Birmingham hold Chelsea, Arsenal cut lead to 11 points

Associated Press

London, April 10:

Last-place Norwich upset Manchester United 2-0, and Chelsea’s run toward its first league title in 50 years was slowed by a 1-1 draw against visiting Birmingham City.

Arsenal closed to within 11 points of the Blues by beating Middlesbrough 1-0.

Dean Ashton and Leon McKenzie hit the target in the second half as Norwich collected three unexpected points. Chelsea fell behind when Walter Pandiani scored at Stamford Bridge. Didier Drogba snatched an equaliser with eight minutes to go.

Robert Pires scored the Gunners’ winner at Middlesbrough.

At the other end, Portsmouth’s slide toward the relegation zone was halted with a 4-2 win over Charlton. Fulham slipped to 16th after losing at Bolton 3-1, while Southampton tumbled at Blackburn 3-0. Liverpool’s chances of climbing above neighbour Everton were dented by a 1-0 loss at Manchester City with Kiki Musampa scoring.

Spanish La Liga

MADRID: Striker Santi Ezquerro scored his 10th goal of the season in Athletic Bilbao’s 3-0 victory over Real Sociedad. Ezquerro opened the scoring in the 36th minute when he converted Ismael Urzaiz’s low pass. Fran Yeste doubled Bilbao’s lead in the 75th minute with a curling left-footed shot from a free kick. Roberto “Tiko” Martinez sealed the victory in the third minute of injury time.

Earlier, striker Miguel Lopez scored in the 86th minute to earn last-place Numancia a 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid.

Barcelona leads with 69 points, followed by Real Madrid with 60. Villarreal is next with 50. Betis, Espanyol and Sevilla have 49 points each, two more than Valencia.

Italian Serie A

ROME: Defending champion AC Milan and co-leader Juventus were each held to draws by lowly opponents and stayed tied atop the standings. Milan played to 1-1 draw against visiting Brescia and Juventus fought to 3-3 draw at Fiorentina, helped by two goals by striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and two blunders by Fiorentina goalkeeper Christian Sebastian Cejas.

In another 30th-round match, third-place Inter Milan beat Bologna 1-0 on an early goal from Julio Ricardo Cruz. Despite their unexpected draws, the Serie A leaders lead Inter by 14 points with 67 each. There are nine rounds left in the season.