Rangers close the gap as Celtic slip up


Digest/ SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Croatian striker Dado Prso scored two goals and made the other as Rangers won 3-1 at Aberdeen to cut Celtic's lead to just two points yesterday.

Prso set up the opener for Barry Ferguson on 10 minutes before Chris Clark fired the leveller for Aberdeen in the 32nd minute at a rain-lashed Pittodrie.

The Croatian back-heeled a second at the near post for his 20th of the season two minutes from the interval and then tucked the ball high into the net from close range in the 59th minute.

On Saturday Celtic surrendered another three vital points at home as they slumped to a 3-1 defeat to Hibernian.

Garry O'Connor put Hibs ahead in six minutes but Celtic equalised with substitute Craig Beattie volleying home in 59 minutes.

Two goals in the space of 90 seconds had Celtic reeling as Ivan Sproule and Scott Brown struck for the visitors.

SPANISH PRIMERA LIGA: Barcelona restored their six-point lead over Real Madrid in the Primera Liga yesterday as a spectacular strike from Samuel Eto'o and a cool finish from substitute Lionel Messi contributed to a 2-0 win over Albacete.

The African Player of the Year notched up his 22nd goal of the season when he cracked a stunning first-time shot into the far corner to break the resistance of a stubborn Albacete.

Messi added a second with a delicate chip in the final minute.

With four games left to play Barcelona have 78 points, Real follow on 72. Barcelona have the added advantage of a better head-to-head record against Real and will claim their first league title in six years if they can win two of the remaining four games.

A late double from Ronaldo gave Real Madrid a flattering 2-0 win at Real Sociedad on Saturday night.

Villarreal got their bid for a Champions League place back on track by crushing Getafe 4-0 at home to notch up their first win in five games.

Former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan took his tally for the season to 20 goals with two close-range strikes, while Argentine midfielder Juan Pablo Sorin and Santi Cazorla added the others.The win left Villarreal in fourth place, level on 55 points with Sevilla.

ITALIAN SERIE A: Juventus kept pace with AC Milan in the Serie A title race with a 2-1 win over Bologna yesterday that left the two clubs level at the top before their head-to-head meeting next week.

Goals from Fabio Cannavaro and Marcelo Zalayeta gave Fabio Capello's side a win which lifted them to 76 points and alongside Milan who beat Fiorentina 2-1 on Saturday.

Four rounds of games remain in the season and, if the teams remain level on points, they face a two-leg playoff.

Away from the title race, there was no shortage of goals with relegation threatened Parma beating Livorno 6-4 and Lecce defeating Lazio 5-3, four players scoring hat-tricks in those games.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Uefa president Lennart Johansson yesterday paved the way for both Everton and Liverpool to compete in next season's Champions League.

Johansson claims "the door is open" for Liverpool should they win the European Cup in May but finish outside the top four in the Premiership.