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La Liga & Serie A roundup: Suarez bags 4 again to keep Barcelona top

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A roundup of Saturday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Barcelona 6-0 Sporting Gijon

For quite a while, everything was close and remained in question for Barcelona … then came the final 15 minutes of Saturday’s thrashing of Sporting Gijon, in which the Blaugrana went from 2-0 up, with the game somewhat hanging in the balance, to 6-0 in the span of 14 minutes.

Lionel Messi put the hosts ahead on 12 minutes, after which point 51 minutes passed before Luis Suarez found the back of the net for 2-0. Suarez then bagged his brace and hat trick from the penalty spot on 74 and 77 minutes, before Neymar converted a penalty kick of his own in the 86th. Suarez picked up his fourth of the game (and 34th league goal of the season) for the second straight game in the 88th minute. With the final scoreline, Barca reclaim top spot in the league table, as well as the best goal differential tally in the league, 30 ahead of second-place Atletico Madrid and one ahead of third-place Real Madrid.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Malaga

It wasn’t pretty — it rarely is for Atletico Madrid — but Diego Simeone’s side won again to keep pace with Barca, thanks to Angel Correa’s 62nd-minute winner which required a fair bit of good fortune in the form of a wicked deflection en route to finding the back of the net. The bigger story here, though, is that Simeone could be suspended three games after appearing to throw a ball onto the field with Malaga breaking out on the counter moments before halftime.

Rayo Vallecano 2-3 Real MadridFULL RECAP WITH HIGHLIGHTS

Joining Barca and Atleti in a suddenly unbelievably tight title race is Real Madrid, who came back from 2-0 down inside the game’s first 15 minutes to knock off Rayo Vallecano away from home … without Cristiano Ronaldo or Karim Benzema, who missed the game through injuries. Los Blancos still have that guy named Gareth Bale, though, and I hear he’s pretty good at soccer (HIGHLIGHTS HERE).

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Barcelona 35 26 4 5 102 29 73 15-1-2 11-3-3 82
Atlético Madrid 35 26 4 5 59 16 43 13-3-1 13-1-4 82
Real Madrid 35 25 6 4 104 32 72 15-1-2 10-5-2 81

Elsewhere in La Liga

Eibar vs. Deportivo La Coruña (underway)

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Levante vs. Athletic Bilbao (6 a.m. ET)
Sevilla vs. Real Betis (10 a.m. ET)
Getafe vs. Valencia (12:15 p.m. ET)
Villarreal vs. Real Sociedad (2:30 p.m. ET)

Monday’s La Liga schedule

Celta Vigo vs. Granada (2:30 p.m. ET)


Inter Milan 3-1 Udinese

Inter Milan are long-shot outsiders to finish in the top three in Italy (UEFA Champions League qualification), but they kept their faint hopes alive with a late victory over Udinese on Saturday.

Cyril Thereau put Udinese ahead after just nine minutes, but Stevan Jovetic equalized 10 minutes before halftime. With 15 minutes to play, the score remained 1-1. Jovetic broke the deadlock with his second of the day on 75 minutes, and Eder added the late insurance in the fourth minute of stoppage time to secure all three points for Roberto Mancini’s side, which looks a near-guarantee to finish fourth.

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Juventus 34 26 4 4 65 17 48 14-2-1 12-2-3 82
Napoli 34 22 7 5 72 29 43 14-3-0 8-4-5 73
Roma 34 19 11 4 73 38 35 11-5-1 8-6-3 68
Inter Milan 35 19 7 9 47 32 15 12-2-4 7-5-5 64
Fiorentina 34 17 8 9 55 38 17 11-4-2 6-4-7 59
AC Milan 34 14 11 9 43 35 8 9-5-3 5-6-6 53

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Frosinone vs. Palermo (6:30 a.m. ET)
Torino vs. Sassuolo (9 a.m. ET)
Atalanta vs. Chievo (9 a.m. ET)
Bologna vs. Genoa (9 a.m. ET)
Sampdoria vs. Lazio (9 a.m. ET)
Fiorentina vs. Juventus (2:45 p.m. ET)

Monday’s Serie A schedule

Roma vs. Napoli (9 a.m. ET)
Hellas Verona vs. AC Milan (11 a.m. ET)
Carpi vs. Empoli (1 p.m. ET)

Bilbao’s Williams: ‘I suffered racist insults’ at Espanyol

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams says that he was a victim of racial abuse from fans while playing at Espanyol in a Spanish league game on Saturday.

Williams said after the 1-1 draw that “I suffered racist insults, something that no one wants to hear and has no place here.”

