Football: Crespo puts Milan in touch at the top

EUROPEAN ROUND-UP
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The Independent Online
MANCHESTER UNITED'S Champions League opponents Milan moved to within two points of Serie A leaders Juventus last night thanks to a late winner from on-loan Chelsea striker Hernan Crespo against Lazio.

Crespo hit the winner in a 2-1 victory against the club he once joined for a world-record fee to complete the comeback for the champions which was started by a fine free-kick from their substitute Andriy Shevchenko. Massimo Oddo had given the visitors the lead with a penalty but Crespo's goal ensured that Juve's lead has dwindled from eight points to two in four days.

Juventus's 1-0 defeat at Palermo on Saturday had given both Milan clubs the chance to make ground on the leaders but, once again Internazionale, the league's only undefeated side, failed to take the opportunity.

Juventus dominated possession but were undone by poor finishing and some aggressive defending from the home side. Palermo took the lead in the 12th minute when the Juve goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon, came out to punch away a free-kick, leaving himself out of position and powerless to prevent Franco Brienza shooting past him from the edge of the area.

Juventus, who lost 1-0 to Sampdoria in midweek, dominated in the second half as they had in the first. Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a shot cleared off the line while Gianluca Zambrotta fired over, but they could not equalise.

Inter fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Parma, despite the first-half dismissal of defender Marco Materazzi.

In Spain, Fernando Torres scored once in the first minute and added another in the last, from the penalty spot, to help Atletico Madrid upset the leaders Barcelona 2-0. Ronaldinho missed a 70th-minute penalty for Barca as they lost for the first time at home since December 2003. They are now only four points ahead of Real Madrid.

In France, the champions Lyon opened up a seven-point lead in Ligue 1 when they demolished Toulouse 4-0 after second-placed Lille were held to their third consecutive draw by Sochaux. Juninho slotted home two free- kicks for Lyon, including a 35-yard effort in the second minute, while midfielders Florent Malouda and Bryan Bergougnoux scored a goal apiece to seal victory.

Bayern Munich stretched their lead at the top of the Bundesliga to three points thanks to a match-winning display from Paolo Guerrero. The Peruvian striker, under a challenge from Jens Nowotny, won a penalty for Roy Makaay to tuck in at the end of the first half. Guerrero grabbed the second when he raced on to Ze Roberto's long pass, kept control when the ball rebounded from the keeper and finished calmly.

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