Cruyff Jnr boosts Barcelona

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Jordi Cruyff, the son of the Barcelona coach, Johan Cruyff, scored twice yesterday as the Spanish champions beat Real Valladolid 4-1 in the Nou Camp to record their first victory in six matches.

Guillermo Amor and Aitor Beguiristain also scored in a victory which kept the Catalans in third place, eight points behind the leaders, Real Madrid, who tightened their grip on the championship race with a convincing 3-1 win over Valencia on Saturday. Two goals from Ivan Zamorano and a penalty by Fernando Hierro were enough to sink Valencia, whose only response came from a late penalty by Lyuboslav Penev.

With eight matches left, Real now know that victory in their four remaining home games will ensure them their first league title since 1990. Second- placed Deportivo La Corua, now only one point ahead of Barcelona, let a two-goal lead slip in last night's 2-2 draw at home to Oviedo.

Fourth-placed Real Zaragoza, Arsenal's opponents in the Cup-Winners' Cup final, won 3-0 at Albacete. Second-half goals by Juan Esnaider, Paco Higuera and Miguel Pardeza kept Zaragoza one point behind Barcelona.

The defending German Bundesliga champions, Bayern Munich, beat the league leaders Borussia Dortmund 2-1 on Saturday as the battle for the title intensified with only five weeks to go. Dortmund's lead over Werder Bremen has now disappeared after Bremen's 2-2 draw against Kaiserslautern, although Dortmund's goal difference is still superior. Bayern, in sixth place, remain on the fringe of the championship race with 35 points, four behind Dortmund and Bremen.