Ronaldo strikes for Real Madrid; Barcelona win
Madrid, April 18:
Ronaldo scored both goals on Sunday to help Real Madrid beat host Levante 2-0. The 29-time league champions won their fourth straight match. In a late match, FC Barcelona restored its six-point cushion by beating Getafe 2-0, on goals from Ronaldinho and Ludovic Giuly. Barcelona has 72 points, followed by Madrid with 66. Ronaldo scored the first goal in the 37th minute after Michel Salgado sent the ball across the front of the goal. The Brazilian got his 15th goal of the season in the 83rd after a solo run that ended with him rounding goalkeeper Juan Luis Mora and sending the ball into the net. Ronaldo has now scored three goals in two matches after having scored just one in 14 games for Madrid and Brazil. Also, it was: Villarreal 0, Real Betis 0; Mallorca 0, Valencia 0; Albacete 1, Malaga 2; Zaragoza 4, Numancia 1; and Real Santander 0, Athletic Bilbao 2.
Sevilla and Villarreal are even with 52 points each, but Sevilla is third on head-to-head results. Villarreal dominated the second half of its game with Betis, with Juan Roman Riquelme hitting the bar in the 49th minute, but stayed in fourth place after a commanding performance by goalkeeper Toni Doblas. Villarreal ended a run of eight straight victories at El Madrigal Stadium. Three lowest-placed teams — Mallorca, Albacete and Numancia — all failed to win and look virtually certain of being relegated. Mallorca is 18th with 25 points, followed by Albacete in 19th with 24 and Numancia in last with 23.
Italian Serie A
ROME: Juventus thrashed Lecce 5-2 and AC Milan lost at Siena 2-1, allowing Juve to break a tie atop the Italian league and take a three-point lead with seven rounds remaining. Juventus was powered by a hat-trick from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, plus goals from Stephen Appiah and Pavel Nedved. AC Milan went ahead on Hernan Crespo’s 63rd-minute strike but then allowed goals by Enrico Chiesa and Francesco Cozza. Inter Milan beat Cagliari 2-0. Inter has a solid hold on third place with 56 points. Also, Lazio rallied for a 2-1 win at Bologna, Livorno beat struggling Fiorentina 2-0, Chievo Verona beat Parma 2-0, and Brescia beat Atalanta 1-0.
CARDIFF: Ruud van Nistelrooy scored two goals to help defending champion Manchester United beat Newcastle 4-1 and set up an FA Cup final showdown with Arsenal. Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo also hit the target, and Shola Ameobi scored for the Magpies. The result means that the two most successful teams in the history of the world’s oldest cup competition will meet at Millennium Stadium on May 21. Eleven-time winner United goes for its first repeat while Arsenal, which has won the famous trophy nine times, is in its fourth final in five years. The Gunners, who beat Blackburn 3-0 on Saturday, won in 2002 and ‘03.