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Saturday, January 12, 2008
Ronaldo hat trick destroys Newcastle

LONDON -- Manchester United beat Newcastle 6-0 on Saturday to take the lead in the Premier League after Arsenal failed to win at home for just the second time this season.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a second-half hat trick at Old Trafford to lead United to a win that takes it above Arsenal, which tied Birmingham 1-1.

Emmanuel Adebayor put Arsenal ahead with a penalty kick in the 21st minute, but Garry O'Connor evened the score early in the second half with a deflected header.

Chelsea is four points behind Arsenal after extending its unbeaten streak at Stamford Bridge against Tottenham to 20 games with a 2-0 win. Liverpool lost more ground on the leading teams with a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough that will increase the pressure on manager Rafa Benitez.

Reading lost 3-1 at Aston Villa, but was lucky not to have American goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann sent off when he rushed out of his area and brought down striker Gabriel Agbonlahor.

Fulham was winning 1-0 at West Ham but then lost Carlos Bocanegra when the American defender was hurt in a clash of heads with Fredrik Ljungberg.

Bocanegra was substituted and Ljungberg set up Dean Ashton for the tying goal in the 28th before Anton Ferdinand scored again for the Hammers in the 69th minute.

Spain
MADRID, Spain -- Samuel Eto'o scored twice and Thierry Henry set up two goals to lead FC Barcelona over Murcia 4-0 in the Spanish league.

Eto'o volleyed in a cross by Henry in the 77th minute before pushing substitute Giovani Dos Santos' cross past Murcia goalkeeper Antonio Notario in the 87th.

Teenager Bojan Krkic tapped in Henry's low pass in the 52nd after Eidur Gudjohnsen had met Gianluca Zambrotta's cross for the opener in the 27th.

Second-place Barcelona improved to 40 points to trail leader Real Madrid by four. Espanyol is third with 36, followed by Atletico Madrid with 34. Murcia stayed at 22.

Real Madrid can stretch its lead back to seven points with a win at last-place Levante on Sunday.

Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard juggled his lineup, which was without injured Lionel Messi, Ronaldino, Deco and Edmilson. Regular starters Andres Iniesta, Gabriel Milito and Eric Abidal were rested despite the Catalan club needing all three points to keep pace with Madrid.

Italy
MILAN, Italy -- Empoli and Reggina traded early goals in a 1-1 draw in Serie A, which resumed after a three-week break.

Fabio Ceravolo scored his first Italian league goal two minutes in for Reggina and Luca Saudati equalized three minutes later with a penalty kick. Reggina goalkeeper Andrea Campagnolo blocked another penalty kick by Saudati in the 16th at Empoli.

Reggina coach Renzo Ulivieri was ejected for arguing in the 70th, the third time he has been expelled this season since replacing Massimo Ficcadenti in November.

After the game, the two squads lined up and shook hands, part of new rules in place for all Italian games.

Empoli is 16th with 16 points. Reggina is next to last with 14 points.

Scotland

GLASGOW, Scotland -- Celtic resumed its defense of the Scottish Cup with a 3-0 win over Stirling.

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, Scott McDonald and Shunsuke Nakamura scored to send the record 34-time cup winner into the fifth round. Celtic will be joined by Scottish Premier League rival Hibernian, which beat Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3-0.

Motherwell, playing its first match since captain Phil O'Donnell died after collapsing on the field, earned a fourth-round replay by rallying from a 2-0 deficit to draw 2-2 at Hearts.

Greece
ATHENS, Greece -- Ismael Blanco scored two goals to lead AEK Athens to a 5-1 win over Veria in the Greek league. Brazilian veteran Rivaldo, Pandelis Kaffes and Michalis Pavlis also scored.

AEK has 36 points and is two ahead of defending champion Olympiakos, which plays rival Panathinaikos on Sunday.

Aris beat Panionios 3-0 with two goals from Sergi Koke.




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