LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Chelsea slowed Liverpool’s Premier League title charge and kept its own chances alive with a 2-0 victory against the sloppy leaders on Sunday.
A resilient Chelsea beat a team on an 11-game winning streak. Demba Ba seized on Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard’s slip in first-half stoppage time to make it 1-0. Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge gave the ball away in the 90th minute and Chelsea launched a quick counterattack that Willian finished off.
It was Liverpool’s first loss since falling at Chelsea four months ago. Chelsea is two points behind Liverpool with two games remaining, but Manchester City who could be the main beneficiary. The 2012 champions were six points behind Liverpool in third place, having played two fewer games and with a superior goal difference. City played at Crystal Palace later Sunday.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Atletico Madrid moved closer to its first Spanish league title in 18 years with a 1-0 victory at Valencia.
Raul Garcia scored with on a header in the 43rd minute, and Atletico’s defense did the rest as it gave Valencia no chance to rally at its Mestalla Stadium. Diego Simeone’s side moved six points clear of Real Madrid, which has a game advantage.
Atletico defender Juanfran Torres was shown a direct red card for tackling Pablo Piatti from behind in stoppage time.
Atletico can now focus on the Champions League semifinals when it travels to Chelsea on Wednesday, with their series 0-0 after the first leg.
Almeria rallied for a 2-1 victory at nine-man Espanyol to break a four-game losing streak and keep alive its hopes of staying in Spain’s first division.
Espanyol went ahead when Christian Stuani headed in Sergio Garcia’s cross in the 42nd minute. But the game swung in Almeria’s favor when Stuani was dismissed with a second yellow card three minutes after halftime.
Francisco Velez headed in Miguel Corona’s corner kick in the 69th minute in his debut in the top tier in Spain. Three minutes later Jesus “Suso” Fernandez curled in a free kick.
Espanyol’s Javi Lopez drew a red card in stoppage time for fouling Jonathan Zongo with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Almeria is two points from the safety zone.
AMSTERDAM (AP) – Ajax won its 33rd Dutch league title and fourth straight after drawing at Heracles Almelo 1-1.
Lasse Schone put Ajax ahead with a free kick after 13 minutes. Simon Cziommer equalized 10 minutes later, also on a free kick, as an out-of-form Ajax settled for the draw.
Last week, Ajax lost the Dutch Cup final 5-1 against PEC Zwolle.
Other Dutch teams have won four straight championships, including PSV Eindhoven twice , but Ajax’s Frank de Boer becomes the first coach to win four in a row.
“Every year we try to put together a team, and we’ve done it again … I’m proud,” De Boer said.
Feyenoord claimed second place and a berth in Champions League qualifying in style, beating SC Cambuur 5-1. Third-place FC Twente will play in the Europa League after another big win, 5-2 at NEC Nijmegen.
SOCHAUX, France (AP) – Sochaux, trying to avoid relegation, put Paris Saint-Germain’s title celebrations on hold by salvaging a 1-1 draw in the French league.
PSG striker Edinson Cavani chested down a long ball from Thiago Motta to fire in an off-balance strike in the 24th minute. But Sochaux tied it with an own-goal by PSG’s Thiago Silva in the 56th.
PSG leads Monaco by eight points at the top of the league with three rounds left.
MILAN (AP) – Luca Toni scored a goal to help Hellas Verona rout relegation-threatened Catania 4-0 in Serie A to boost its chances of qualifying for European play.
In the sixth minute, Catania goalkeeper Alberto Frison palmed away Juan Iturbe’s shot and Toni fired in the rebound. Toni thought he scored again in the 28th when he headed home a shot, but it was later changed to an own goal because the ball hit the goalpost and then bounced in off Frison.
Toni has 19 goals this season.
Marquinho extended Verona’s lead just before halftime with a low drive following Juanito’s pass. Juanito scored in the 75th minute on a curling shot into the far corner.