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Messi becomes 1st player since 1972-73 to score 60

Source : AP
Last Updated: Sat, Apr 07, 2012 22:45 hrs

Lionel Messi scored twice to become the first player since 1973 with 60 goals in a season for a club in a major European league, leading Barcelona to a 4-1 win at Zaragoza on Saturday night.

The three-time FIFA player of the year put Barcelona ahead 2-1 with a brilliant individual effort in the 39th, then converted a penalty kick in the 86th. The last player to reach 60 was Bayern Munich's Gerd Mueller with 67 in 1972-73.

Messi leads the Spanish league with 38 goals, one more than Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. Seeking its fourth straight league title, Barcelona stretched its league winning streak to nine and closed within three points of Real Madrid, which hosts Valencia on Sunday.

Carlos Aranda put Zaragoza ahead in the 30th minute, six minutes after his penalty kick was saved by Victor Valdes. Carles Puyol tied it in the 36th when goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez fumbled a routine corner kick and the ball fell to the feet of Barcelona's captain. Messi set up Pedro Rodriguez for a goal in stoppage time.

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LONDON (AP) — Clint Dempsey scored twice as Fulham ended Bolton's recent revival with a 3-0 victory at the Reebok Stadium in the Premier League.

The American striker opened the scoring with a 30-yard free kick in the 25th minute and headed a second in the 45th to extend the London side's advantage.

Dempsey's double took him to 15 Premier League goals this season, surpassing Louis Saha's club record of 13 set in 2004. Mahamadou Diarra netted Fulham's third late in the second half.

Dempsey has 21 goals overall this season.

He is fifth in the Premier League in scoring, trailing only Arsenal's Robin van Persie, Arsenal (26), Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (21), Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (17) and Newcastle's Demba Ba (16).

Also Saturday, Tottenham's top-four status was weakened by a 0-0 draw at Sunderland as Chelsea moved closer to the Champions League places by clinching a 2-1 victory over Wigan in stoppage time.

Chelsea is two points behind fourth-place Arsenal and three adrift of Tottenham.

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ROME (AP) — Michael Bradley became the first American to score in Italy's Serie A in five years with an early goal in Chievo Verona's 3-2 win over 10-man Catania on Saturday.

Bradley gave Chievo the lead after taking a pass from Alberto Paloschi in the seventh minute at the Bentegodi stadium. The son of former U.S. coach Bob Bradley found the target from the center of the area with a shot that bounced in off the post.

The last American to score in Serie A was Giuseppe Rossi, who had nine goals for Parma in the second half of the 2006-07 season. Rossi was born to Italian parents in Teaneck, N.J. and plays for Italy's national team.

In the title race, surging Juventus replaced AC Milan at the top of Serie A with a 2-0 win at Palermo after the defending champion concluded a difficult week with a 2-1 loss at home to Fiorentina.

With seven rounds remaining, Juventus moved one point ahead of Milan. Juve also holds the tiebreaker over Milan with a win and a draw in their head-to-heads.

Juventus dominated but couldn't find the target until Leonardo Bonucci headed in from a corner in the 56th minute. Fabio Quagliarella doubled the lead in the 69th with a shot from the top of the area after collecting a short pass from Alessandro Matri.

Having also reached the Italian Cup final, Juventus remained undefeated in all competitions. The Turin club has looked especially sharp in its last four matches — all victories — outscoring the competition 12-0.

Milan conceded a 90th-minute goal from Fiorentina striker Amauri to extend its struggles after being eliminated from Europe by Barcelona four days ago.

Milan took the lead with a penalty from Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 31st at the San Siro but Stevan Jovetic equalized in the 47th after taking advantage of a Milan defensive lapse.

Amauri then finished off an exchange with Jovetic for his first goal since transferring from Juventus in January.

It was the fourth consecutive match in all competitions without a win for Milan, which drew 1-1 with Catania last weekend between a draw and a loss in its two-leg Champions League fixture with Barcelona.

Third-place Lazio beat Napoli 3-1 to raise its chance of finishing third, which carries the final Champions League berth. Antonio Candreva gave Lazio the lead eight minutes in, Goran Pandev equalized in the 34th, Stefano Mauri scored the winner with a spectacular bicycle kick in the 68th, and Cristian Ledesma added a penalty in the 81st.

Before kickoff, Lazio held a tribute to Giorgio Chinaglia, one of its all-time leading scorers, who died last weekend

Elsewhere, Inter Milan drew 2-2 with 10-man Cagliari in its second match under new manager Andrea Stramaccioni.

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BERLIN (AP) — Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich warmed up for the likely Bundesliga decider with victories on Saturday, as the defending champion won 3-1 at Wolfsburg while Bayern beat Augsburg 2-1 at home.

Robert Lewandowski and Ilkay Guendogan put Dortmund 2-0 up only for Mario Mandzukic's goal to leave the result in doubt until Lewandowski sealed the win in the last minute.

Dortmund would equal the Bundesliga record of 24 games unbeaten and take a giant step toward defending its title if it avoids defeat on Wednesday.

In Munich, Mario Gomez scored the league's fastest goal with his 24th of the season 24 seconds into the game and the Bayern striker extended his league-leading tally on the hour after Koo Ja-Cheol equalized for Augsburg.

Bayern also has a Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid and the German Cup final against Dortmund to look forward to.

Elsewhere, Cologne fought back to earn a 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen, Stuttgart came from behind to beat Mainz 4-1, Freiburg drew 2-2 with Nuremberg, and Kaiserslautern seems doomed after losing 2-1 at home to Hoffenheim.

Hertha Berlin earned a hard-fought 0-0 draw at fourth-place Borussia Moenchengladbach in the late game, but remains second last, two points behind Cologne.

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GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Celtic clinched the Scottish Premier League title in style on Saturday, thrashing Kilmarnock 6-0 to reclaim the championship from fierce rival Rangers with a month of the season remaining.

Neil Lennon's side needed a point at Rugby Park to claim a first title since 2008 and 43rd overall. A double from Charlie Mulgrew and other first-half goals by Glenn Loovens and Gary Hooper ensured celebrations could start before halftime.

Late strikes by Joe Ledley and Hooper added gloss to an easy win.

"It's the best day of my professional life," Celtic manager Neil Lennon said. "It's been a long time coming. It's been two years in the waiting. I'm so proud of them. They deserve it.

"We have been the best team in Scotland by a long way and we have finished it in the right way."

Celtic's players donned T-shirts that read, "This is just the beginning" as they walked a lap of honor.

Celtic's passage to the title was cleared by second-place Rangers being docked 10 points in February for going into administration — a form of bankruptcy protection.

Celtic holds an 18-point lead after Rangers beat St. Mirren 3-1.

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PARIS (AP) — Montpellier beat relegation battlers Sochaux 2-1 to move provisionally three points clear at the top of the French league and keep the pressure on title rival Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday.

Midfielder Younes Belhanda gave Montpellier an early lead and, after Modibo Maiga equalized for the visitors with his third goal in three games, striker Souleymane Camara scored the winner early in the second half.

Montpellier also opened up a seven-point gap on third-place Lille after the defending champion, which has played one game more, lost 3-1 at Brest.

Lisandro Lopez scored two penalties to take his tally to 12 as fourth-placed Lyon beat struggling Auxerre 2-1 at home to move within three points of Lille and three ahead of Toulouse.




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