Football / European Round-Up: Milan's margin looking secure: Sampdoria challenge checked by Massaro

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A HEADER by Daniele Massaro took Milan to the brink of their third successive Serie A championship when they beat their closest rivals, Sampdoria, 1-0 yesterday, writes Clive White.

The victory leaves Milan with a seemingly unassailable eight- point lead over Sampdoria with seven games remaining.

Massaro struck in the 26th minute, outjumping the Sampdoria defence to head down and wide of the goalkeeper, Gianluca Pagliuca, for his eighth goal of the season. Minutes later the Genoese side lost England's David Platt with an injury.

Andrea Silenzi struck twice for his first league goals in over two months to earn Torino a

2-1 victory over Cagliari, and boost morale ahead of tomorrow's Cup-Winners' Cup quarter-final second leg against Arsenal at Highbury. Parma, who play Ajax in another quarter-final on Wednesday, hammered Internazionale 4-1.

Romario, the Brazilian, scored a hat-trick and four players were sent off at the Nou Camp in Barcelona's 5-3 win over Atletico Madrid, taking the Catalans to within two points of Deportivo La Coruna at the head of the Spanish league.

Barcelona, winning their fifth consecutive match, had Ronald Koeman and the Bulgarian, Hristo Stoichkov, who scored twice, sent off while Atletico lost Juan Vizcaino and Juan Lopez. Deportivo drew 0-0 at Osasuna, their Brazilian striker Donato missing a penalty.

Real Madrid bounced back after last week's sacking of their coach, Benito Floro, with a resounding 5-2 win in a derby against Rayo Vallecano. Vicente del Bosque, the caretaker coach, made several changes, including the reintroduction of the Croat, Robert Prosinecki, who scored two.

Paris St Germain extended their lead over Marseille to five points in the French league with a 2-1 win at Lens, while the European champions drew 1-1 at Strasbourg.