NEWCASTLE: Chelsea’s Premier League title-defence continued to splutter when they could only draw 1-1 at Newcastle United and missed their chance of returning to the top of the standings.
Having lost three of their last four league games Chelsea fell behind again after six minutes when Andy Carroll took advantage of a misplaced backpass by Alex.
The champions levelled through Salomon Kalou at the end of the first half but though they were on top for most of the second period they struggled to create clear chances.
The win leaves Manchester United on top - two points ahead of Chelsea - after they hammered Blackburn 7-1 on Saturday.
Inter rout Parma in Serie A
Dejan Stankovic set alight a freezing San Siro with his first three goals of the Serie A season in Inter Milan’s remarkable 5-2 win over Parma.
The champions have struggled so far this term with injuries and form but the pressure on coach Rafael Benitez was further eased by a battling if fortunate win which sent his side up in the table.
Former Inter forward Hernan Crespo gave Parma an early lead and struck again after two carbon copy Stankovic efforts and Esteban Cambiasso’s goal. Thiago Motta and Stankovic sealed the win after the break.
Villarreal close on top two
Veteran Spanish international Marcos Senna celebrated becoming Villarreal’s all-time record league appearance holder with a fine opening goal as his side won 3-0 at 10-man Real Zaragoza to close to within five points of league leaders Real Madrid.
The 34-year-old Senna, a Euro 2008 winner with Spain, made his 220th league outing for Villarreal to beat the previous best of Argentine Rodolfo Arruabarrena and scored a superb goal to boot, firing in a long distance shot in the eighth minute. The win sees third-placed Villarreal close the gap on Barcelona and Real Madrid, four and five points ahead respectively, who face off today in the first Clasico of the season at Camp Nou.
Four-goal Bayern vault into top five
Bayern Munich cruised to a 4-1 victory at home to Eintracht Frankfurt, leaping into the top five as they target a strong finish to the first half of the Bundesliga season.
During the week, Bayern’s bosses had demanded a minumum 10 points from the final four matches before the winter break, and Louis van Gaal’s men gained the first three in extending their undefeated streak to seven matches.
The reigning Bundesliga champions moved onto 23 points - five points from the Champions League qualification spot of third place and 11 points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2010.
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