Madrid beats Barca for 2nd time in a week
MADRID (AP) - Real Madrid beat Barcelona for the second time in five days, earning a 2-1 win Saturday.
Sergio Ramos headed the winner in the 82nd minute in Luka Modric's corner. It gave Madrid its first home league victory over Barcelona since 2008, in a game that grew testy toward the end with Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes sent off for protesting.
Lionel Messi extended his Spanish league scoring record to 16 straight games when he tied it in the 18th minute to cancel out Karim Benzema's sixth-minute opener. Messi reached 50 goals for the third straight season.
It was Messi's 18th career goal in "clasico'' matches to tie Madrid great Alfredo Di Stefano's mark set in the 1950s and `60s. But Barcelona was a shadow of the thrilling team that until last season had dominated the rivalry in recent years.
"We deserved to win. The team has been strengthened by these `clasico' matches,'' Ramos said. "We are going to Manchester convinced (we will move on) but with respect for our opponent.''
Madrid even managed without Cristiano Ronaldo for much of the match, as Mourinho rested the Portuguese winger until the final half hour with the game against United on Tuesday in mind.
While Madrid remains 13 points behind Barcelona in the league, this result could allow second-place Atletico Madrid to cut the deficit to nine points Sunday at Malaga.
Barcelona has now flopped in its last three games against major opponents after also losing 2-0 at AC Milan in the Champions League. It faces an uphill battle against the Italian side in the return leg on March 12 and must look to regroup quickly.
LONDON (AP) - Shinji Kagawa's hat trick and a stunning goal from Wayne Rooney maintained Manchester United's march to the Premier League title on Saturday, while Rafa Benitez was spared a backlash from Chelsea fans in the team's 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.
Luis Suarez matched Kagawa's exploits by scoring three times in Liverpool's 4-0 win over Wigan, lifting him above United striker Robin van Persie to the top of the division's scoring charts with 21 goals.
United provisionally moved 15 points clear with a 4-0 thrashing of Norwich at Old Trafford, with Japan midfielder Kagawa opening the scoring just before halftime and grabbing two more well-taken goals to become the first Asian player to score a hat trick in the Premier League.
"It was a brilliant day for him,'' said United manager Alex Ferguson, who left Ryan Giggs out of the matchday squad to keep the veteran midfielder waiting for his 1,000th senior competitive appearance for club and country.
Rooney garnished the scoreline with a long-distance screamer in injury time as United warmed up for Tuesday's Champions League match against Real Madrid in style. Second-place Manchester City plays Aston Villa on Monday.
Chelsea provisionally moved into third place - four points behind City - thanks to Demba Ba's 28th-minute winner, giving Benitez some respite after his midweek tirade against the club's fans and board that appeared to leave him in a precarious position.
The hostility among the home support was expected to be cranked up but the atmosphere was relatively calm inside Stamford Bridge, giving Chelsea the serenity to secure a crucial win.
"There were a lot of positives,'' Benitez said. "The reception from the crowd was quite good. I wanted everybody to stick together.''
Tottenham, which provisionally slipped to fourth, hosts fifth-place Arsenal on Sunday.
Last-place Queens Park Rangers gave its survival hopes a boost by winning 2-1 at Southampton to move three points adrift of Reading, which lost 3-1 at Everton.
Swansea's first game since winning the League Cup final last weekend ended in a 1-0 victory at home to Newcastle, with Luke Moore scoring a late winner, while Sunderland came from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Fulham.
West Ham stopped its slide into the relegation trouble by beating Stoke 1-0 away.
BERLIN (AP) - Julian Draxler led Schalke to its first away win in the Bundesliga since October by scoring twice and setting up another in a 4-1 victory at Wolfsburg on Saturday.
The 19-year-old Draxler broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute and scored his second in the 63rd, 12 minutes after Ivica Olic equalized with a header.
Draxler then crossed for Jefferson Farfan to secure the win on a counterattack in the 79th, and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar added another with four minutes remaining.
"An outstanding performance,'' said Schalke coach Jens Keller, who appears to have overcome a shaky start since taking over from the dismissed Huub Stevens. "I'm proud of the lads.''
Robert Lewandowski scored twice in Borussia Dortmund's 3-1 win at home over Hannover to take his season tally to 16 goals.
Hamburger SV could only draw 1-1 with bottom side Greuther Furth, Werder Bremen lost 1-0 at home to Augsburg, and Nuremberg drew 1-1 with Freiburg.
Bayer Leverkusen came from behind with two goals in the last eight minutes to beat Stuttgart 2-1 in the late game.
PARIS (AP) - Big-spending Paris Saint-Germain slipped to a 1-0 loss at relegation-battlers Reims on Saturday, with the French leader conceding the goal shortly after the hosts had a player sent off.
Reims defender Christopher Glombard was red-carded in the 58th after picking up a second yellow card, and minutes later midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak was left unchallenged to sweep the ball in following a corner from the right.
PSG brought on substitute David Beckham and winger Jeremy Menez shortly after the goal but it made little difference
It was PSG's second consecutive away loss to a team fighting relegation following the 3-2 loss at Sochaux two weeks ago and the second time it has lost despite having a numerical advantage after a 2-1 home defeat to Rennes in November. The result leaves the door open for second-place Lyon to move level on points if it wins at Brest on Sunday, and will dent confidence ahead of Wednesday's home match against Valencia in the return leg of the Champions League last 16.
"We have to battle more,'' PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "The pitch really wasn't good and we couldn't play the ball on the ground.''
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) - Celtic stayed on course for the domestic double by beating St. Mirren 2-1 on Saturday to advance to the semifinals of the Scottish Cup.
The Glasgow club avenged a 3-2 loss to the same opponent in the Scottish League Cup in January, with Anthony Stokes grabbing the winner in the 21st minute.
Joe Ledley gave Celtic the lead in the fifth minute before Esmael Goncalves tied it in the 13th.
Celtic has a hold on the Scottish Premier League, boasting a 19-point lead with less than three months remaining in the season.
Falkirk joined Celtic in Monday's semifinal draw by winning 2-1 at Hamilton.
The other two quarterfinal matches are Sunday, when Dundee hosts Dundee United and Hibernian travels to Kilmarnock.