| Lazio’s Rodriguez Aparecido Cesar (left) and Modena’s Paolo Ponzo in an aerial duel during their Serie A match in Rome Sunday. (AFP)
London: Tottenham Hotspur striker Robbie Keane increased the pressure on Leeds United boss Terry Venables with a stunning strike against his former side on Sunday.
A morale-sapping 2-0 defeat at White Hart Lane left Leeds languishing in 14th place in the English Premier League, just four points above the relegation places.
In Sunday’s other match, Charlton Athletic secured only their second home league win of the season with a 3-1 defeat of Blackburn Rovers.
Leeds suffered a blow before the start when former England international Nick Barmby sustained an Achilles’ heel injury in the warm-up and was replaced by Jacob Burns.
The Yorkshire side fell behind on 12 minutes, Teddy Sheringham firing home a first-time shot from the edge of the box.
Keane then netted his fourth goal in a Spurs shirt with an exquisite curling shot hit first time with the outside of his right foot four minutes before halftime. The victory lifted Spurs up to seventh place.
At The Valley, Charlton scored more than twice. Substitute Paul Konchesky curled home a free kick from 25 metres on 59 minutes but Charlton’s lead lasted just 71 seconds before David Thompson blasted home a low drive from just outside the box.
Richard Rufus headed the hosts back in front from Konchesky’s corner on 73 minutes and another long-distance strike, this time from Jason Euell, sealed victory in the last minute.
In Madrid, Villarreal held Real Mallorca to a 1-1 draw to deny the islanders an eighth straight victory. Gregorio Manzano’s high-fliers found themselves a goal down on 23 minutes when Martin Palermo capitalised on a defensive error, but they were level 12 minutes into the second half through a Walter Pandiani header.
The result left Real Sociedad top on 23 points, one clear of Mallorca. Valencia stayed in third place on 21. Real Madrid were fourth on 18 points. Real were joined on 18 points by city rivals Atletico, who beat Real Betis in Sunday’s late game with a Fernando Torres goal after 14 minutes.
Roma lose 0-3
Lazio put aside their financial difficulties and moved up to third in Serie A with a convincing 4-0 win over Modena as former Chievo striker Bernardo Corradi scored twice for Roberto Mancini’s side.
But Roma’s fading title ambitions suffered a serious blow after a 3-0 defeat at Parma left them nine points adrift of leaders AC Milan.
Two goals from Parma striker Emiliano Bonazzoli and an Adrian Mutu penalty condemned injury-hit Roma to their third defeat of the season.
AC Milan now lead with 25 points and are ahead of Juventus on goal difference. Fourth-placed Chievo kept in touch with the leading pack as a Massimo Marazzina goal gave them a 1-0 win at home to Empoli.
Lazio have been put up for sale by their president Sergio Cragnotti but the team showed no signs of suffering from the uncertainty as they extended their unbeaten run to 10 games.
The Roman side found it hard going until Corradi opened the scoring in the 25th minute with an overhead kick to hook home a Cesar header from a Stefano Fiore cross. Argentine Claudio Lopez added the second with a back-post header from a Sinisa Mihajlovic corner.
Lopez turned provider after the break with his crossfield pass finding Brazilian Cesar, who in turn showed great composure as he fired past Modena’s goalkeeper Marco Ballotta on 71 minutes.
In the final minute Corradi grabbed his second and Lazio’s fourth with a header. Lazio now have 24 points, one more than Inter who drop down to fourth place. Roma went into Sunday’s match without captain Francesco Totti, Brazilian wing-back Cufu, Italy midfielder Damiano Tommasi and striker Marco Delvecchio.
Yet with the large squad at his disposal Roma coach Fabio Capello would surely have expected more than he saw at Parma’s Tardini stadium.
Bonazzoli put Parma ahead in the 11th minute after a good run from Brazilian Junior and a neat set-up from Romanian Mutu. Twelve minutes later Parma had doubled their advantage after Roma’s Brazilian defender Aldair was ruled to have fouled Bonazzoli and Mutu converted the spot-kick.
Mutu forced a brilliant save from Roma goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli in the 71st minute with a curling free-kick, but from the resulting corner Bonazzoli was left unmarked to complete a miserable day for the visitors with a firm header into the net.
Bottom club Como remain without a win after they lost 3-0 at Perugia — Massimiliano Fusani, Fabrizio Miccoli and Mauro Milanese were on target. Udinese were held to a 1-1 draw at lowly Brescia after an own goal from Nestor Sensini on 68 minutes cancelled Martin Jorgensen’s eighth minute opener from a delightful chip.
Relegation-threatened Reggina and Atalanta fought out a 1-1 draw, while Torino’s miserable form continued with their ninth defeat in 11 games after Eusebio Di Francesco’s 23rd minute goal gave Piacenza a 1-0 home victory.
Strasbourg move up
In Paris, RC Strasbourg moved up to fifth place after a Christian Bassila goal gave the Alsace side a 1-0 win over Monaco.
Strasbourg took the lead nine minutes before halftime when Bassila got onto the end of defender Yves Deroff’s cross with a diving header from close range.
In the German first division action TSV 1860 Munich were lucky to escape with a 2-2 draw with Nuremberg in which the visitors showed more initiative up front. Striker Benjamin Lauth saved the “other” Munich club from defeat with two goals. Nuremberg defender Thomas Stehle also scored two goals, twice putting his side in the lead.
In the other match, which was a1-1 draw, Hamburg SV took the lead with Argentine Rodolfo Cardoso’s superb volley from eight metres, two minutes into the second half. Energie Cottbus fought bravely and were rewarded when Polish striker Andrzej Juskowiak hit the equaliser in stoppage time.