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Fulham stuns Chelsea

LONDON: Chelsea learned what other English Premier League teams already know: Fulham is tough to beat at home. Despite struggling with relegation, Fulham stunned west London rival Chelsea 1-0 on Sunday at Craven Cottage. It was only Chelsea's third league loss in 30 games this season. The loss, however, means little to Chelsea, which leads second-place Manchester United by 12 points. But the three points could save Fulham from going down.

Earlier on Sunday, Peter Crouch, Steven Gerrard and Djibril Cisse scored in Liverpool's 3-1 victory over Newcastle, keeping the Reds two points behind Man United.

Luis Boa Morte got Fulham's winner in the 17th, scoring left-footed from close range off a deflected shot by team-mate Steed Malbranque.

Changed line-up

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho changed his starting line-up and pulled Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips in the 26th, replaced with Damien Duff and Didier Drogba.

It almost paid off.

Drogba appeared to have scored in the 59th when he drove a left-footed shot home. But the goal was disallowed when he was ruled to have handled the ball.

William Gallas was sent off in injury time after fouling Fulham forward Heidar Helguson on the sideline.

Chelsea leads with 75 points, followed by Man United with 63 and Liverpool with 61. Liverpool has played two more games than Man United.

The next three in the standings are Tottenham with 52 points, Arsenal with 50 and Blackburn with 49.

The victory gave Fulham 35 points, 11 above the last teams in the relegation zone — Birmingham City and Portsmouth.

The result left Fulham unbeaten in 12 of its 15 league home games this season. Fulham has not won in 16 away league games.

Barcelona consolidates

Barcelona's grip on top spot in the Primera Liga was strengthened when Real Madrid was held to a goalless draw at home by Real Betis and Valencia lost 2-1 away to Racing Santander.

Real coach Juan Ramon Lopez Caro left Ronaldo and David Beckham on the bench in the Bernabeu but it did little to improve his side who laboured to create chances against relegation-threatened Betis on Sunday.

Barcelona, which beat Real Sociedad 2-0 away on Saturday, has 64 points with 10 games left to play, 11 ahead of second-placed Real. Valencia is third with 52 points.

Big win for AC Milan

Andriy Shevchenko scored his 17th and 18th goals of the season Sunday to help second-place AC Milan beat struggling Udinese 4-0 in the Serie A.

Third-place Inter Milan remained two points behind its city rival with a 3-1 win over Lazio at the San Siro, where Alvaro Recoba scored twice.

Juventus won 3-1 at Livorno on Saturday and leads the standings with 77 points. Milan is next with 67 points, followed by Inter with 65.

Fourth-place Fiorentina rallied from a goal down to beat Ascoli 3-1 and improve to 59 points. AS Roma beat Messina 2-1 in the late match and remained one point behind Fiorentina in the race for Italy's final Champions League berth.

The results: English Premier League: Fulham 1, Chelsea 0; Everton 4, Aston Villa 1; Blackburn 3, Middlesbrough 2; Bolton 2, Sunderland 0; Manchester City 0, Wigan 1; and West Ham 2, Portsmouth 4.

Spanish League: Sevilla 1, Mallorca 1, Cadiz 0 draw by Alaves 0, Osasuna 4 Espanyol 2, Athletic Bilbao 1 against Celta Vigo 0; and Zaragoza 1, Malaga 0. — Agencies

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