Chelsea wins to retain EPL title hopes

Chelsea boosted its slim chances of retaining the Premier League title by beating Manchester City 2-0, while Liverpool closed in on fifth-place Tottenham with a 2-0 victory at Sunderland on Sunday.

Brazil internationals David Luiz and Ramires scored in the final 12 minutes to settle a hard-fought match at Stamford Bridge, lifting Chelsea a point above City into third place and nine points adrift of league leader Manchester United with a game in hand.

"The longer the game went on, the better we got going forward," Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said. "It was a big win for us. "We have nine games to play and we have to do our best. Our form is good."

City, which was without injured Argentina striker Carlos Tevez, is four points above Tottenham having played one more match. With the team's title hopes all but over, its focus could now be on staying in the top four.

"We played three days ago against Dynamo Kiev (in the Europa League), and in the last 20 minutes we were so tired," City manager Roberto Mancini said. "Until 70 minutes, it was normal that Chelsea had more possession but we conceded nothing before then."

A controversial penalty, scored by Netherlands forward Dirk Kuyt in the 34th minute, set Liverpool on its way to victory at the Stadium of Light. Video replays showed Jay Spearing was fouled outside the box by John Mensah but the assistant referee awarded a penalty.

A wonderful solo effort from Uruguay striker Luis Suarez in the 77th minute clinched the three points for Liverpool before Mensah was given a straight red card for hauling down Suarez as he chased a long punt upfield by goalkeeper Jose Reina.

The Reds are four points behind Tottenham but have played a game more.


BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Osasuna scored twice in each half to thrash Hercules 4-0 for its third straight win in the Spanish league.

Javier Camunas scored Osasuna's 10th-minute opener after Enrique Sola set the Spanish winger up inside the area.

Right back Nelson Tomar doubled the lead in the 35th before goals by Krisztian Vadozc and Sola in the second half.

Osasuna moved six points clear of the relegation zone, while Hercules is last after its fourth straight loss.

Jose Rondon scored twice as Malaga defeated Espanyol 2-0 after a dominant first half.

The Venezuelan striker rifled in a long pass that Espanyol defender Jordi Amat failed to clear in the eighth minute, and he stabbed in a cross from Francisco Portillo in the 26th for his 12th goal of the season.

Malaga is only one point from safety after its second straight win.

Levante stayed undefeated in five matches after beating Deportivo La Coruna 1-0 from Ruben Suarez's 90th-minute free kick.

Miguel de las Cuevas scored to give Sporting Gijon a 1-0 win over Almeria, and Racing Santander beat Real Sociedad 2-1.

Villarreal moved into third as Marco Ruben scored in the 58th minute for a 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao. Valencia dropped to fourth when it lost 1-0 at home to Sevilla, with Ivan Rakitic volleying in a rebound of Alvaro Negredo's 70th-minute shot.

On Saturday, leader Barcelona beat Getafe 2-1 to remain five points clear of Real Madrid, which downed Atletico Madrid 2-1 to claim its fourth Spanish capital derby this season.


ROME (AP) — Inter Milan moved within two points of Serie A leader AC Milan by beating Lecce 1-0, while Roma captain Francesco Totti became only the sixth player to break the 200-goal barrier in the Italian league.

Giampaolo Pazzini scored in the 52nd minute at the San Siro, setting up the possibility for Inter to take the lead when Serie A resumes with the Milan derby in two weeks.

However, key Inter center back Lucio picked up a yellow card that will rule him out of the April 2 derby.

Still, Inter has the momentum, having also advanced to the Champions League quarterfinals with a thrilling comeback win over Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Milan lost 1-0 at Palermo on Saturday and drew 1-1 with last-place Bari the previous weekend in a match where Zlatan Ibrahimovic was sent off for punching a defender in the chest. The incident triggered a three-match ban that rules Ibrahimovic out of the derby.

"Milan is a great squad and the derby is a special game, but it's not decisive because there will still be several more matches," Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar said. "In any case, it's definitely going to be a big (match)."

Totti scored the 200th and 201st goals of his Serie A career in a 2-2 draw at Fiorentina.

Silvio Piola, who won the World Cup with Italy in 1938, tops the all-time scoring list with 274 goals, followed by Gunnar Nordahl (225), Giuseppe Meazza (216), Jose Altafini (216) and Roberto Baggio (205).

