Chelsea close to EPL ti­tle; Bay­ern win

The China Post - - SPORTS -

With a te­na­cious de­fen­sive dis­play, Chelsea held Ar­se­nal to a 0-0 draw to close in on its first Pre­mier League ti­tle in five years.

Bay­ern Mu­nich clinched the Bun­desliga ti­tle for the 25th time with four games to spare Sun­day.

In Italy, Ju­ven­tus must wait a lit­tle longer be­fore cel­e­brat­ing an­other Serie A ti­tle af­ter los­ing its lo­cal derby to Torino, while in France Lyon kept the pres­sure on Paris Saint-Ger­main af­ter a re­sound­ing 4-2 win at Reims.

Here is a look at the ac­tion in Europe’s top leagues on Sun­day:

Eng­land

Chelsea took a step closer to win­ning the Pre­mier league af­ter nul­li­fy­ing Ar­se­nal’s threat in a gritty 0-0 draw.

Chelsea is 10 points clear of de­fend­ing cham­pion Manch­ester City and Ar­se­nal at the top of the stand­ings with five games to go and can seal the ti­tle with vic­to­ries over Le­ices­ter on Wed­nes­day and then Crys­tal Palace next Sun­day.

Mean­while, Manch­ester United stum­bled to af­ter a 3-0 de­feat at Ever­ton. The heav­i­est loss in the league of Van Gaal’s first sea­son in charge left United fourth.

Ar­se­nal strug­gled to break down Jose Mour­inho’s team, only man­ag­ing one shot on tar­get when Me­sut Ozil’s ef­fort was col­lected by Chelsea goal­keeper Thibaut Cour­tois.

At Good­i­son Park, Van Gaal ac­cused his United play­ers of lack­ing mo­ti­va­tion af­ter they slumped to a sec­ond suc­ces­sive loss fol­low­ing last week­end’s 1-0 de­feat at Chelsea.

James McCarthy net­ted the opener af­ter five min­utes be­tween goal­keeper David de Gea’s legs, and John Stones dou­bled the lead in the 35th minute by head­ing in Leighton Baines’ cor­ner be­fore Kevin Mi­ral­las rounded off the victory in the 74th.

France

Alexan­dre La­cazette scored a league-lead­ing 26th goal of the sea­son as Lyon re­turned to the top on goal dif­fer­ence from Paris Sain­tGer­main af­ter a 4-2 win at Reims.

Lyon, which has played a game more than PSG, raced into a 2-0 lead within six min­utes through mid­fielder Corentin Tolisso and La­cazette.

Mid­fielder Alexi Peuget pulled a goal back, but Lyon re­asserted its author­ity as Cameroo­nian winger Clin­ton N’jie made it 3-1 af­ter 20 min­utes of a fran­tic open­ing spell.

De­fender Mick­ael Ta­cal­fred’s own goal in the 90th minute put Lyon 4-1 up, be­fore Gae­tan Char­bon­nier net­ted an in­jury-time con­so­la­tion goal.

Two-time de­fend­ing cham­pion PSG can move three points ahead if it beats strug­gling Metz on Tues­day night, where it will look to chip away at Lyon’s su­pe­rior goal dif­fer­ence of + 39 com­pared to + 35.

Ear­lier, teenage for­ward An­thony Mar­tial con­tin­ued his scor­ing form with his sev­enth goal in eight games as Monaco eased to a 3-0 win at last­place Lens to re­main third.

Ivory Coast winger Max-Alain Gradel scored his eighth goal in eight games as fourth-place Saint-Eti­enne won 1-0 win against Mont­pel­lier; but Monaco is two points ahead.

Ger­many

Bay­ern Mu­nich clinched a record 25th Bun­desliga ti­tle with four games to spare, thanks to a lit­tle help from tra­di­tional ri­val Borus­sia Moenchenglad­bach.

Glad­bach for­ward Max Kruse scored in the last minute to in­flict a 1-0 de­feat on sec­ond-place Wolfs­burg, re­mov­ing the math­e­mat­i­cal pos­si­bil­ity of Bay­ern be­ing caught.

With 76 points from 30 games, Bay­ern has an unas­sail­able 15-point lead over Wolfs­burg.

