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February 5, 2023

European Leagues review: Barcelona and United close in

Having just booked their place in the UEFA Champions League final, Manchester United FC and FC Barcelona rounded off a triumphant week with league successes that have taken them to within a point of their respective domestic titles. UEFA.com runs the rule over the latest action from around Europe.

Manchester United moved to within a point of a record 19th English title with a 2-1 victory against defending champions Chelsea FC. Sir Alex Ferguson’s charges can now seal the crown with a point against Blackburn Rovers FC on Saturday. “It’s fantastic to be the most successful team in the country,” said the United boss. “We deserve the title and hopefully we’ll get that point now.” In the battle to beat the drop, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC took full advantage of draws for West Ham United FC, Wigan Athletic FC and Blackpool FC by beating West Bromwich Albion FC 3-1 to move up to 17th, one point above the relegation zone.

In Spain Barcelona took a giant stride towards their 21st Liga title with a 2-0 derby victory against RCD Espanyol and can seal a third successive championship with a point against Levante UD on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo scored four as Real Madrid CF kept the suspense going a little longer with a resounding 6-2 win at Sevilla FC. “Cristiano had many more chances to score and is now the top scorer in the Liga,” said right-back Sergio Ramos. “I am very happy for him and the four goals he scored.” Elsewhere, Getafe CF and Málaga CF picked up important wins against UD Almería and Club Atlético de Madrid respectively in the tussle for survival.

In Germany FC Bayern Mun­chen sealed a UEFA Champions League spot with an emphatic 8-1 victory against basement side FC St Pauli which included a sixth hat-trick of the season for Mario Gomez and also sealed the hosts’ relegation. “His strike rate is sensational and bears comparison with the best,” enthused Bayern honorary president Franz Becken­bauer. Already crowned champions, Borussia Dortmund went down 2-0 against SV Werder Bremen, while relegation-threatened VfL Borussia Monchen­gla­d­bach picked up a crucial home win against SC Freiburg which, combined with defeats for Eintracht Frankfurt and VfL Wolfsburg, means one point separates the three teams above St Pauli.

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