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Tuesday, March 30, 2004 

Top European Leagues Review

Arsenal FC set a new English record of 30 matches without defeat since the start of a top-flight season on Sunday by drawing 1-1 against Manchester United FC. The leaders in Italy and Germany also drew on a weekend where the top two in Spain and France broke further away.

Having seen their lead cut to seven points by Chelsea FC - who beat Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 5-2 on Saturday, thanks largely to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's hat-trick - Arsenal increased their advantage at the Premiership summit to eight at Highbury yesterday by drawing with the champions. The Londoners were on course for maximum points when Thierry Henry shot them in front in spectacular fashion, only for substitute Louis Saha to equalise in the 86th minute. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said of Arsenal: "I think they will go on and win the league now. I'm sure of that. They're playing with great determination." The battle for fourth place remains intense: Liverpool FC are in pole position after they drew 0-0 at Leicester City FC yesterday and Newcastle United FC lost at Bolton Wanderers FC. Birmingham City FC, Aston Villa FC and Charlton Athletic FC, however, are all within three points with eight games left.


In Italy, an Andriy Shevchenko header seven minutes into added time salvaged a 2-2 draw for AC Milan against AC Chievo Verona at the San Siro. Goals from Giuseppe Sculli and Simone Perrotta had put Chievo on course to become only the second team to beat the leaders in Serie A this season, only for Andrea Pirlo and Shevchenko to level. AS Roma's 2-1 home defeat by Bologna FC allowed Juventus FC to move second with a 3-1 victory against Modena FC.


Milan are nine points clear of Juve, the same tally by which SV Werder Bremen lead FC Bayern München in Germany. Bremen were in devastating attacking form at VfB Stuttgart, plundering four goal against the meanest defence in the Bundesliga, only to concede four themselves, with Marcelo Bordon scoring three of them. "I think everybody won today," said Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf. Bayern maintained their slender title hopes by beating VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach 5-2 on Saturday.


It is much closer in Spain, where Vicente Rodríguez scored twice and made another as Valencia CF beat Real Racing Club Santander 3-0 to temporarily reside at the top of the Primera División. However, it was business as usual later on Sunday at the Santiago Bernabéu as Real Madrid CF beat Sevilla FC 5-1. Ronaldo scored two and Santiago Solari, Zinedine Zidane, Michel Salgado the others as Madrid climbed to 63 points, one more than Valencia. With FC Barcelona's game at Real Betis Balompié postponed because of torrential rain in Seville, RC Deportivo La Coruña took advantage to claim third place - eight points behind Madrid - with a 2-1 win against Real Sociedad de Fútbol. UEFA Cup hopefuls Villarreal CF were held to a goalless draw at home by Club Atlético de Madrid, who moved fifth.


Ligue 1 challengers Olympique Lyonnais and AS Monaco FC both picked up 1-0 victories as the race for the French championship intensified at the weekend. Giovane Elber scored the only goal for Lyon at OGC Nice, while Dado Pršo did likewise for Monaco against the bottom club Le Mans UC 72. Both clubs have 63 points, six more than Paris Saint-Germain FC who saw their chances of silverware dealt a huge blow by an away loss at RC Lens.

Source: Uefa.com


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