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Udinese closes on Juve; Levante loses Spain's lead

Udinese's striker Antonio Floro Flores, center, Palermo's midfielder Edgar Barreto of Paraguay, left, and midfielder Armin Bacinovic of Slovenia, fight for the ball during their Serie A soccer match at the Friuli stadium in Udine, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. Udinese's striker Antonio Floro Flores, center, Palermo's midfielder Edgar Barreto of Paraguay, left, and midfielder Armin Bacinovic of Slovenia, fight for the ball during their Serie A soccer match at the Friuli stadium in Udine, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Paolo Giovannini)
October 30, 2011

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ROME—Antonio Di Natale scored his league-leading seventh goal and Udinese edged Palermo 1-0 Sunday to move back within a point of Serie A leader Juventus.

Serie A's top scorer from the past two seasons found the target with a volley from the center of the area in the 38th minute at Udine's Stadio Friuli.

Di Natale also hit the crossbar in the 10th and squandered a great chance to double the lead two minutes after his goal.

Palermo pushed for an equalizer in the second half and Udinese was fortunate to come away with a win.

Juventus leads with 19 points, Udinese has 18 and defending champion AC Milan is next with 17.

Juventus won 2-1 at Inter Milan on Saturday, when Milan posted a 3-2 victory at Roma. Lazio, which has 15 points, was playing at Cagliari later Sunday with a chance to draw level with Udinese.

Siena posted a convincing 4-1 win over Chievo Verona to move into seventh place, Mattia Destro scoring twice for the hosts. Gaetano D'Agostino made it 3-0 in the 61st before Davide Moscardelli pulled one back for Chievo in the 75th.

Emanuele Calaio scored his fifth of the season for Siena in added time.

Also Sunday, Fiorentina narrowly beat Genoa 1-0 with a 41st-minute strike from Andrea Lazzari to save coach Sinisa Mihajlovic's job. Fiorentina defender Alessandro Gamberini hit the crossbar in the 78th and the ball appeared to deflect into the goal, but the referee thought otherwise.

Despite ending a five-match winless streak, Fiorentina fans still called for Mihajlovic's ouster.

"We're playing for Mihajlovic, we've always supported him. We did well to win this match," Lazzari said. "At halftime Sinisa told us to only think about the match, and we were able to maintain the lead."

Bologna distanced itself from the relegation zone with a 3-1 win over Atalanta.

Elsewhere, Cesena fired coach Marco Giampaolo after a 2-0 loss to Parma, which also had a penalty from Sebastian Giovinco saved. Lecce and Novara drew 1-1 to leave both clubs in the relegation zone. Rodney Strasser put Lecce ahead in the 31st and Marco Rigoni equalized for Novara with a penalty in the 44th.

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Levante's unexpected stay at the top of the Spanish league standings came to an abrupt end Sunday as the unheralded club was brought back to earth with a 2-0 loss at 10-man Osasuna.

The surprise pacesetter's first defeat of the season left it two points behind leader Real Madrid and one point behind defending champion Barcelona after 10 games.

Levante, which has the smallest budget in Spain's first division, had spent the past two rounds atop the table for the first time in the club's 102-year history.

But Alvaro Cejudo and Juan "Nino" Martinez scored in the first half, and Osasuna held firm after Cejudo was sent off with his second yellow card in the 59th.

"When you win, it's difficult to believe that you are ever going to lose," Levante's first-year coach Juan Ignacio Martinez said. "It is true that we were on a good run, but we knew that we were facing a tough game."

Athletic Bilbao drew 1-1 at Sporting Gijon, while Racing Santander edged Real Betis 1-0 for its first win of the season.

Osasuna's pressure began to keep Levante in its half and soon paid off with a pair of goals before halftime.

Cejudo broke through in the 40th when he skirted across the edge of the area before unleashing a low shot that caught Munua out of position after taking a deflection off a defender.

Nino then doubled the hosts' advantage four minutes later when he directed in a loose ball that the Levante defense failed to clear from its area.

Levante added striker Carlos Aranda to try to press its numerical advantage after Cejudo -- who had already received a yellow card for removing his shirt in his goal celebration -- was sent off for a tackle on Jose Barkero.

But Osasuna packed its area to remain undefeated at Reyno de Navarra stadium this season.

At El Molinon stadium, Bilbao went in front in the 62nd when Gaizka Toquero flicked on a corner for forward Markel Susaeta to redirect at the far post.

Substitute Mate Bilic kept Sporting undefeated in three games when he equalized in the 71st. The Croatia forward's shot from outside the area took a deflection off teammate David Barral before looping over Bilbao 'keeper Gorka Iraizoz and into the net.

Atletico Madrid looks to break a five-game winless streak against Zaragoza later Sunday, when Malaga hosts Espanyol.

Real Madrid edged Real Sociedad 1-0 to provisionally move top of the table on Saturday, while Barcelona remained one point behind after thrashing Mallorca 5-0 thanks to Lionel Messi's hat trick.

Also, Valencia beat Getafe 3-1 and Villarreal downed Rayo Vallecano 2-0.

Sevilla tries to remain undefeated as it hosts Granada on Monday.

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LONDON (AP) -- Gareth Bale scored twice Sunday to lead Tottenham to a 3-1 win over Queens Park Rangers that kept his team in fifth place in the English Premier League.

Bale put Spurs ahead in the 20th minute with a low shot to the far post and Rafael van der Vaart made it 2-0 13 minutes later, shooting unmarked past goalkeeper Paddy Kenny.

QPR pressed hard for an equalizer after substitute Jay Bothroyd got a goal back in the 62nd but 10 minutes later Bale twice swapped passes with Aaron Lennon on the edge of the area to work space for a curling shot into the top corner.

