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Soccer-European roundup-Barca, Atletico stay ahead, Arsenal lead cut


LONDON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Barcelona and Atletico Madrid continued to set the pace in La Liga as Real Madrid lost ground at the top with a draw at Osasuna.

Arsenal's Premier League lead was cut to two points following their 6-3 loss at Manchester City and Liverpool climbed to second with a 5-0 thrashing of Tottenham Hotspur.

Juventus moved six points clear at the top of Serie A with a 4-0 victory over Sassuolo and Napoli kept alive their hopes of a first title since 1990 with a 4-2 win over 10-man Inter Milan.


Diego Costa scored twice as Atletico Madrid beat Valencia 3-0 to maintain their winning home run this season and keep pace with Barcelona at the top of La Liga.

Atletico are level on 43 points with Barcelona, who beat Villarreal 2-1 on Saturday thanks to two goals by Brazilian Neymar, as Real Madrid lost further ground following a 2-2 draw at Osasuna and now sit five points off the pace in third spot.


Manchester City exposed the first major cracks in Arsenal's title challenge by crushing the Premier League leaders 6-3 at the Etihad Stadium as their attacking talents cut loose in another free-scoring home display.

Arsenal's advantage at the top was cut to two points after Liverpool thrashed Tottenham Hotspur 5-0 at White Hart Lane, helped by Luis Suarez's 16th and 17th league goals of the season. Third-placed Chelsea sneaked a 2-1 home win over Crystal Palace.

Man City sit fourth and Manchester United ended a run of four league games without a win as Danny Welbeck scored twice in a 3-0 victory at Aston Villa to lift the champions to eighth.

West Bromwich Albion sacked manager Steve Clarke after a 1-0 defeat at Cardiff left them 16th and just two points above the relegation places.


Juventus moved six points clear at the top of Serie A with a 4-0 victory over Sassuolo and Napoli kept alive their hopes of a first title since 1990 with an epic 4-2 win over 10-man Inter Milan.

Juve striker Carlos Tevez struck with simple finishes in the 15th, 45th and 68th minutes to move Antonio Conte's side up to 43 points, six ahead of AS Roma who visit AC Milan on Monday.

Goals from Gonzalo Higuain, Dries Mertens, Blerim Dzemaili and Jose Callejon lifted Napoli to within eight points of the leaders.


Bayern Munich made sure of top spot in the Bundesliga until January after beating Hamburg SV 3-1 to open up a seven-point lead with a game left before the winter break.

Bayern, who are off to the Club World Cup in search of their fifth title of the season, have now gone 41 games without defeat in the league.

Second-placed Bayer Leverkusen were stunned 1-0 by lowly Eintracht Frankfurt who notched their first win in 11 games thanks to Marco Russ' 61st-minute header.

Leverkusen are on 37 points, five ahead of third-placed Borussia Dortmund who battled back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Hoffenheim.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani scored as Paris St Germain kept their tight grip at the top of Ligue 1 with a 3-1 victory at Stade Rennes.

After the Swede added a 14th league goal to his season tally and his Uruguayan partner netted his 12th, they have scored more between them than 17 teams, with second-placed Monaco the only other side to have collected more than 26.

Thiago Motta also featured on the scoresheet to help PSG move up to 43 points from 18 games, two ahead of Monaco who won 2-0 at Guingamp.

Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez again made up for injured compatriot Radamel Falcao's absence by perfectly setting up both goals. He has now provided seven assists, more than any player in the league this season.

Lille, who defeated Bastia 2-1 at home thanks to a Salomon Kalou double, are third on 39 points ahead of next week's trip to Paris for the last round of matches before the winter break.

(Editing by Josh Reich)

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