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Sunday, March 31, 2013
Liverpool comes from behind to beat Villa 2-1

Associated Press

LONDON -- Steven Gerrard's tiebreaking penalty kick in the 60th minute helped Liverpool rally for a 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Aston Villa on Sunday, boosting its hopes of playing in the Europa League next season.

Villa went ahead in the 31st minute on Christian Benteke's 14th league goal of the season, but Jordan Henderson tied the score in the 47th minute.

Luis Suarez tumbled in the area under a challenge from Nathan Baker, and Gerrard beat American goalkeeper Brad Guzan to convert the penalty kick awarded by referee Lee Mason. It was Gerrard's 98th Premier League goal.

Liverpool (13-9-9) is sixth, five points behind fifth-place Arsenal. Aston Villa (7-15-9) is 18th with seven games left, in the relegation zone behind Wigan on goal difference.

Sunderland (7-14-10), which is one point ahead of Wigan, fired manager Martin O'Neill after Saturday's 1-0 loss at home against Manchester United and replaced him Sunday with Paolo Di Canio.

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BERLIN -- American defender Timmy Chandler returned from an ankle injury as Nurmeberg rallied from a two-goal deficit to tie Wolfsburg 2-2 in the Bundesliga.

Chandler missed the United States' World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico. Fabian Johnson (hip injury) and Daniel Williams (stomach virus), who also missed the U.S. matches, returned Saturday for Hoffenheim's 3-0 loss at Schalke. American midfielder Jermaine Jones, who sprained his left ankle against Costa Rica, did not dress.

American right back Steve Cherundolo, who hasn't played since Dec. 19 and is recovering from left knee surgery on Feb. 6, dressed Saturday for Hannover but did not play in its 2-0 win at Ausgburg.

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BARCELONA, Spain -- Atletico Madrid squandered a chance to reclaim second place in the Spanish league when it was held to a 1-1 draw by visiting Valencia.

Jonas scored for Valencia in the fifth minute, and Radamel Falcao tied it seconds later.

Barcelona (24-2-3) leads by 13 points over defending champion Real Madrid (19-5-5) with nine games left. Atletico Madrid (19-6-4) is another point back in third.

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PARIS -- Marseille beat Nice 1-0 on Andre-Pierre Gignac's header in the 14th minute on Mathieu Valbuena's corner kick and moved into second place in the French league as Lyon lost 2-1 at home to relegation-threatened Sochaux.

Paris Saint-Germain (18-5-7) leads by seven points over Marseille (16-8-6) and by eight over Lyon (15-7-8) with eight games remaining.

Giovanni Sio scored in the 50th minute for Sochaux, but Bafetimbi Gomis converted a penalty kick for the hosts in the 68th.

A defensive mistake by Dejan Lovre allowed Cedric Bakambu to score in the 88th for Sochaux (8-15-7), which moved out of the relegation zone with its first win in five games,