LONDON, Nov 19: Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan kept up their chase for top spot in La Liga and Serie A respectively while Lyon took advantage of a slip up by Olympique Marseille to move out in front in the Ligue 1 title race on Sunday.
Atletico survived the dismissal of Mario Suarez and held on for a 1-0 win at struggling Granada that trimmed the gap to Spanish league leaders Barcelona back to three points while Sevilla destroyed Real Betis 5-1 in a lopsided Seville derby.
Inter needed a late own goal to draw 2-2 at home with Cagliari to slice Juventus’ lead at the top back to four points in the Italian league as Fiorentina hammered Atalanta 4-1 at home to take over third place from Napoli.
Lyon’s 3-0 victory over Stade Reims; coupled with Marseille’s 1-0 loss to Bordeaux and previous leaders Paris Saint Germain’s defeat to Rennes, saw them take top spot in the French league.
Arda Turan’s second-half goal kept second-placed Atletico on the tail of Barca, putting Diego Simeone’s side on 31 points after a dozen matches but the action in Spain came in the highly-charged clash in Seville.
Jose Antonio Reyes netted a double and set up one of defender Federico Fazio’s two goals in a first-half onslaught that saw Sevilla set up a rousing victory in the Andalusian derby.
Ruben Castro hit a second half reply for Betis who also saw Ruben Perez dismissed while their misery was complete with an injury time fifth from Ivan Rakitic as Sevilla climbed up to seventh place, within a point of Betis who have 19.
“I have never seen anything like that first half, it was spectacular,” said Sevilla coach Michel Gonzalez. “I take my hat off to all my players.”
Levante moved up to fourth place with 20 points, six behind third-placed Real Madrid, after winning 2-0 at Deportivo La Coruna courtesy goals by in-form Nigerian forward Obafemi Martins and Jose Javier Barkero.
Inter were rescued by a late own goal from Calgiari’s Davide Astori who redirected a cross from Ricardo Alvarez into his own net in the 82nd at the San Siro in Milan.
Rodrigo Palacio had given Inter an early lead but a superb double from home-grown striker Marco Sau put Cagliari in front.
Inter, though, were furious after having a stoppage-time penalty appeal turned down and had coach Andrea Stramaccioni sent off for dissent as they moved to 28 points from 13 matches.
Fiorentina are point adrift after Alberto Aquilani scored twice and set up another goal in their one-sided win over 10-man Atalanta which thrust them into the race for the Champions League places.
“The scudetto? The fans are dreaming of it, but let’s keep our feet on the ground and keep on working as we have been,” said Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella said. “We knew Aquilani’s worth, but now that he’s scoring he’s an added value for the club.”
An Anthony Weber own goal on the stroke of half-time set Lyon on their way before Bafetimbi Gomis hit the clincher and a Lisandro Lopez goal wrapped up the win as they moved to 25 points, one ahead of second-placed Bordeaux.
“I do not know for how long we will stay atop, if it will be two hours, two days, two weeks or two months,” Lyon coach Remi Garde told a news conference. “There is no point in hiding our ambitions or delight being top at the moment.”
Bordeaux moved a point above Marseille and PSG after Yoan Gouffran’s fourth goal in as many league games gave them victory over a patched-up Marseille team that threatened very little.
“All of the teams are so close together and things can happen very quickly in football,” Bordeaux left-back Benoit Tremoulinas said. “Next week, we could find ourselves in fourth or sixth place.”
In the German Bundesliga, Werder Bremen came from behind to beat Fortuna Duesseldorf 2-1 with Belgium midfielder Kevin de Bruyne scoring the 82nd-minute winner to move up to seventh and back into contention for a Europa League spot.—Agencies