Bas­tian Sch­we­in­steiger scored late for Bay­ern to beat Hertha Ber­lin 1-0 at home on Satur­day, the win that ul­ti­mately se­cured the club’s third straight Bun­desliga ti­tle.

The tre­ble is still a pos­si­bil­ity for Pep Guardi­ola’s side in his sec­ond sea­son at the club, with a Ger­man Cup semi­fi­nal at home to Borus­sia Dort­mund on Tues­day, be­fore at­ten­tion turns to Barcelona in the Cham­pi­ons League semi­fi­nals.

Guardi­ola led Bay­ern to a league and cup dou­ble in his first sea­son af­ter tak­ing over from Jupp Heynckes, who had steered the side to the tre­ble in 2013.

Ear­lier, Pader­born let slip a twogoal lead to draw 2-2 at home with Werder Bre­men and miss the op­por­tu­nity to es­cape the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

Spain

Javier Her­nan­dez scored twice as Real Madrid fought back for a thrilling 4-2 win at Celta Vigo on Sun­day to keep the pres­sure on league leader Barcelona.

Four days af­ter Her­nan­dez’s late goal put Madrid into the Cham­pi­ons League semi­fi­nals, the Mex­ico striker struck a brace to help Madrid stay two points be­hind Barcelona with five rounds left.

Celta for­ward Manuel “Nolito” Agudo scored in the ninth minute to start a five-goal flurry in the first half.

Goals from Toni Kroos and Her­nan­dez put Madrid ahead, Celta’s Santi Mina equal­ized for 2-2 and James Ro­driguez re­stored Madrid’s ad­van­tage in the 44th.

With Celta press­ing for­ward af­ter the restart, Her­nan­dez used a su­perb touch to con­trol Ser­gio Ramos’ pass be­fore netting in the 69th to se­cure victory.

Also on Sun­day, Sevilla beat Rayo Val­le­cano 2-0 thanks to goals from Vi­cente Iborra and Daniel Car­rico to pro­vi­sion­ally move past Va­len­cia into fourth place.

Alme­ria moved out of the rel­e­ga­tion zone by beat­ing strug­gling Eibar 2-0, while De­portivo dropped into the bot­tom three af­ter drawing 1-1 at Malaga.

Italy

Ju­ven­tus was pre­vented from clinch­ing a fourth con­sec­u­tive Serie A ti­tle with a 2-1 loss at Torino in a derby marred by fan vi­o­lence.

Af­ter An­drea Pirlo put Ju­ven­tus ahead with a free kick, Mat­teo Darmian equal­ized just be­fore half­time and for­mer Juve for­ward Fabio Quagliarella scored the win­ner in the 57th.

It was Juve’s only third league loss this sea­son and the first time Torino has won the league derby in 20 years.

Be­fore the match, Torino fans at­tacked the bus car­ry­ing Juve’s play­ers as it ap­proached the sta­dium, break­ing a win­dow. Ju­ven­tus sup­port­ers re­tal­i­ated by throw­ing fire­works at Torino coun­ter­parts in­side the sta­dium, in­jur­ing sev­eral.

Ju­ven­tus needed a win and a Lazio loss to clinch the ti­tle, and Lazio was held to a 1-1 draw at home by Chievo Verona.

Ju­ven­tus is 14 points ahead of Lazio with six matches re­main­ing. Roma is one point fur­ther back in third af­ter a 2-1 loss at In­ter Mi­lan on Satur­day.

Napoli beat Sam­p­do­ria 4-2 thanks to two goals from Gon­zalo Higuain, mov­ing it within two points of Roma in the race for third place and the fi­nal Cham­pi­ons League berth.

Fiorentina was sixth af­ter los­ing 3-1 at home to Cagliari, with Duje Cop scor­ing twice.

In other matches, Hel­las Verona beat Sas­suolo 3-2; Parma de­feated Palermo 1-0 to; Genoa beat Ce­sena 3-1, and Ata­lanta and Em­poli drew 2-2.

AP

From left, Ju­ven­tus’ Leonardo Bonucci, Torino’s Fabio Quagliarella, Ju­ven­tus’ An­gelo Og­bonna and Torino’s Maxi Lopez go for the ball dur­ing a Serie A soc­cer match at the Olympic sta­dium, in Turin, Italy on Sun­day, April 26.

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