"It was a fantastic performance," Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said. "In the first half, we played some great football and moved the ball quickly. The movement and passing was incredible.

"They changed how they played, got it forward and played with more intensity in the second half but Gareth finished them off with a great goal."

Victory took Tottenham to 19 points, behind unbeaten Newcastle and the last of the Champions League places only on goal difference.

"They've got so much quality," QPR manager Neil Warnock said. "I found myself clapping that third goal myself."

Spurs remained unbeaten in 11 matches since Aug. 28 and have a game in hand on three of the four teams above them. QPR, which beat west London rival Chelsea 1-0 last weekend, is seven points further back in mid-table.

With Tottenham missing a string of chances, Rangers could easily have forced at least a draw. American goalkeeper Brad Friedel saved well from QPR midfielder Alejandro Faurlin in the 65th, but Spurs' midfield class showed.

Tottenham dominated the first half at White Hart Lane and forced a string of chances even before Bale's second Premier League goal of the season. Aaron Lennon had a chance to shoot but instead slipped the ball to Bale on the left of the box, from where the Wales international shot across Kenny and into the net.

Spurs made it 2-0 after captain Ledley King's mis-hit shot was deflected to Van der Vaart about 12 meters (yards) out. The unmarked Netherlands forward had time to pick his spot and lash the ball into the bottom right corner for his sixth Premier League goal of the season.

Bothroyd rose highest to nod the ball into the unguarded net. With Kenny making a stellar double save from Assou-Ekotto and Friedel saving from Faurlin, the home fans were hushed into a nervous silence until Bale settled the match.

Manchester City stayed five points clear at the top of the standings with a 3-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, when defending champion Manchester United won 1-0 against Everton and Arsenal completed a remarkable 5-3 win at Chelsea.

Newcastle meets Stoke in Monday's match.

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PARIS (AP) -- Ten-man Toulouse beat Rennes 1-0 Sunday to climb to fifth place in the French league while mid-table Sochaux was held 1-1 at Nice.

Etienne Didot scored the winner for Toulouse with a free kick that took a deflection off the wall in the 26th minute.

Toulouse was down to 10 men in the 55th when Antoine Devaux was red-carded for a violent tackle on Kevin Theophile-Catherine.

In Nice, Gabon forward Eric Mouloungui beat Sochaux goalkeeper Teddy Richert to put the hosts ahead in the 30th. But Algeria midfielder Ryad Boudebouz converted a penalty to level in the 35th after Renato Civelli had fouled Marvin Martin.

Nice went a man down in the 62nd when David Hellebuyck was sent off for a foul on Damien Perquis.

Defending champion Lille played Valenciennes late on Sunday.

Paris Saint-Germain beat Caen 4-2 Saturday to keep a three-point lead over Montpellier.

Also Saturday, it was: Montpellier 2, Nancy 0; Lyon 2, Saint-Etienne 0; Brest 3, Lorient 1; Evian 3, Auxerre 1; Dijon 2, Marseille 3; Ajaccio 0, Bordeaux 2.

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BERLIN (AP) -- Lukas Podolski scored twice in a 3-0 win for Cologne over promoted Augsburg in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

Podolski drifted in from the left before dispatching a shot past Simon Jentzsch in the 19th, and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way with a penalty five minutes later.

Slawomir Peszko sealed the win in the 56th, when he sent Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker the wrong way before slotting a shot through defender Sebastian Langkamp's legs.

Akaki Gogia hit the post from 20 meters (yards) in the 75th, and the visitors' miserable afternoon was capped seconds later, when Thorsten Oehrl was sent off for tackling Sascha Riether from behind.

Augsburg was second from bottom before Hamburg's relegation battle with Kaiserslautern later on Sunday. Cologne is 11th.

Podolski has scored in each of Cologne's last four wins and claimed his eighth goal of the season from the spot after Hajime Hosogai was judged to have brought down Christian Clemens in the area. TV replays showed the Japan midfielder pulled back from the tackle after a sprint for the ball.

Gogia landed a shot on the roof of the net shortly after Peszko scored, and drew a good save from Michael Rensing in the 65th.

In all, Augsburg had 15 shots on target, compared to five from the more effective Cologne.

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AMSTERDAM (AP) -- AZ Alkmaar opened up a six-point lead at the top of the Dutch league Sunday after Adam Maher scored an 89th-minute goal to give his side a 1-0 win over Heracles Almelo.

Also Sunday, FC Groningen demolished Feyenoord 6-0 with Dusan Tadic scoring in the opening minute.

Maikel Kieftenbeld, Petter Andersson, Leandro Bacuna, Virgil van Dijk and Suk Hyun Jun added the other goals to complete an atrocious week for Feyenoord, which exited the Dutch Cup at amateur club Go Ahead Eagles.

Wilfried Bony's 70th-minute goal gave Vitesse Arnhem a 1-0 win over De Graafschap while Roberto Fernandez, Leroy George and Lasse Schone scored in NEC Nijmegen's 3-1 victory over FC Utrecht.

Zambia winger Jacob Mulenga replied for Utrecht in the 76th.

Also, it was: NAC Breda 3, VVV-Venlo 1; Roda JC 0, Ajax 4; Excelsior Rotterdam 1, RKC Waalwijk 0; and SC Heerenveen 4, ADO The Hague 0.

Title-chasing FC Twente was held to a 2-2 draw by fellow challenger PSV Eindhoven on Saturday, while Ajax stayed fifth despite routing Roda JC 4-0.

PSV and Twente are tied for second place with 22 points, six behind AZ Alkmaar. Ajax has 20.

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