Underdogs bare teeth

Written off at start of season, Liverpool and Atletico are favourites to win their respective leagues.

By: Reuters | London | Published: April 15, 2014 1:58 am

The underdogs kept their noses in front as Liverpool beat Manchester City 3-2 to stay top of the Premier League and Atletico Madrid won 2-0 at Getafe to increase their lead in La Liga after Barcelona slipped up at lowly Granada.

AS Roma beat Atalanta to keep the title race alive in Italy and Paris St Germain suffered a surprise loss to Olympique Lyon which slowed their Ligue 1 title charge.

REDS IN COMMAND

Liverpool overcame Manchester City 3-2 in a dramatic game at Anfield on Sunday to remain two points clear at the top of the Premier League with four games remaining.

Early goals by Raheem Sterling and Martin Skrtel put Liverpool in charge but City fought back through David Silva and a Glen Johnson own goal before Philippe Coutinho struck the winner 12 minutes from time.

Chelsea overcame 10-man Swansea City 1-0 thanks to a second-half goal by Demba Ba and they are Liverpool’s closest challengers with the two club’s meeting at Anfield on April 27 looking like a potential title decider.

Manchester City stayed third, seven points behind the leaders but with two games in hand.

Arsenal will play Hull City in the FA Cup final after the Premier League sides saw off spirited lower-tier opponents in the semi-finals at Wembley, the national stadium.

Arsenal needed a late equaliser by German defender Per Mertesacker to salvage a 1-1 draw against holders Wigan Athletic before winning a penalty shootout 4-2 to stay on course for their first major trophy in nine years.

Hull fought back from 2-1 down at halftime against third tier Sheffield United to win 5-3 and reach the FA Cup final for the first time in their 110-year-long history.

ATLETICO INCH CLEAR

Atletico Madrid moved a step closer to a first title in almost two decades when Diego Godin and Diego Costa scored in a 2-0 win at 10-man Getafe on Sunday that stretched their advantage at the top to three points.

The surprise leaders ahead of much wealthier rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona, Atletico are well-placed with five games left to break the duopoly and become the first club other than the big two to win Spain’s domestic league since Valencia in 2004.

Barca surrendered second place to Real on Saturday when they followed their Champions League elimination at the hands of Atletico with a shock 1-0 defeat at Granada. Real thumped Almeria 4-0 at the Bernabeu.

Atletico have 82 points, with Real in second on 79 and Barcelona, who host the leaders on the final day of the season, on 78.

ROMA KEEP PACE

Second-placed AS Roma did their best to keep the Serie A title race alive by beating Atalanta 3-1 to move within five points of leaders Juventus who visit Udinese on Monday. Rodrigo Taddei, Adem Ljajic and Gervinho scored the goals as Roma chalked up their seventh consecutive-win.

The next three teams also won with Gonzalo Higuain claiming a hat-trick as Napoli beat Lazio 4-2, Alberto Aquilani scoring twice in Fioretina’s 5-3 win at Verona and Inter winning 4-0 at 10-man Sampdoria.

Juventus, with six games to play, have 84 points and Roma are on 79 in the two Champions League group stage places. They are followed by Napoli (67) in the Champions League playoff spot and Fiorentina (58) and Inter (53) in the Europa League places.

DORTMUND DAZZLE

Borussia Dortmund dazzled in a 3-0 win over champions Bayern Munich with Juergen Klopp’s team claiming back some Bundesliga bragging rights after their Champions League exit with a stellar attacking performance.

Goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marco Reus and Jonas Hofmann handed Bayern their second league defeat in a row and the worst loss in coach Pep Guardiola’s career.

Bayern lead the table with 78 points while Dortmund protected their three-point lead over third-placed Schalke 04, who eased past Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 to remain on track for an automatic Champions League group stage spot next season.

Bayer Leverkusen ended their recent bad run on coach Sascha Lewandowski’s debut when they edged past Hertha Berlin 2-1 to reclaim fourth place on 51 points, one ahead of VfL Wolfsburg following their second win in 10 league games.

PSG MARCH HALTED

Paris St Germain lost their second Ligue 1 game of the season when they were beaten 1-0 at Olympique Lyon on Sunday, their second loss in a row after their 2-0 defeat at Chelsea in midweek, to slow their title charge.

Jordan Ferri scored the only goal with a curling shot in the first half to leave PSG with 79 points from 33 games, six days before the sides face each other in the League Cup final.

Second-placed Monaco are 10 points adrift after Emmanuel Riviere’s goal secured a 1-0 win at Stade Rennes on Saturday.

Lille stayed third thanks to a 1-0 home win against Valenciennes in the northern derby on Saturday.

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