Also Sunday, Antonio Di Natale scored his league-leading 25th goal as fourth-place Udinese beat Catania 2-0. Third-place Napoli defeated visiting Cagliari 2-1 as Edinson Cavani scored twice to raise his total to 22 league goals.

Milan leads with 62 points, Inter has 60 and Udinese and Napoli have 56 each.

Juventus snapped a four-game winless streak with a 2-1 win over Brescia, with captain Alessandro Del Piero dribbling by two defenders to score the winner in the 68th.

Also, it was: Bari 1, Chievo Verona 2; Bologna 1, Genoa 1; and Sampdoria 0, Parma 1.


BERLIN (AP) — Bayer Leverkusen moved within seven points of Bundesliga leader Borussia Dortmund by beating Schalke 2-0, after an early strike by Eren Derdiyok and an own goal from Christoph Metzelder.

Derdiyok's fifth goal of the season came in the 19th minute, with the striker running onto Michael Ballack's perfectly timed pass before unleashing a powerful dipping effort into the top right corner.

Metzelder's own goal doubled the lead in the 27th, the Schalke defender's attempted clearance of Renato Augusto's cross sailing past the helpless Manuel Neuer.

With seven rounds remaining, Leverkusen is second behind Dortmund, which was held to a 1-1 draw by Mainz on Saturday.

Schalke, which fired its coach Felix Magath in midweek, remains 10th.

In Sunday's late game, Stuttgart's Georg Niedermeier scored in the fourth minute of injury time in a 1-1 draw at home, to deny Magath a win in his first game in charge of Wolfsburg.

Magath returned on Friday to the club he led to the 2009 Bundesliga title, two days after he was fired by Schalke.


PARIS (AP) — Defender Gabriel Heinze scored on a free kick in the 17th minute and Andre Ayew put Marseille ahead for good in the 35th minute of a 2-1 victory over visiting Paris Saint-Germain.

Clement Chantome had tied the score in the 27th minute at Stade Velodrome.

Marseille is in second place, one point ahead of Rennes and two ahead of fourth-place Lyon. PSG is fifth.

Morocco striker Youssef El Arabi scored his 14th league goal of the season as Caen beat last-place Arles-Avignon 2-0 to move six points clear of the relegation zone.

Monaco stayed in the drop zone after stumbling to a 1-0 home loss to fellow struggler Nancy, which scored an early goal when Brazilian defender Andre Luiz headed in powerfully from Julien Feret's 19th-minute corner.

Monaco is in 18th place and is three points behind 17th-place Auxerre. Arles is rock bottom and looks certain to be relegated, having only won one game out of 28 in the league this season.


AMSTERDAM (AP) — Otman Bakkal scored in the 54th minute to give PSV Eindhoven a 1-0 win over FC Utrecht to stay on top of the Dutch league.

Bakkal headed in a Stanislav Manolev cross to secure the victory for PSV.

Midfielder Theo Janssen netted twice, including a 67th-minute penalty, to give defending champion FC Twente a 2-0 win over 10-man Excelsior Rotterdam.

PSV, who holds a one-point lead in the league, travels to second-place FC Twente in a potentially title-deciding match after the international break.

Timothy Derijck scored a last-gasp winner as ADO The Hague beat Ajax 3-2.

Also Sunday, goals by Anouar Hadouir and Mads Junker gave Roda JC a 3-0 victory over Feyenoord to end the club's six-game winning streak.


ISTANBUL (AP) — American striker Freddy Adu scored the first goal in Rizespor's 2-0 win at Akhisar Belediyespor in a second-division match in Turkey. It was Adu's second goal for the club.


GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Rangers won the Scottish League Cup thanks to Nikica Jelavic's extra-time goal in a 2-1 victory over Glasgow rival Celtic at Hampden Park.

The Croatia striker slipped home a finish in the 98th minute to deliver manager Walter Smith another trophy in his final season at Ibrox.

Rangers had taken the lead in the 23rd when Steven Davis' shot from 20 meters crept in off the base of the post, but Wales midfielder Joe Ledley tied seven minutes later with a close-range header.

It was the first piece of silverware won in Scotland this season. Celtic and Rangers are also the top two teams in the Scottish Premier League.