Sunday, May 5, 2013
Juventus clinches 29th Serie A title
MILAN -- Juventus clinched its record 29th Serie A title and second in a row, beating Palermo 1-0 Sunday on Arthur Vidal's penalty kick in the 59th minute.
Juventus was awarded the penalty kick when Massimo Donati was called for a push on Mirko Vucinic by referee Andrea Romeo. Juventus finished a man short after Paul Pogba was given a red card in the 83rd minute for spitting at Salvatore Aronica.
With three games left, Juventus (26-4-5) holds an 11-point lead over second-place Napoli (21-5-9), which beat Inter Milan 3-1 on Edinson Cavani's hat trick. Juventus had last won back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006, then was stripped of both and relegated to Serie B in a match-fixing scandal. The club and fans still count those two titles, and after the final whistle a giant banner was unfurled in the center circle with the number 31.
"It has been a triumphant march to the title," Juventus coach Antonio Conte said. "We are happy and proud. The credit goes to the lads, they have been extraordinary for the whole season. I am proud of them. It wasn't easy to win another title."
Third-place AC Milan (19-8-8) opened a four-point lead over Fiorentina (18-10-7) for Italy's final berth in next season's Champions League, winning 1-0 at home against Torino as Mario Balotelli scored in the 84th minute.
BARCELONA, Spain -- Lionel Messi entered as a second-half substitute and scored twice to reach 60 goals for the second straight season, helping Barcelona rally for a 4-2 win over Real Betis and move to the brink of the Spanish league title.
Barcelona trailed twice but tied on goals Alexis Sanchez in the ninth minute and David Villa in the 56th. Messi entered in the 56th and curled in a free kick in the 60th, giving him goals in 21 straight league matches. Messi, hampered by a hamstring injury since April 2, scored again in the 71st off a passing combination with Andres Iniesta and Sanchez, his 20th multigoal game this season.
Eliminated by Bayern Munich in the Champions League semifinals, Barcelona (28-2-4) has an 11-point lead over defending champion Real Madrid (24-5-5) with four games left. It would clinch its fourth title in five years and 22nd overall if Real Madrid fails to win against Malaga on Wednesday.
MANCHESTER, England -- Juan Mata's shot deflected off a leg of defender Phil Jones for an 87th-minute own goal, and Chelsea won 1-0 at Premier League champion Manchester United to boost its chance of qualifying for next season's Champions League.
Chelsea (20-7-8) moved into third place with 68 points, one ahead of Arsenal (19-7-10), with Tottenham (19-8-8) another two points back. Chelsea hosts Spurs on Wednesday.
Sixth-place Everton (15-6-15) tied 0-0 at seventh-place Liverpool (13-9-13). With a five-point lead over its city rival, Everton is on track to finish ahead of Liverpool in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1935-36 and 1936-37.
PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain was held to a 1-1 tie by visiting Valenciennes, putting it in position to clinch its first league title since 1994 next weekend at third-place Lyon.
Gael Danic put Valenciennes ahead in the 17th minute, but Alex tied the score with a header off a corner kick in the 83rd. PSG defender Thiago Silva was given a red card in the 43rd forr putting his hands on the chest of the referee as he contested a decision.
PSG (22-5-8) has a seven-point lead over second-place Marseille (20-8-7) with three games remaining.
GLASGOW, Scotland -- The Scottish Premier League match between Kilmarnock and Hibernian was abandoned when a fan was hospitalized after a suspected heart attack.
The supporter received medical treatment at the side of the field before being taken to hospital in an ambulance. The score was 1-1 at the time, with 54 minutes having been played.
"Football is not as important as human life so we have shown our respect," Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels said. "We don't know what the outcome is, but hopefully everything turns out OK."
In March last year, Kilmarnock's Scottish League Cup-winning celebrations following its victory over Celtic at Hampden Park were cut short following the death of midfielder Liam Kelly's father from a heart attack. The following month, an Inverness fan collapsed and died midway through the second half of a game against Kilmarnock.