FOOTBALL UPDATES

LONDON (Reuters) – Barcelona’s lead at the top of La Liga was cut after a second consecutive defeat and Leicester City’s improbable march towards the Premier League title showed no sign of slowing as they won a fifth straight match.

Juventus stayed six points clear of Napoli after Italy’s top two both won and Bayern Munich extended their Bundesliga lead to seven points.

SPAIN

Barcelona’s grip on La Liga was loosened further as the leaders suffered a second straight defeat, a 1-0 reverse at Real Sociedad.

Winger Mikel Oiarzabal headed the only goal in the fifth minute, opening the door for Barca’s rivals from Madrid to close the gap at the summit.

Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to hit 30 La Liga goals in six consecutive seasons as he inspired Real Madrid to a 4-0 thrashing of Eibar while Fernando Torres was on target once more as Atletico Madrid triumphed 3-1 at Espanyol.

Barca have 76 points with six games to go, three ahead of Atletico and four in front of Real Madrid.

ENGLAND

Two goals by England striker Jamie Vardy kept Leicester City on course for their first top-flight title with a fifth successive win, a 2-0 victory at relegation-threatened Sunderland.

Leicester lead by seven points, with five games to play, after second-placed Tottenham Hotspur scored three times in seven minutes to beat Manchester United 3-0.

United’s defeat means Leicester are assured of a top-four finish, meaning they will at least qualify for the preliminary round of the Champions League.

Arsenal lost ground after a 3-3 London derby draw at West Ham United, Andy Carroll scoring a hat-trick for the home team.

Defeats for Sunderland and Newcastle United left them in danger of joining Aston Villa, who are almost certain to be relegated, in the Championship next season.

ITALY

Juventus stayed six points clear of Napoli, with six matches to play, and on course for a fifth successive Serie A title after the top two triumphed.

Paul Pogba scored the winner as Juve, who have dropped only two points in their last 22 games, came from behind to defeat AC Milan 2-1.

Napoli, missing Serie A top scorer Gonzalo Higuain as he began a four-match ban, breezed past bottom club Verona 3-0.

GERMANY

Bayern Munich closed in on a fourth straight Bundesliga crown when they won 3-1 at VfB Stuttgart to extend their lead to seven points with five matches left.

Stuttgart’s Georg Niedermeier put through his own net in the first half before David Alaba and Douglas Costa added two more goals for Bayern in the second period. Daniel Didavi replied for the hosts.

Second-placed Borussia Dortmund drew 2-2 at Schalke 04 in the Ruhr derby while Hertha Berlin, who are third, were held 2-2 by bottom club Hanover 96.

GREECE

AEK Athens boosted their Champions League qualification hopes with a 2-0 win over Panionios despite having Spanish defender Miguel Cordero sent off in the 70th minute.

AEK, who have made a dream return to the Super League after two seasons in the lower divisions following bankruptcy in 2013, are second behind already-crowned champions Olympiakos Piraeus, five points ahead of Panathinaikos with one match to play.

Panathinaikos, who are third, were held to a goalless draw at Asteras Tripolis.

PAOK Salonika secured their place in the four-team playoffs that decide who goes through to the Champions League preliminary round by defeating Levadiakos 2-0 with late goals from Marin Leovac and Robert Mak. Olympiakos won 5-2 at Panaitolikos.

RADIUMRAVE

simple! Man of few words!

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