European Round-Up: Palermo wins fifth straight in Serie A

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The Independent Online

Palermo won its fifth straight match in the Serie A on yesterday by beating Torino 3-0.

Palermo captain Eugenio Corini scored first, redirecting Fabio Simplicio's cross in the 43rd minute. Italy forward David Di Michele then converted on a counterattack in the 69th, faking before lifting the ball over Torino goalkeeper Christian Abbiati.

Brazilian forward Amauri added another for Palermo in the 79th off a setup from Di Michele, who subsequently exited with an apparent muscle problem.

Torino coach Alberto Zaccheroni has struggled since replacing Giovanni De Biasi three days before the season started.

Palermo's five-game winning streak matches a club record from 1961-62. The team now has 27 points. Inter Milan can rejoin Palermo in first place if it beats struggling Parma later Sunday.

"We're happy there. We deserve it," Palermo coach Francesco Guidolin said of first place, adding that Inter and Roma have better rosters to contend for the title. "Twenty-seven points in 11 rounds are a lot, though."

AS Roma is third with 23 points after beating AC Milan 2-1 Saturday with two goals by Francesco Totti.

Four clubs are tied for fourth with 16 points each: Siena, Atalanta, Catania and Livorno.

Siena's eight-match unbeaten run ended with a 1-0 loss to visiting Reggina, which got a 71st-minute penalty by Rolando Bianchi. Fiorentina beat Atalanta 3-1 Saturday on two late goals by Giampaolo Pazzini.

Catania edged Livorno 3-2 on a 90th-minute strike by Giorgio Corona, who took advantage of a Livorno defensive lapse. Catania was playing its first match at home following a three-game ban for fan violence,

Lazio thoroughly outplayed Udinese and won 5-0 with two goals each by Tommaso Rocchi and Stefano Mauri. Massimo Oddo also scored, with a curving free kick.

Cagliari midfielder Daniele Conti equalized in the 90th minute of a 2-2 draw at Messina.

Sampdoria beat Chievo Verona 3-0 with three first-half goals. Chievo forward Federico Cossato was ejected for his second yellow card in the 49th.

Also, Empoli beat Ascoli 1-0 on Antonio Busce's score in the seventh.

In Spain, Ruud van Nistelrooy scored all four goals in Real Madrid's 4-1 win over Osasuna in the Spanish league yesterday.

Van Nistelrooy first put back a rebound in the 12th minute after Osasuna goalkeeper Ricardo Lopez had saved a shot from Robinho at El Reyno de Navarra stadium. The Dutchman scored another in the 27th when an attempted clearance rebounded off Robinho and into his path.

Play was briefly halted in the 43rd minute when Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas was hit by a lighter thrown from the crowd behind the goal.

After Casillas resumed, Van Nistelrooy angled a low shot home from the edge of the area for his third goal just before halftime.

Madrid, which played without injured Ronaldo, allowed Valdo Lopes to reduce the deficit with a header from a corner in the 64th.

David Beckham, again left on the bench, appeared in the 83rd minute and moments later Van Nistelrooy scored his fourth goal from a pass by midfielder Emerson.

Van Nistelrooy now has eight goals this season, the same as Sevilla's Frederic Kanoute and Zaragoza's Diego Milito at the top of the scoring chart. The former Manchester United striker scored a hat trick against Levante on Sept. 10.

Sevilla survived a series of near misses and held on for a 0-0 draw at Racing Santander.

Nikola Zigic, Pedro Munitis and Oscar Serrano all nearly scored at Santander's Nuevo Sardinero stadium as UEFA Cup champion Sevilla ended its three-game winning streak in its 2,000th first-division match.

The result means that Sevilla can be overtaken by the winner of Sunday's late game between FC Barcelona and Zaragoza.

Also, it was: Getafe 1, Mallorca 0; Real Sociedad 1, Espanyol 1; Real Betis 2, Levante 1; Gimnastic Tarragona 0, Deportivo La Coruna 0; and Celta Vigo 1, Recreativo Huelva 2.

Sevilla has 22 points, two more than Madrid and defending champion Barcelona. Zaragoza and Getafe have 19 points each, while Valencia has 18, and Atletico Madrid 17.

Getafe climbed into fifth place after Nacho Perez scored in the 60th minute. The goal was only the sixth that Mallorca, which started the game boasting the division's tightest defense, had conceded this season.

Last-place Sociedad remained winless this season after Espanyol forward Luis Garcia equalized in the 54th minute. Inigo Diaz de Cerio scored the first goal in the 31st.

The draw brought Sociedad its first point at home this season, while extending Espanyol's winless streak to seven games.

Betis' victory over Levante was only its second of the season.

Edu Schmidt headed the team into a sixth-minute lead, with Mustapha Riga equalizing for Levante in the 63rd. Jesus "Capi" Capitan scored the winner in the 90th.

Levante defender Alvaro Maior was sent off in injury-time, sparking a brawl between the players.

Deportivo remained without a win on the road this season after a lackluster draw with lowly Tarragona.

Celta lost to newly promoted Recreativo.

Florent Sinama-Pongolle, on loan from Liverpool, headed in the first goal for the visitors in the 48th minute, the Frenchman's fourth of the season. Ikechuckwu Uche added a second nine minutes later.

Celta substitute Antonio Guayre replied in the 82nd, four minutes before teammate Gabriel Tamas was ejected.

On Saturday, Valencia drew 1-1 with Athletic Bilbao, and Atletico Madrid beat Villarreal 3-1.