Dramatic day across Europe

April, 3, 2011

It was quite an eventful Saturday in the soccer world, which included plenty of drama in title races across Europe and a surprise result involving the top-ranked women's national team. Among the highlights:

•  After Manchester United allowed two penalties in a game for the first time in Premier League play, the Red Devils roared back to beat West Ham 4-2 on the strength of a Wayne Rooney hat trick. Rooney scored all three goals in a 14-minute span for his first hat trick since January 2010. He has 101 career EPL goals for Manchester United, and he is the third United player to score 100 EPL goals, joining Ryan Giggs (105) and Paul Scholes (102).

• In Spain, Sporting Gijón shocked Real Madrid 1-0, handing coach José Mourinho his first home league loss in more than nine years. Mourinho's 150-match home undefeated streak stretched back to Feb. 23, 2002, with Porto; and it spanned his entire coaching career with both Chelsea and Inter Milan. Gijon's win was its third victory in 40 league games at Madrid, with the most recent win coming on April 7, 1996. Gijon had only a 2.9 percent chance of winning, according to ESPN's Soccer Power Index.

• With its 1-0 win over Villarreal and Real Madrid's loss, Barcelona moved even closer to the La Liga crown. Barca now leads Madrid by eight points with eight matches remaining. Entering the weekend, ESPN's Soccer Power Index projected Barcelona as a 94.4 percent favorite to win the league. After Saturday's games, Barcelona is now a 99.6 percent favorite to win its third straight La Liga title.

• Before Saturday's Milan derby, AC Milan held a two-point lead on Inter Milan and was a 42.1 percent favorite to win Serie A, virtually tied with its crosstown rival. After a convincing 3-0 win, AC Milan is now a 67 percent favorite to win its first title in seven years.

• In a women's international friendly in London, 10th-ranked England upset top-ranked United States 2-1, beating the Americans for the first time since 1988. The loss ends USA's 52-match unbeaten streak in friendlies, with the last defeat coming to Denmark on Nov. 6, 2004.


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