Man City drops 2 more points in pursuit of United
LONDON (AP) - Liverpool did Manchester United a big favor in the Premier League on Sunday, holding Manchester City to a 2-2 draw to leave the defending champions nine points behind their neighbors in the title race.
Sergio Aguero's 79th-minute goal gave City one point that will be of little comfort to manager Roberto Mancini, whose team has dropped four points in six days and is struggling to keep pace with United.
"Seven or nine points doesn't change (anything),'' Mancini said. "I think we can recover it.''
Tottenham beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 in the other game thanks to another superb goal from star winger Gareth Bale, and is now just a point behind third-place Chelsea.
The game turned on the ejection of West Brom defender Goran Popov in the 48th minute for spitting in the direction of Spurs right back Kyle Walker. Bale scored 19 minutes later.
"I'm absolutely disgusted with Goran's behavior,'' West Brom manager Steve Clarke said. "There's no excuse for that. There's no place for it in life, never mind on a football pitch.''
Liverpool stayed seventh - nine points behind Spurs and six behind fifth-place Everton, which occupies the league's sole Europa League spot - and is still awaiting a victory over a team in the top half of the standings this season.
City had one of its poorest games at home this season and couldn't cope with the pace of Liverpool forwards Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez. Sturridge, a recent signing from Chelsea, offset Edin Dzeko's 23rd-minute opening goal with a fiercely struck shot six minutes later.
"I feel like I am maturing a bit, getting a bit fitter,'' said Sturridge, who nevertheless finished the match with a bandage around his left thigh.
Steven Gerrard rifled home a dipping volley in the 73rd to leave City on the brink of only its second home loss this season. But Aguero came to the rescue by running onto Gareth Barry's cross, rounding goalkeeper Pepe Reina and finding the net from a sharp angle.
"In the last month we played well in all the games,'' Mancini said. "But we were so nervous in this game and I don't know why.''
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Malaga was held to a 1-1 home draw by Real Zaragoza in the Spanish league, with forward Julio Baptista returning after a 16-month layoff with a broken right foot.
Sevilla, improving under new coach Unai Emery, beat visiting Rayo Vallecano 2-1. Helder Postiga side-footed a long pass into the far corner of the net to score for Zaragoza 13 minutes into the game. Sevilla remained in the middle of the standings after its third straight home win. Rayo stayed in sixth place.
Francisco "Isco'' Alarcon tied it for Malaga 10 minutes later by converting a penalty kick after Javier Parades had handled the ball in the box.
Baptista entered the game for Malaga in the 70th to applause. The hosts, however, lost Eliseu Pereira and Joaquin Sanchez to apparent leg injuries during the game.
Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini was more upset with the state of the field than with the result that puts in danger his team's hold on fourth place and Spain's last Champions League spot.
"I don't think I am the only one angry about the pitch, the public is also, when 20 players are incapable of making two passes in a row,'' Pellegrini said.
Later, Barcelona played at Valencia.
ROME (AP) - Juventus won 2-1 at Chievo Verona to move three points ahead of Napoli again at the top of Serie A.
Juventus striker Alessandro Matri scored after 10 minutes with a spectacular volley, and midfielder Stephan Lichtsteiner doubled the lead in the 42nd after receiving a backheel pass from Sebastian Giovinco. Cyril Thereau pulled one back for Chievo in the 52nd.
On Saturday, Napoli beat Catania 2-0 to draw even with Juventus, marking the first time in 23 years the southern club had been in first place at this point in the season. Juventus led Napoli by 10 points just a few weeks ago, but the Turin squad had struggled in recent matches.
Elsewhere, third-placed Lazio lost 3-2 at Genoa, where Marco Rigoni scored the winner in the fifth minute of added time with a header. The result left Lazio nine points behind Juventus.
Fourth-place Inter Milan lost 3-1 at Siena, and Fiorentina moved into fifth with a 2-0 win over Parma behind goals from Luca Toni and Stevan Jovetic.
Later, Mario Balotelli could make his debut for AC Milan against Udinese. In other matches, Atalanta won 2-1 at last-placed Palermo and Bologna won 3-2 at Pescara.
BERLIN (AP) - Borussia Dortmund withstood a late rally from Bayer Leverkusen to win 3-2 and move above the home side into second place in the Bundesliga.
Marco Reus scored in the third minute and Jakub Blaszczykowski made it 2-0 to Dortmund from a penalty kick six minutes later.
Leverkusen pulled one back in the 58th, when Stefan Kiessling set up Stefan Reinartz for the midfielder's first goal of the season. He got his second four minutes later, only for Robert Lewandowski to reply straight away for the defending champions at the other end.
Blaszczykowski had the chance to make it 4-2 in the 71st, but this time Bernd Leno saved the Pole's penalty kick and kept his side in the game, although to little avail.
PARIS (AP) - Adrian Mutu scored two second-half goals, rallying Ajaccio past title contender Lyon 3-1 in the French league.
Alexandre Lacazette gave Lyon the lead in the 53rd minute when he volleyed in a cross from the left, but Chahir Belghazouani tied it for the Corsican club four minutes later.
Mutu put Ajaccio ahead in the 65th and then added a last-minute penalty kick after Lyon's Dejan Lovren was sent off.
Lyon's defeat means Paris Saint-Germain is now three points clear of Lyon at the top of the league, and six points ahead of third-place Marseille, which can reduce the gap to three if it beats last-place Nancy in Sunday's later game.
After Ajaccio's equalizer, Lyon defended sloppily. Mutu was left unmarked to head home from the penalty spot and then sent goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Montpellier climbed to eighth place with a 3-1 win against visiting Reims.
AMSTERDAM (AP) - Defending league champion Ajax beat VVV-Venlo 3-0 to advance to second place in the Dutch Eredivisie after 10-man FC Twente lost 4-2 at home to FC Utrecht.
PSV Eindhoven strengthened its position at the top of the Eredivisie by thrashing ADO The Hague 7-0 on Saturday night, bringing the Dick Advocaat-coached team's goal tally to 73 in 21 matches.
Captain Siem de Jong gave Ajax the lead in the 34th minute, latching onto Christian Eriksen's pass and firing past Niki Maenpaa. Viktor Fischer made it 2-0 in the 61st and substitute Derk Boerrigter completed the scoring nine minutes from the end.
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