park in 11 years. Liverpool stayed undefeated at home after second-half goals from Craig Bellamy and Xabi Alonso in a 2-0 win over last-place Watford. Arsenal recovered from a goal down to crush Blackburn 6-2 and remain undefeated at Emirates Stadium this season. Robin van Persie scored twice, with Gilberto Silva, Emmanuel Adebayor, Alexander Hleb and Mathieu Flamini also scored for Arsenal.
PARIS -- Lyon drew 0-0 with Monaco in the French league, only the second time this season the five-time defending champions have dropped points at home. Lyon is still on track to reach 100 points, with 50 from 19 rounds entering the winter break at the season's halfway mark. Toulouse is the only other team to draw at the Stade Gerland. Lyon's only loss was at Rennes. Second-placed Lens needed late goals from Brazilian Jussie and Ivory Coast winger Aruna Dindane to overcome Nice 2-1. Karim Ziani scored two second-half goals for Sochaux to rally past Nancy 2-1. Also, Paris Saint-Germain tied 1-1 at Troyes. Elsewhere, it was: Lille 1, Auxerre 1; Lorient 0, Rennes 0; Toulouse 0, Nantes 4; Bordeaux 1, Le Mans 0; and Valenciennes 2, Sedan 1. On Friday, striker Djibril Cisse scored his first goal since May as Marseille beat visiting Saint-Etienne 2-1. Cisse has just returned after breaking his leg playing for France in a June 7 exhibition against China. Following Saturday's games, the French league resumes Jan. 13.
GLASGOW, Scotland -- Thomas Gravesen scored in the 24th minute to send Celtic past Falkirk 1-0 in the Scottish Premier League. Neil Lennon earned a penalty kick for Celtic during second-half injury time when he was brought down by Kenny Milne -- but he was then sent off for raising his hands to the Falkirk defender. Celtic substitute Kenny Miller hit the post with the penalty kick at Parkhead. Rangers had goals from Nacho Novo and Libor Sionko to defeat Aberdeen 2-1 and move into second place. Celtic leads with 51 points, followed by Rangers (35) and Aberdeen (34).
AMSTERDAM -- PSV Eindhoven scored three early goals in a 4-0 win over Willem II to open a 10-point lead in the Dutch first division. Ibrahim Afellay scored twice early to start PSV's rout. It was the team's 12th consecutive win in the Dutch league. Feyenoord beat Sparta 3-2 in the Rotterdam derby, with substitute Tim Vincken scoring the winner in the 75th minute. PSV leads with 49 points, followed by AZ Alkmaar with 39 and Ajax with 38. Feyenoord has 35 points.