Bayern score crushing win over Munich rivals

BAYERN MUNICH kept the wheels firmly on their push for an 18th title with a 5-0 crushing of city rivals 1860 Munich.

With nearest pursuers Borussia Dortmund beating Vfl Bochum 4-1 Bayern’s margin of superiority remains at eight points over the reigning champions.

The 197th Munich derby was poised at 0-0 at half-time. But the picture changed markedly in the second half when Mehmet Scholl scored three times in the space of 20 minutes, with French international Bixente Lizarazu and Claudio Pizarro adding to the haul.

Bayern Leverkusen ended weeks of speculation by sacking under pressure coach Klaus Toppmoller after their seventh home defeat (2-1) to Hansa Rostock on Saturday.

In Spain, Real Madrid squandered their chance to possibly end the weekend as Spanish league leaders by going down 1-0 at Osasuna yesterday. Their misery was compounded last night as leaders Real Sociedad fell to a 90th minute Real Betis penalty from Fernando. Sociedad led 2 1 with four minutes remaining before Filipescu grabbed a late equaliser.

Madrid coach Vicente Del Bosque openly admitted that his team had failed to grasp their chance to put pressure on their fellow championship challengers.

“We didn't rise to the occasion at what may prove to be a key moment in the season,” said Del Bosque, looking even more doleful than usual.

“The team continued fighting all the way until the whistle but Osasuna made life uncomfortable for us for the entire 90 minutes.

The defeat brought to an end the European and world club champions' 15-game unbeaten streak and showed again that Pamplona - the city where Osasuna are based - holds a hoodoo for Real.

Osasuna’s Christian Manfredini was the man responsible for inflicting Real's second defeat of the season. In only his second game for Osasuna since arriving last month on loan from Lazio, the Ivory Coast-born midfielder showed he has had little trouble adjusting to his new environment by outpacing his marker Michel Salgado and sending home a low-flying thunderbolt after 38 minutes.

Fifth-placed Celta Vigo enjoyed themselves at the expense of bottom club Recreativo Huelva, winning 4-1 over the hapless Andalusians.

Reigning champions Juventus showed their determination to retain their Italian title by taking top spot in Serie A with a 2-1 victory at Parma, ahead of their Champions’ League clash with Manchester United on Wednesday.

First-half headers from Italy internationals Marco Di Vaio and Alessandro Tacchinardi gave Juve a two-goal half-time lead, before Parma striker Adrian Mutu halved the deficit in the 90th minute.

The Romanian international’s late goal ensured a nail-biting finish with four minutes of stoppage-time added on, but Juventus defended stoutly to claim their seventh away victory.

Juventus rise to the summit as they have a better goal difference than Inter Milan who lost at Chievo on Saturday.

On Saturday Inter Milan's title charge was stalled by a 2-1 defeat at fifth-placed Chievo. Chievo's experienced midfielder Eugenio Corini scored two first-half penalties before being sent off for a second bookable offence in the 90th minute.

A 70th-minute goal by Rivaldo gave AC Milan a 2-2 draw with Lazio.

In Holland, a Mateja Kezman hat-trick helped PSV romp to their 6-0 win as they maintained a four-point lead at the top over Ajax.

The Amsterdam side struggled to beat Groningen 2-1 at home on Saturday to stay in touch, while third-placed Feyenoord trounced AZ Alkmaar 4-1 away but remain 11 points behind PSV.

Ajax had a tough warm-up for tomororw night’s trip to Highbury for the Champions League match against Arsenal.Andy van der Meyde opened the scoring seven minutes before the break and Zlatan Ibrahimovic doubled the lead just before the hour mark.

Melchior Schoernmakers pulled a goal back for Groningen but they could not find an equaliser and stay third from bottom, just a point above Graafschap and Zwolle.

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