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Barça revival continues apace

Published: Monday 8 March 2004, 15.15CET
FC Barcelona extended their impressive run in Spain, while AS Roma and Arsenal FC impressed in Italy and England.

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Published: Monday 8 March 2004, 15.15CET

Barça revival continues apace

FC Barcelona extended their impressive run in Spain, while AS Roma and Arsenal FC impressed in Italy and England.

FC Barcelona continued their impressive run in Spain, while AS Roma and Arsenal FC produced virtuoso performances in Italy and England.

Winning run
Barça extended their Primera División winning sequence to seven matches, but were made to sweat by RCD Mallorca in a 3-2 win. Luis García struck the opener and Luis Enrique made it 2-0 soon after before García got his second in the 58th minute. A 90th-minute Samuel Eto'o chip and an Andrija Delibašic strike deep into added time gave Mallorca hope but Barcelona clung on. They have an eight-point cushion in the race for the final UEFA Champions League qualification slot after Athletic Club Bilbao lost 4-1 against Real Valladolid.

Valencia close gap
Frank Rijkaard's side are now just a point behind third-placed RC Deportivo La Coruña, who lost 3-0 against Valencia CF on Saturday, with Vicente Rodríguez scoring twice. That result, coupled with leaders Real Madrid CF's 1-1 draw at Real Racing Club Santander, enabled Valencia to close the gap at the top to six points with eleven games remaining.

Portsmouth overwhelmed
In England, Arsenal and Manchester United FC both advanced to the FA Cup semi-finals. Thierry Henry and Fredrik Ljungberg scored twice each as Arsenal overwhelmed Premiership strugglers Portsmouth FC 5-1 at Fratton Park. Such was Arsenal's brilliance that the home crowd applauded them off. "The result is wonderful," said Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger. "But it is even more enjoyable to see opposition fans cheering our team."

Van Nistelroooij double
United booked their place in today's semi-final draw by coming from behind to defeat Fulham FC 2-1 at Old Trafford, Ruud van Nistelrooij scoring twice. First division Sunderland AFC also moved into the last four while another first division side, Millwall FC, will have to replay their tie against second division Tranmere Rovers FC after Sunday's meeting ended 0-0.

Top three win
In Italy, the top three were the only sides to win as five of the nine Serie A fixtures ended in draws and the game at Bologna FC was postponed due to snow. Juventus FC came from behind to beat Brescia Calcio 3-2 on Saturday while leaders AC Milan beat UC Sampdoria 3-1 on Sunday afternoon and Roma lit up the evening with a 4-1 victory against FC Internazionale. The result, inspired by Antonio Cassano, was Inter's fourth consecutive league defeat and dropped them to seventh, four points short of S.S. Lazio in fourth.

Makaay double
In Germany two Roy Makaay goals helped second-placed FC Bayern München to a 3-1 win at Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Saturday. However, 24 hours later SV Werder Bremen restored their seven-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga with a 2-0 victory at TSV 1860 München.

'Nobody will catch us'
The home side had Czech midfield player Roman Týce sent off midway through the first half and never recovered, falling behind 15 minutes later when Ivan Klasnic found the net. Greek forward Angelos Charisteas added a second with eleven minutes remaining. "All we have to do is keep on playing like we did today," said coach Thomas Schaaf, who is aiming to deliver Bremen their first championship since 1993.

Leading duo win
In Ligue 1 leaders AS Monaco FC and second-placed Olympique Lyonnais enjoyed comfortable Friday night wins against EA Guingamp and AC Ajaccio while the next two sides in the standings, Paris Saint-Germain FC and FC Sochaux-Montbéliard, drew 1-1 in the French capital. Monaco remain four points clear at the top.

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Last updated: 08/03/04 15.28CET

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