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Udinese closes in on Juventus

Bale’s double leads Spurs to win over QPR


ROME (AP) ― 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.

Spain

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.

England

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.

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.

France

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 held on for a 0-0 draw against Valenciennes despite allowing a flurry of chances on Sunday to remain third.

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

Germany

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 in the 75th, and the visitors’ miserable afternoon was capped seconds later, when Thorsten Oehrl was sent off for tackling Sascha Riether from behind.
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