Leicester extends lead in EPL, Ronaldo scores 4 in Spain
Leicester stayed on course to become the English Premier League’s most unlikely champion, while Cristiano Ronaldo became La Liga’s second all-time leading scorer on Saturday.
Hours after seeing fellow title rivals Tottenham and Arsenal draw 2-2 in the north London derby, Leicester beat Watford 1-0 away to extend its lead to five points with just nine games remaining.
While Real Madrid is still far behind Spanish leader Barcelona, Ronaldo hit another scoring landmark with four second-half goals to fuel a 7-1 rout of Celta Vigo. His 252 career goals according to the league are only second to Barcelona star Lionel Messi’s 305.
Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, the respective leaders in Germany and France, were both held to scoreless draws.
Here is a look at Europe’s major leagues:
Riyad Mahrez grabbed Leicester’s winner at Watford with his 15th goal of the season, controlling the ball at the edge of the area and curling an exquisite shot into the top corner in the 56th minute.
A team that was almost relegated last season is showing no sign of slowing up in its charge to the title. The same cannot be said of the other contenders.
Alexis Sanchez equalized to earn 10-man Arsenal a point against Spurs, meaning both sides dropped two points on Leicester. Leicester has 60 points, Tottenham 55 and Arsenal 52.
Fourth-place Manchester City beat Aston Villa 4-0 to end a run of three straight losses. Sergio Aguero scored two of the four second-half goals.
West Ham scored three goals in the final 12 minutes to rally to a 3-2 win at Everton and keep in touch with the top four, which could now be out of reach for Chelsea after the soon-to-be-deposed champions drew 1-1 at home to Stoke.
Newcastle lost 3-1 to Bournemouth and Norwich fell 1-0 at Swansea as both losers stayed in the relegation zone, and Southampton scored in the last minute to draw 1-1 against Sunderland.
Ronaldo’s four goals took him past Telmo Zarra’s mark of 251 that had stood as a record until Messi broke it in 2014.
Besides surpassing Zarra’s mark for Athletic Bilbao from 1955, Ronaldo also passed Barcelona’s Luis Suarez as the league top scorer for the season. Ronaldo has 27 goals to Suarez’s 25.
After Pepe put Madrid ahead before halftime, Ronaldo scored with a long blast. He added another goal from a free kick, tapped in a short cross, and headed home a corner kick.
Jese Rodriguez and Gareth Bale completed the demolition of a Celta side that held its own before halftime but fell apart in the second half.
Madrid remained in third place and a provisional nine points behind Barcelona, which visits Eibar on Sunday, when second-place Atletico Madrid also visits Valencia.
Elsewhere, Las Palmas ended fourth-place Villarreal’s 14-round unbeaten streak with a 1-0 away win, Sevilla drew 1-1 at Getafe, and an own goal gave Malaga a 3-3 draw at Deportivo La Coruna.
Bayern took another small step toward an unprecedented fourth successive Bundesliga title with a hard-fought scoreless draw at closest rival Borussia Dortmund.
Bayern, which had a healthy eight-point lead before Wednesday’s shock home defeat to Mainz, preserved the five-point gap with nine games remaining.
Also, Claudio Pizarro scored his 100th Bundesliga goal for Werder Bremen in a 4-1 win over last-place Hannover and Bayer Leverkusen came from three goals down to draw 3-3 at Augsburg.
Schalke won 3-1 at Cologne to move to fourth. Wolfsburg defeated Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-1, Stuttgart routed Hoffenheim 5-1, and Eintracht Frankfurt drew 1-1 with Ingolstadt.
Paris Saint-Germain prepared for its Champions League game against Chelsea with an unimpressive 0-0 draw against Montpellier.
PSG coach Laurent Blanc rotated his team at the Parc des Princes to avoid any injuries ahead of Wednesday’s match at Stamford Bridge. PSG’s Edinson Cavani hit the crossbar in the third minute, and Montpellier goalkeeper Laurent Pionnier denied Zlatan Ibrahimovic in stoppage time.
PSG remained 23 points ahead of second-place Monaco in the standings.
Nice beat Troyes 2-1 and rose to third place, while sixth-place Saint-Etienne missed drew 0-0 at Angers.
Lille defeated Reims 2-0, Bordeaux drew with Ajaccio 1-1, and Lorient drew 0-0 at Bastia.
Napoli came from behind to beat Chievo Verona 3-1 and move provisionally level with Juventus at the top of the Serie A table.
Nicola Rigoni gave Chievo a surprise lead in the second minute but Gonzalo Higuain leveled four minutes later. Vlad Chiriches and Jose Callejon secured its first win in six matches in all competitions.
Juventus visits Atalanta on Sunday.
Sampdoria also beat bottom club Hellas Verona 3-0.