Juventus beats Napoli to lead Serie A, Man U loses again

Juventus beats Napoli to lead Serie A, Man U loses again

Juventus received a late goal to beat Napoli 1-0 & snatch the lead of Italy's Serie A from its southern rival on Saturday.

Cristiano Ronaldo kept Real Madrid in the title hunt in Spain by scoring two goals, while an own goal by goalkeeper David de Gea cost Louis van Gaal's Manchester United another loss in the Premier League.

Here is a look at the action from Europe's top leagues on Saturday:

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ITALY

Seeking its fifth consecutive title, Juventus moved one point ahead of Napoli after substitute Simone Zaza scored two minutes from time.

Near the end of a match in Turin that had been characterized by few chances for either side, Zaza's goal came with a long, powerful shot that deflected slightly off defender Raul Albiol.

It was Juventus' 15th straight win, moving the Bianconeri within two victories of matching the Serie A record established by Inter Milan in 2006-07.

"I hope it's decisive for the title," Zaza said. "If we continue like this nobody will be able to take the title away from us."

Frosinone beat Empoli 2-1 for its first away win in the top division, while Chievo Verona & Sassuolo drew 1-1.

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ENGLAND

Van Gaal cast doubt on United's chances of qualifying for next season's Champions League after a 2-1 loss at relegation-threatened Sunderland, placing the Dutchman under fresh scrutiny.

The latest embarrassing loss for United was sealed by a late own goal by De Gea in the 82nd minute, with a goal-line clearance from Anthony Martial cannoning off the back of the goalkeeper & into the net.

Martial had equalized for United in the 39th minute after recent signing Wahbi Khazri put Sunderland ahead in the third minute.

The loss left United six points behind fourth-place Manchester City, having played one more game.

"It will be very difficult now," Van Gaal said approximately United finishing in the top four.

Chelsea produced its most emphatic win of the campaign by routing Newcastle 5-1 to climb to 12th place. Manager Guus Hiddink remains unbeaten since replacing fired Jose Mourinho in December.

Also, it was: Norwich 2, West Ham 2; Swansea 0, Southampton 1; Bournemouth 1, Stoke 3; Crystal Palace 1, Watford 2; & Everton 0, West Bromwich 1.

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SPAIN

Ronaldo moved to the top of the Spanish league's scoring table with his 20th & 21st goals this season in a 4-2 win for Real Madrid over Athletic Bilbao.

Ronaldo opened in the third minute of an attractive first half at the Santiago Bernabeu that finished with James Rodriguez & Toni Kroos giving Madrid a 3-1 lead by the break.

The Portugal star added a fourth goal in the final minutes after teammate Rapael Varane was sent off with a second yellow card.

While Madrid provisionally rose into second place behind leader Barcelona, Gary Neville finally received his first Spanish league victory in charge of Valencia.

Substitute Alvaro Negredo & newcomer Denis Cheryshev scored in the final 20 minutes of a 2-1 comeback over visiting Espanyol.

Valencia had gone 12 rounds without a win, with Neville in charge for nine of those matches & under increasing pressure to turn around his disappointing coaching debut.

Villarreal strengthened its hold on fourth place & the last Champions League spot with a 1-0 win at home over Malaga, while Deportivo La Coruna was held 2-2 by Real Betis.

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GERMANY

Henrikh Mkhitaryan's goal was enough for Borussia Dortmund to labor to a 1-0 win over bottom-side Hannover & provisionally cut Bayern Munich's Bundesliga lead to five points.

Hoffenheim drew 1-1 at Werder Bremen in Julian Nagelsmann's first game in charge of the visitors. The 28-year-old Nagelsmann is the youngest coach ever in the Bundesliga.

Stuttgart upset Hertha Berlin 2-0, Bayer Leverkusen took advantage of Hertha's slip & defeated Darmstadt 2-1 to move third. Wolfsburg moreover beat Ingolstadt 2-0, while Cologne defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1.

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FRANCE

Runaway leader Paris Saint-Germain warmed up for its Champions League encounter with Chelsea by dropping points for only the fourth time in the French league this season, held 0-0 in a scrappy home draw by Lille.

PSG hosts Chelsea in the first leg of their last 16 match on Tuesday, & coach Laurent Blanc clearly had that game in mind as he left star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic out of his squad.

Nantes moved provisionally up to fourth place with a 2-1 home win against Lorient.

Last-place Troyes won 3-2 at Gazelec Ajaccio, Bordeaux beat Guingamp 4-2, Montpellier downed Toulouse 2-0, & Bastia won 1-0 at Reims.

Sports & RecreationSoccerReal MadridJuventusManchester UnitedCristiano RonaldoPremier LeagueNapoliLouis van GaalSerie A

Source: “Associated Press”

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