City’s title defense rocked by loss at Southampton

February 9, 2013 • Entertainment

Chelsea’s Marko Marin head the ball to score a gaol against Wigan Athletic during their English Premier League soccer match at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

LONDON (AP) — The English Premier League trophy slipped further from Manchester City’s grasp after the defending champion lost 3-1 at Southampton on Saturday and gave Manchester United the opportunity to move 12 points in front.

City’s rough night on the south coast was summed up at the start of the second half when Gareth Barry put the ball into his own net to give Southampton its final goal.

A blunder by City goalkeeper Joe Hart in the first half allowed Steve Davis to score Southampton’s second after Jason Puncheon’s opener.

The only goal for Manchester City was scored by Edin Dzeko at the end of the first half as Roberto Mancini’s team slumped to a third winless game.

The nine-point gap at the top of the standings will be extended if United beats Everton on Sunday.

Chelsea remained third but was only four points [auth] behind City after beating Wigan 4-1 to ease the pressure on manager Rafa Benitez after two league games without a win.

Eden Hazard marked his return from a suspension for kicking at a ball boy by scoring Chelsea’s decisive second goal. Ramires, Frank Lampard and Marko Marin also scored.

Gareth Bale scored both of Tottenham’s goals in a 2-1 victory over Newcastle to clinch the fourth Champions League qualification spot and stay a point behind Chelsea.

Arsenal is four points behind Tottenham after overcoming Carl Jenkinson’s sending-off to win 1-0 at Sunderland courtesy of Santi Cazorla’s goal.

Queens Park Rangers’ faint hopes of surviving the drop took another hit as the last-place team lost 4-1 at Swansea.

The upside for QPR was Wigan remaining only four points ahead in the third relegation place.

Reading is two points above the drop zone after losing 2-1 at Stoke.

At Norwich, Fulham extended Norwich’s winless streak to nine games by holding out for a 0-0 draw.


FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Defender David Alaba scored two goals as Bayern Munich cruised to a 4-0 victory over Schalke to open a 15-point lead in the Bundesliga.

Bayern, trying to win its first title after two seasons without a trophy, was helped by the mishaps of its two closest challengers.

Son Heung-min and Artjoms Rudnevs scored two goals each for Hamburger SV to stun defending champion Borussia Dortmund 4-1 in a match that both teams finished with 10 men.

Robert Lewandowski and Hamburg’s Jeffrey Bruma were sent off in separate incidents.

Dortmund stayed in second place because Bayer Leverkusen was held to a 3-3 draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach. Leverkusen trailed twice before letting a 3-2 lead slip away. Dortmund is one point ahead of Leverkusen but now 15 behind Bayern.

Stuttgart fell to its fifth straight loss in a 4-1 defeat at home to Werder Bremen, Wolfsburg won 1-0 at last-place Greuther Fuerth, Hannover edged Hoffenheim 1-0 and Eintracht Frankfurt blew a chance to move up to third when it was held to a 0-0 draw at home by Nuremberg.


MILAN (AP) — Defending champion Juventus beat Fiorentina 2-0 in the Serie A to provisionally extend its advantage at the top of the standings.

Mirko Vucinic gave Juventus the lead in the 20th minute with a powerful shot under the bar following a poor clearance by Gonzalo Rodriguez.

Alessandro Matri doubled Juve’s lead shortly before the break, scoring his third successive goal in unusual circumstances, as the striker’s boot had already fallen off before he struck the ball.

The win puts Juventus six points ahead of second-placed Napoli, which played third-place Lazio later.


BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo posted his 21st career hat trick to lead Real Madrid to a 4-1 home win over Sevilla in the Spanish league.

Ronaldo did his best to make amends for his own goal that cost Madrid a loss at Granada in the last round, recording his 22nd, 23rd and 24th goals in the league this season. Only Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, with 34, has scored more.

Madrid stayed in third place. It trails Barcelona by 13 points, with the leader hosting Getafe on Sunday.

With Madrid’s Spanish league title defense all but mathematically impossible, a large share of its silverware hopes for this season now rest on its round-of-16 Champions League tie with United starting in the Spanish capital on Wednesday.

Substitute Nelson Valdez scored in stoppage time to give Valencia a 1-0 win at Celta Vigo, just three days before its Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain.

Also, Francisco “Isco” Alarcon scored two times to lead Malaga back to a 2-1 victory at Levante, while defender Geromel also scored after 90 minutes to give Mallorca a 1-1 draw with Osasuna and salvage coach Gregorio Manzano’s debut.


GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — A makeshift Celtic side cruised to 3-1 victory at Inverness to move 18 points ahead of the hosts at the top of the Scottish Premier League.

Nick Ross gave Inverness the lead in the ninth minute only for Celtic midfielder Kris Commons to tie it in the 20th with a crisp left-footed strike.

Three minutes into the second half, Rami Gershon headed Celtic into the lead before Miku grabbed a third for the champions in the 82nd.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon made several changes to his lineup, resting some starters ahead of the first leg of the Champions League last-16 match against Juventus on Tuesday.


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Olympiakos increased its lead in the Greek league to 15 points with nine games to play after beating Asteras 1-0 with a last-gasp goal.

Costas Mitroglou scored two minutes into injury time.

Olympiakos dominated after Asteras was left with 10 players from the 56th minute, when Khalifa Sankare was shown a second yellow card.

PAOK, a 3-1 come-from-behind winner over visiting OFI, overtook Asteras for second place.


PARIS (AP) — Saint-Etienne beat defending champion Montpellier 4-1 to move up to fourth place in the French league.

Fifth-place Nice was held to a 1-1 home draw by Lorient and sixth-place Bordeaux lost 1-0 at Ajaccio.

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