BARCELONA: Midfielder Cesc Fabregas scored the late winner which pushed Barcelona closer to the Spanish league title after a hard-earned 1-0 win at home to mid-table Levante.

The 84th-minute goal lifted Barcelona to 84 points with six games left, 13 clear of champions Real Madrid who beat Betis 3-1 with two goals from Mesut Ozil.

A victory away to Athletic Bilbao next Saturday and a derby defeat for Real away to Atletico Madrid would see Barcelona crowned champions for a fourth time in five years.

World Player of the Year Lionel Messi missed the Levante game as Barcelona work to have him fit for their Champions League clash with Bayern Munich.

Madrid lost both Marcelo and Luka Modric to muscle injuries in their win over Betis. Both are doubtful for the Champions League semi-final opener against Borussia Dortmund.

In France Benoit Cheyrou scored right on halftime so Marseille could regain second place in the table by defeating struggling Brest. This was their 11th 1-0 victory of the season but left them still six points adrift of leaders Paris Saint-German who had a game in hand.

Brilliant Bayern

In Germany champions-elect Bayern Munich thrashed Hannover 6-1 to extend their record-breaking season in a perfect dress rehearsal for the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona.

Two goals from Claudio Pizarro and two from Mario Gomez fired Bayern to a season-record 26th Bundesliga win that moved them on to a record-equalling 81 points with four games remaining.

Borussia Dortmund, who have their own Champions League last-four clash against nine-times European champions Real Madrid on Wednesday, secured their spot in the competition next season with a 2-0 win over Mainz.

In Holland PSV Eindhoven won 3-1 at AZ Alkmaar to move into second place, albeit still four points behind leaders Ajax Amsterdam who had been held 1-1, surprisingly, by Heerenveen on Friday.

Captain Mark van Bommel, Dries Mertens and Jeremain Lens scored PSV’s goals. Aron Johannsson scored a late consolation for Alkmaar who face PSV again in the Dutch cup final on May 9.

In Italy a spectacular scissor-kick goal from veteran Antonio Di Natale gave Udinese a 1-0 win over Lazio which brought level on points with the visitors in the race for European qualification.

At the other end of the table Genoa missed the chance to escape the relegation zone after drawing 1-1 against Atalanta.

Antonio Floro Flores’ first Serie A goal of the season in his first start after three months out injured gave Genoa a sixth minute lead. Only two minutes later, however, Cristiano Del Grosso thundered an Atalanta equaliser.


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