BERLIN: Bayern Munich pulled up within three points of German league leaders Borussia Dortmund after a strike from Dutchman Arjen Robben secured a 1-0 regional derby win at Nurnburg.
Robben’s 11th league goal of the season in the 68th minute kept Bayern in sight of a treble of Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League. Dortmund had been held 4-4 in thrilling game with Stuttgart on Friday.
The top two have six matches each to play with Bayern, who made it seven wins in a row in all competitions, visiting champions Dortmund on April 11.
For once league top scorer Mario Gomez went goalless. The closest he came to a goal was a header which hit the bar.
In France out-of-form Paris Saint-Germain suffered more title chase nerves as they lost in the last minute by 2-1 away to Nancy. Yohan Mollo struck a minute from time after Mohamed Sissoko had cancelled out Bakaye Traore’s first-half opener. PSG stayed second on goal difference behind Montpellier whose visit to Marseille has been postponed to April 11. Lille will narrow the gap on PG to four points if the champions beat Toulouse at home today.
In Holland Steve McClaren’s Twente Enschede moved within a point of leaders AZ Alkmaar after a 2-0 home win over Roda JC Kerkrade with second-half goals from Douglas and Wesley Verhoek. Alkmaar, in action Sunday at Vitesse Arnhem.
In Italy leaders AC Milan dropped two potentially crucial points in a 1-1 draw away to Catania in Sicily which featured yet another controversy over a goalline clearance. Champions Milan have 64 points from 30 games but second-placed Juve will cut their lead to two points if they beat visiting Napoli.
Milan appeared set for a fifth consecutive league win when Brazilian Robinho put them ahead in the 34th minute after a one-two with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Nicolas Spolli, one of seven Argentines in the Catania starting line-up, levelled just before the hour.
The champions said later they should have been awarded a goal in the 71st minute when Robinho had a shot cleared off the line by Giovanni Marchese with goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo beaten. It was impossible to tell from television replays whether the ball went over the line and Milan players did not protest at the time but Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri was adamant.
He said: “Robinho’s goal was valid. This year we have been involved in four evenly-balanced games where decisions have gone against us.”
The most controversial came in the key 1-1 draw with Juventus when, with Milan leading 1-0, a Sulley Muntari header clearly crossed the line but officials failed to spot it.
In Portugal Porto took over as leaders with a 2-0 win at home to Olhanense as Braga lost top spot after a dramatic 2-1 defeat at Benfica following a stoppage time goal by Bruno Cesar. The title race remains wide open with Porto on 60 points ahead of Benfica with 59 and Braga, who have slipped to third, on 58 and five matches remaining.
In Spain Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Real Madrid to a rampaging 5-1 win at Osasuna as the leaders hit the 100-goal mark this season and maintained a six-point lead over chasing Barcelona. The champions responded with a 2-0 home win over Athletic Bilbao when Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi, with a penalty, saw off the side they will play in the King’s Cup final in May.
Jose Mourinho’s men, on 78 points, moved a step closer to their first league title in four years with eight matches left ahead of Barca who now have 72.
Ronaldo – who recently became Madrid’s fastest-ever scorer of 100 league goals – took his seasonal tally to a league-leading 37 and laid on further goals for Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain as Real notched their first La Liga win in Pamplona since they last lifted the title in 2008.
Mourinho included six Spanish players in his starting line-up, a record in his 20 months with Madrid. The six were Casillas, Arbeloa, Ramos, Albiol, Xabi Alonso and Granero.
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