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Atletico pulls ahead of Barca, Madrid in Spain

February 3, 2014

For once neither Lionel Messi’s Barcelona nor Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid is leading the way in Spain.

Atletico Madrid took sole possession of first place for the first time this season by routing Real Sociedad 4-0 Sunday.

David Villa, Diego Costa, Miranda and the newly arrived Diego scored the goals that put Atletico three points ahead of Barcelona, taking full advantage of a rare slip-up by the champions.

Barcelona lost 3-2 to Valencia on Saturday, boosting Atletico’s bid to break the Barca-Madrid monopoly on the trophy with a first championship since 1996. Madrid is tied with Barcelona after drawing 1-1 with Athletic Bilbao in a game that saw Ronaldo get sent off with 15 minutes left for swiping his hand across Carlos Gurpegi’s face following a shove from his opponent.


LONDON (AP) — In the Premier League’s top-four shuffle, it is Arsenal leading the way again — for now.

After slipping from the summit during the week, the Gunners overcame struggling Crystal Palace 2-0 thanks to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s second-half brace.

Now the focus turns to Monday night when Manchester City, which is two points behind Arsenal, hosts Chelsea, which is three points further back in third.

Liverpool remained in fourth place, but its 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion was a missed opportunity to strengthen its pursuit of Champions League qualification.

Having led through Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool defender Kolo Toure sloppily gave the ball away to allow Victor Anicheb to equalize for West Brom.

Although Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger still talks of United as a rival, an eighth loss of the title defense — at Stoke on Saturday — means the champions are seven points behind Liverpool.


MILAN (AP) — Juventus eased to a comfortable 3-1 win over bitter rival Inter Milan in the Italian league to extend its lead at the top of the table to nine points.

Stephan Lichtsteiner, Giorgio Chiellini and Arturo Vidal scored for Juventus before Rolando grabbed a consolation for Inter in the match known as the derby d’Italia.

Antonio Conte’s team extended its lead over second-place Roma, which saw its match against Parma abandoned after eight minutes due to a waterlogged pitch.

Juventus also moved 15 points ahead of Napoli, which fell to a surprise 3-0 loss at Atalanta as German Denis struck twice against his former club.


BERLIN (AP) — Bayern Munich remains 13 points ahead of Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga after routing Eintracht Frankfurt 5-0 on Sunday.

There were five different scorers for Bayern: Mario Goetze, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Dante, and Mario Mandzukic.

Bayern stretched its record league unbeaten run to 44 games and the win was its 17th in 19 games this season. The other two games were draws.


PARIS (AP) — Lille extended its slump by losing 1-0 at Nice in the French league on Sunday, its fifth straight game without a win.

Nice defender Mathieu Bodmer diverted in Christian Bruls’ volley with a backheel flick on the stroke of halftime to give the hosts the win.

Despite the defeat, Lille remained in third place but saw its lead over Saint-Etienne cut to one point after picking up just two draws and three losses in its past five league games.

Nice provisionally moved into 12th place.


GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Goalkeeper Fraser Forster broke Celtic’s 92-year-old clean-sheet record by going an 11th game without conceding as the Scottish champion beat St. Mirren 1-0 on Sunday.

Kris Commons scored after just five minutes with a shot from 25 yards, and the victory was preserved by Forster’s saves. The England World Cup-squad hopeful surpassed the Celtic clean-sheet record set by Charlie Shaw in 1913-14 and again in 1921-22.

Celtic leads the standings by 21 points.

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