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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Barcelona Crash, Giggs Lifts United to Victory

MADRID -- Barcelona lost at home for the second time in four days, crashing 3-2 to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish league and failing to take advantage of Real Madrid's victory over leaders Deportivo Coruna.


The defending champions, knocked out of the Spanish Cup by second-division Real Betis on Thursday, remain in second place, four points behind Deportivo, who are still on 32 points after their 2-0 defeat at Real on Saturday.


Real narrowed the gap behind the leaders to five points and pulled level with third-placed Sporting Gijon on 27 points, but behind them on goal difference. Athletic Bilbao are fifth on 26.


The Basques lost no time in making their mark in Sunday's match, scoring their first goal after three minutes. Javier Escurza crossed to Ernesto Valverde who slotted the ball past Barcelona's veteran goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta.


The visitors' celebrations were short-lived. A minute later, Barcelona's Hristo Stoichkov equalized, deflecting a pass from Jose Baquero past Juan Valencia. But Athletic's Jose Ziganda and Julen Guerrero scored the next two goals to provide the margin of victory.


In the English premier league Saturday, an outstanding goal from Ryan Giggs highlighted Manchester United's 3-2 win at Queens Park Rangers as United stretched their unbeaten run to 30 league and cup matches.


Giggs's 59th-minute goal showed why he is so often compared with George Best, United's mercurial Irish genius of the 1960s. With skill reminiscent of Best in his glorious prime, Giggs whipped the ball off the toe of former England international Ray Wilkins, skipped over a heavy lunge from defender Darren Peacock and then weaved through a backpedaling defense, unbalancing last man David Bardsley. His crisp, angled shot from 12 yards was a fitting finish to one of the great goals scored in the English premier league this season.


United's win took them on to 66 points from 28 matches and kept them 13 points clear of second-placed Blackburn who thrashed Wimbledon 3-0. Blackburn have two matches in hand on the defending champions.


Giggs was one of three "overseas" players who scored for United with Ukrainian Andrei Kanchelskis and Frenchman Eric Cantona also on target.


In Italy on Sunday, AC Milan bounced back from a midweek defeat in the European Super Cup to tighten their grip on the league championship with a 2-0 away win over AS Roma.


The reigning champions restored their lead to four points after Sampdoria had narrowed the gap for a few hours earlier in the day with a crushing 6-2 home win over lowly Udinese.


In Holland on Sunday, Ghanaian teenager Nii Lamptey scored twice as PSV Eindhoven humiliated Dutch league leaders Ajax Amsterdam 4-1. Striker Arthur Numan set the tone early on with a sweeping run from the halfway line. He outpaced a sluggish Ajax defense before volleying home from the edge of the box in the 11th minute.


Veteran Wim Kieft also scored as PSV rose above Vitesse Arnhem into third place on 30 points, six adrift of Ajax and one behind Feyenoord Rotterdam. Vitesse, beaten 3-1 at home by MVV Maastricht, began the day ahead of PSV on goal difference.


In Scotland on Saturday, champions Rangers showed again they will be the team to beat in the run-in for the Scottish title with a devastating five-goal demolition of Partick Thistle.


Walter Smith's side recovered from a shaky start, during which the visitors might have gone ahead, to produce one of their most fluent performances of the season in their 5-1 victory.


Rangers victory opened up a two-point lead over Aberdeen, who had a miserable afternoon in Edinburgh where they lost 3-1 at Hibernian.


In France on Saturday, Paris St. Germain stretched their lead to five points over Marseille when they beat relegation candidates Angers 3-0. Marseille drew 0-0 at St. Etienne where frustrated fans clashed with rival supporters and police had to step in to separate them.