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Soccer-European roundup-Chelsea go top while Messi sparks Barca

Reuters

LONDON, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Chelsea, inspired by a hat-trick from Eden Hazard, beat Newcastle United 3-0 at the weekend to go top of the Premier League while Arsenal were thrashed 5-1 by Liverpool.

Barcelona joined Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid on 57 points at the summit of La Liga after the champions crushed Sevilla 4-1 thanks to two goals from Lionel Messi.

ENGLAND

Eden Hazard was in sparkling form as Chelsea went top of the Premier League, the Belgium winger grabbing a hat-trick in a 3-0 win at home to Newcastle United.

Second-placed Arsenal were thrashed 5-1 at Liverpool while Manchester City, in third, were held to a goalless draw at Norwich City.

Chelsea have 56 points with 13 matches to go, with Arsenal and Manchester City respectively one and two points adrift.

Liverpool swept Arsenal aside with four goals in the opening 20 minutes but seventh-placed Manchester United's woes continued as the champions were held to a 2-2 home draw by bottom club Fulham.

SPAIN

Lionel Messi grabbed a superb double as Barcelona recovered from a shaky start to secure a 4-1 comeback win at rain-lashed Sevilla that lifted the champions back to the top of La Liga on goal difference.

Atletico Madrid crashed 2-0 at promoted Almeria while Real Madrid eased past Villarreal 4-2.

The victory by the champions at the Sanchez Pizjuan in Seville means the top three all have 57 points with 15 matches left, Barca leading Real and Atletico on goal difference.

ITALY

Carlos Tevez bagged two early goals for Serie A leaders Juventus but it was not enough as they drew 2-2 at Verona who hit back with second half strikes from Luca Toni and Juanito Gomez.

Juve, who have 60 points from 23 games, stayed nine clear of second-placed AS Roma who were held to a goalless draw by bitter rivals Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico.

Napoli, third with 47 points, beat Clarence Seedorf's AC Milan 3-1 to keep up their challenge for a Champions League place.

GERMANY

Runaway leaders Bayern Munich remained 13 points clear after beating Nuremberg 2-0, their 12th successive Bundesliga win and their 45th without defeat.

Mario Mandzukic gave Bayern an 18th-minute lead when he hooked in David Alaba's cross and Philipp Lahm added the second from a Mandzukic pass after halftime, the captain's first goal since December 2010.

Bayern have 56 points from a possible 60 while second-placed Bayer Leverkusen have 43 after Son Heung-min earned a 1-0 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach where they have not lost for 25 years.

Borussia Dortmund, third on 39 points, thumped Werder Bremen 5-1 with double blasts from Robert Lewandowski and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Hamburg SV stayed in the relegation zone after they lost 3-0 at home to Hertha Berlin, their sixth successive league defeat.

FRANCE

Paris St Germain remained five points clear of Monaco at the top of Ligue 1 after the two big-spending teams shared a 1-1 draw in the principality.

Thiago Silva's late own goal cancelled out Javier Pastore's early opener for PSG.

PSG are top with 55 points. Lille are 11 off the pace, six behind Monaco, in the third and final Champions League qualifying spot after a 2-0 home victory over second from bottom Sochaux.

NETHERLANDS

Ajax Amsterdam missed a chance to open up a seven-point lead when they were held 1-1 at PEC Zwolle after closest challengers Twente Enschede and Vitesse Arnhem had dropped points.

Former European champions Ajax have 48 points, five ahead of Twente, Feyenoord and Vitesse.

Striker Graziano Pelle took his league tally this season to 18 with two goals as Feyenoord crushed NEC Nijmegen 5-1 to climb level on points with Vitesse and Twente, who lost 3-2 at PSV Eindhoven.

Vitesse drew 0-0 at home to ADO Den Haag.

GREECE

Panathinaikos defeated PAOK Salonika 2-1 to rise to fourth and remain on course for a place in the Super League playoffs while at the same time all but ending the bid by their opponents to catch runaway leaders Olympiakos Piraeus.

Panathinaikos went ahead with a 47th-minute header from defender Kostas Triantafilopoulos and doubled their lead through a Nano free kick. Stefanos Athanasiadis pulled a goal back for PAOK in added time.

Panathinaikos have 43 points, six adrift of third-placed Atromitos and eight behind PAOK who are 17 points shy of leaders Olympiakos, 5-0 winners over lowly Veria.

PORTUGAL

The Lisbon derby between leaders Benfica and third-placed Sporting was postponed, and the crowd evacuated, after high winds caused debris to fall from the roof at the venue that will host the Champions League final in May.

The president of the Portuguese Football League, Mario Figueiredo, said the decision "avoided a tragedy" after pieces of glass fell to the ground.

The teams had already been announced when the crowd was told the match would be delayed as wind blew debris and rubbish around the pitch. The game was then called off after the scheduled kickoff time.

Benfica are top on 40 points, one ahead of Porto and two in front of Sporting. (Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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