European round-up: Raul's strike fails to reverse Real slump in form

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The Independent Football

Real Madrid's recent slump in form in the Spanish league continued with a 2-1 defeat at struggling Espanyol yesterday. Despite the boost of a Raul goal after 26 seconds, Real gave one of their worst displays of the season against an Espanyol side struggling near the foot of La Liga.

In front of a club-record attendance of over 48,000 at the the Olympic stadium, the Barcelona side battled back with goals in each half by the midfielder Quique de Lucas and the striker Raul Tamudo. The Spanish champions have now taken just two points from their last three matches and the result means Celta Vigo, who beat Mallorca 1-0 on Saturday, stay top of La Liga on goal difference.

In other games, Real Betis beat Valladolid 2-0, Malaga drew 1-1 with Las Palmas and Osasuna tied 0-0 with Zaragoza, while, on Saturday, four goals by Patrick Kluivert helped Barcelona to an overwhelming 6-0 victory at Tenerife.

The Real Betis striker Gabi Amato was the hero of his side's victory. The former Rangers man headed home a cross by Denilson in the 18th minute and then clinched the Seville-based side's win with nine minutes remaining.

In Italy yesterday, Roma missed the chance to extend their lead at the top of Serie A, but a brave fightback to draw 2-2 against struggling Fiorentina ensured they did not leave Tuscany empty-handed.

Fiorentina scored twice in as many minutes early in the first half, through Dominic Morfeo and Adriano, and looked set for a much-needed victory. But Antonio Cassano pulled one back 10 minutes after half-time and Emerson's strike had Roma level with 15 minutes to go.

Juventus continued their fine form with a 3-0 win over Lecce, their goals coming from Antonio Conte, David Trézéguet, and an Alessandro Del Piero penalty.

Chievo lost ground with a 2-2 draw against Piacenza, with Massimo Marazzini opening the scoring before Dario Hubner and Eusebio Di Francesco gave the home side the lead. Frederico Cossato earned Chievo, now in fourth place, a share of the points.

Parma pulled out of the relegation zone after a 4-1 win over Brescia, with Marco Di Vaio scoring twice and Hakan Sukur and Johan Micoud adding the other two.