Williams, who is black, played 82 minutes of the match before being substituted.

“People should come to enjoy themselves, to help their team. This is a sport about friendship,” Williams said.

More AP soccer https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

FA Cup: Chelsea survive trip to Hull, advance to 5th round (video)

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With their 2-1 victory away to EFL Championship side Hull City, Chelsea joined Leicester City, Sheffield United and Norwich City as Premier League sides to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

[ FA CUP ROUNDUP: West Ham bounced; Sheff Utd, Norwich advance ]

Frank Lampard‘s side got off to a flying start courtesy of Michy Batshuayi‘s deflected finish in the 6th minute, and the Blues were well on their way to a first half of total dominance.

Hull looked more prepared for a fight after halftime, but it mattered very little after Fikayo Tomori was gifted a free header two yards off the goal line. Ross Barkley‘s free kick was well placed at the back post and there was nothing that anyone could do to stop it.

[ MORE: Report: Spurs, Inter close to deal for Christian Eriksen ]

Hull pulled the game back to 2-1 in the 78th minute, and they were more than a little fortunate in how they managed to do so. Kamil Grosicki smacked a free kick with plenty of power and got the deflection of all deflections to wrong-foot Willy Caballero and find the back of the net.

The draw for the fifth round will be held on Monday at 2:20 p.m. ET, prior to kickoff of Bournemouth v. Arsenal.

FA Cup roundup: West Ham bounced; Sheff Utd, Norwich advance (video)

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round (early) action…

[ MORE: Saints hit Spurs late to force 4th-round replay ]

The draw for the fifth round will be held on Monday at 2:20 p.m. ET, prior to kickoff of Bournemouth v. Arsenal.

West Ham United 0-1 West Bromwich Albion

West Ham were the lone Premier League side to be knocked out by a lower-division side on Saturday, as David Moyes‘ side failed to find the back of the net and were beaten 1-0 by EFL Championship leaders West Brom.

Conor Townsend scored the game’s only goal in the 9th minute, and though the Hammers controlled possession the rest of the way, they created very little in terms of scoring chances and finished the game with just three shots on target. West Brom finished the game with 10 men, but West Ham could do nothing with their 18-minute advantage following Semi Ajayi‘s second yellow card in the 72nd minute.

Millwall 0-2 Sheffield United

Sheffield United’s dream season continued with a comfortable 2-0 victory away to Championship side Millwall. Both goals came inside the final half-hour, but the Blades were unquestionably the better side even before breaking the deadlock.

That came in the 62nd minute, when Muhamed Besic placed a stunning curler inside the far post for 1-0. Not long before full-time, in the 84th, Oliver Norwood drove his effort hard and low and into the corner to make it 2-0.

Burnley 1-2 Norwich City

Norwich and Burnley were largely inseparable for the majority of Saturday’s clash at Turf Moor, save for a four-minute period early in the second half in which Norwich scored twice and booked their place in the fifth round.

Grant Hanley made it 1-0 in the 53rd and Josip Drmic added to the advantage in the 57th minute. Erik Pieters pulled Burnley back to within a goal in the 73rd, but that’s as close as the Clarets would get.

FA Cup fourth-round scoreboard

Southampton 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur — FULL RECAP
Newcastle United 0-0 Oxford United
Portsmouth 4-2 Barnsley
Coventry City 0-0 Birmingham City
Reading 1-1 Cardiff City

RB Leipzig beaten, Bundesliga title race thrown wide open

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BERLIN (AP) Eintracht Frankfurt defeated Bundesliga leader RB Leipzig 2-0 to throw the title race wide open on Saturday.

[ MORE: Report: Spurs, Inter close to deal for Christian Eriksen ]

Frankfurt defender Almamy Toure scored a brilliant goal just after the break and Filip Kostic sealed the win in injury time to deal Leipzig its first defeat since a 2-1 loss at home to Freiburg in October.

Borussia Monchengladbach cut the gap at the top to two points with a 3-1 win at home over Mainz, thanks largely to goals in each half from French striker Alassane Plea.

Bayern Munich has the chance to cut the gap to one point with a win at home over Schalke in the late game.

[ FA CUP: Saints hit Spurs late to force 4th-round replay ]

Borussia Dortmund is just four points off the top after its 5-1 win over Cologne on Friday.

Also Saturday, Union Berlin defeated Augsburg 2-0 at home, Hertha Berlin came from behind to win 2-1 at Wolfsburg, and Paderborn moved off the bottom with a 2-0 win at Freiburg.