Mon, Feb 23, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Arsenal has league title nearly in hand

EUROPEAN FOOTBALL The Gunners defeated Chelsea for the second time in a week, putting them seven points ahead of Manchester United and nine ahead of the Blues


AS Roma, with 47 points, takes on lowly Siena at Stadio Olimpico. Defending champion Juventus, with 46 points, will be at Bologna.

Inter, coming off a home loss to Udinese and struggling in sixth place, started the match strongly and almost unexpectedly piled up a two-goal lead on "lucky strikes" by newly signed Dejan Stankovic and returning midfielder Cristiano Zanetti.

Stankovic, the Serbian player who transferred from Lazio in January, scored on a corner kick in the 15th minute as several players from both sides fought for the ball close to the net without reaching it.

Zanetti, playing his first match since Dec. 7 following a pulled muscle, made it 2-0 in the 40th minute with a drive deflected by AC Milan defender Kakha Kaldze as Brazilian goalkeeper Dida dived on the opposite side.

Inter was passed in the standings by Parma which rose into a fourth-place tie with Lazio, at 39 points, with a 2-1 victory at Sampdoria.


Bayern Munich's Bundesliga title hopes were lifted when defender Martin Demichelis' 87th-minute goal helped beat Hamburger SV 1-0.

Bayern improved to seven points behind Werder Bremen, which was held to 0-0 by Schalke.

All week, Bayern had heard Bremen had wrapped up the German title. No Bundesliga team had ever misplayed a nine-point lead after the season's 20th round.

But Bayern sounded defiant after cutting Bremen's lead.

"Bayern is a long ways from giving up," said Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld. "Seven points is now a realistic amount to make up."

In other matches, VfB Stuttgart may have played itself out of the title picture with a 1-0 loss to Kaiserslautern. After starting the day even on points with Bayern, it dropped 10 back of Bremen.

Surprising Bochum held fifth with a 3-1 win against Leverkusen, a slot above. Moenchengladbah also drew 2-2 with Freiburg, Hansa Rostock beat Hannover 96 3-2, and Wolfsburg won 3-1 against 1860 Munich.

Schalke and Bremen traded numerous scoring chances in a high-paced match inside AufSchalke Arena, which was filled with 61,000 spectators.


Petter Hansson headed SC Heeren-veen's late winner after it came from behind twice on the way to a 3-2 victory over PSV, inflicting a body blow to the Eindhoven side's Dutch title hopes.

PSV also lost the services of captain Mark van Bommel, red-carded for arguing in injury time, and star winger Arjen Robben, a match-winner for the Dutch against the US in midweek, who was taken off injured in the 38th minute.

In the battle for third place, AZ Alkmaar opened up a three-point gap on Feyenoord with a 2-1 victory over RBC Roosendaal. Playmaker Barry van Galen got himself on the score sheet inside the first minute and Michael Buskermolen doubled the lead before Edwin de Graaf got one back for RBC.

FC Zwolle managed only its second win of a miserable season, edging NEC Nijmegen 2-1, but remains mired in last place, four points behind Vitesse Arnhem, which lost 2-1 to FC Groningen.


Defending champion Lyon closed the gap on leader Monaco to four points Saturday after beating lowly Le Mans 2-0.

Monaco, which has 54 points, crushed Montpellier 4-0 in a Friday night match, with striker Emmanuel Adebayor scoring a hat-trick.

Midfielder Florent Malouda gave Lyon the lead in the 22nd minute when he headed in powerfully from Juninho's free-kick.

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