Football: City, United win as Ronaldo, Messi turn on magic

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  • Monday, February 27, 2012
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    Giggs makes 900th appearance for Manchester United
    PARIS, February 26, 2012 (AFP) - Manchester City and Manchester United stayed in the top two places in the English Premier League while Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi scored memorable goals in Spain.
    - Manchester City stayed two points clear with a 3-0 win over Blackburn thanks to goals from Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero and substitute Edin Dzeko as Roberto Mancini's side extended their 100 percent record at home to 13 matches.
    Ryan Giggs marked his 900th game for Manchester United with a last minute winner at Norwich as Sir Alex Ferguson's side won 2-1.
    Arsenal came back from 2-0 down to resurrect their Champions League hopes with a 5-2 win over local rivals Tottenham.
    Arsenal appeared to be hurtling towards a disastrous home defeat after an early Louis Saha strike and an Emmanuel Adebayor penalty fired Spurs into a 2-0 lead.
    But two goals in three minutes from Bacary Sagna and captain Robin van Persie made it 2-2 before Arsenal cut loose in the second half with Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott (2).
    Liverpool defeated second-tier Cardiff on penalties to win the League Cup, the Merseyside giants first piece of silverware in six years.
    - Cristiano Ronaldo scored a wonderful, backheeled goal while Lionel Messi hit the target with a deadly accurate free-kick as Real Madrid and Barcelona both emerged victorious.
    Ronaldo gave Real a 1-0 win over neighbours Rayo Vallecano while Messi scored his team's second goal in a 2-1 win at Atletico Madrid as Spain's two box office attractions took their league goals tally to 29 and 28 respectively.
    The results also kept Real 10 points in front of the defending champions.
    At Rayo Vallecano, the second half was eight minutes old when the home defence failed to clear a corner at the first attempt.
    Portuguese superstar Ronaldo, facing away from the goal, backheeled the ball so powerfully from 15 yards out that it evaded four Rayo defenders on its way into the left hand corner of the net.
    At Atletico, Dani Alves put Barca ahead before Colombian striker Radamel Falcao levelled.
    The game seemed to be heading for a draw until Gabi Fernandez tripped Pedro Rodriguez on the edge of the Atletico area.
    As Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was lining up his defensive wall Messi surprised everyone with a curling left-foot shot into the far corner.
    - Poland striker Robert Lewandowski netted twice for Borussia Dortmund in their 3-1 win over Hanover to put them four points clear of Bayern Munich who beat Schalke 2-0.
    Lewandowski has now scored 16 goals this season and is closing in on the league's joint top-scorers Bayern's Mario Gomez and Schalke's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who have 18 each.
    France winger Franck Ribery scored Bayern's goals as they bounced back from their shock defeat at Basel with victory over Schalke.
    - Ezequiel Lavezzi's second-half strike gave Napoli a 1-0 win over struggling Inter Milan which piled the pressure on Nerazzurri coach Claudio Ranieri after a seventh defeat in eight matches.
    The Argentine striker scored the only goal at the San Paolo with an angled drive on 59 minutes to lift Napoli to 40 points and fifth place.
    Inter, who remain in seventh on 36 points, nine off the Champions League qualifying places, even enjoyed a one-man advantage for the final 12 minutes after Salvatore Aronica's sending off.
    Saturday's 1-1 draw between top two AC Milan and Juventus was overshadowed by controversy surrounding a Sulley Muntari header for Milan that was not given despite the ball having clearly crossed the line.
    With Antonio Nocerino having opened the scoring for Milan, Muntari's effort 11 minutes later would have doubled their lead.
    As it was, Juve equalised through Alessandro Matri in the 83rd minute to leave Antonio Conte's men a point behind defending champions Milan in second place but with a game in hand.
    - A 94th-minute equaliser by Guillaume Hoarau saw Paris Saint-Germain claim a stunning 4-4 draw against Lyon. PSG slipped to second place in Ligue 1, after Montpellier went top with a 1-0 victory over Bordeaux.
    - PSV Eindhoven are two points ahead after a 3-2 win over Feyenoord thanks to a Zakaria Labyad 85th-minute winner.
    Alkmaar are second after being held 3-3 by Heerenveen while Steve McClaren's Twente edged Utrecht 1-0 and are just three points off the top.
    - FC Porto went back to the top on goal difference after a 2-0 win over Feirense followed Benfica's disappointing 0-0 draw at Academica Coimbra.


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