Giggs spurs United back to top

Welshman scores two as United leapfrog Chelsea with Rooney likely out for season.

    Giggs' second penalty sealed the points for United at Old Trafford [GALLO/GETTY]

    Two penalties by captain Ryan Giggs led Manchester United to a 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur that took them two points clear of Chelsea at the top of the English Premier League

    England striker Wayne Rooney, likely to be ruled out for the season with a groin injury, watched from an executive box at Old Trafford as United piled the pressure on Chelsea ahead of their home game with Stoke City on Sunday.

    United, who have two games left this season and are chasing a fourth successive title, have 79 points to Chelsea's 77 with Arsenal third on 72 after a goalless draw with Manchester City.

    Hull City were all but relegated on Saturday after losing 1-0 at home to Sunderland while West Ham United beat Wigan Athletic 3-2 to move to the brink of safety.

    Scorching

    At Old Trafford, after a goalless first half on a scorching afternoon in Manchester, the match came alive in the final 32 minutes with Giggs scoring twice and Portuguese winger Nani delivering a killer goal.

    "I think we played well...the most important thing was we kept our nerve," said a smiling Alex Ferguson, the United manager.

    "There were no signs of nerves whatsoever throughout the game, it was great to see that at this vital time of the season.

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday April 24

     
    Bolton 2-2 Portsmouth
     Hull City 0-1 Sunderland
     Man Utd 3-1 Tottenham
     West Ham 3-2 Wigan
     Wolves 1-1 Blackburn
     Arsenal 0-0 Man City

    Sunday April 25

     
    Aston Villa v Birmingham
     Burnley v Liverpool
     Everton v Fulham
     Chelsea v Stoke City

    "We beat the in-form team of the week today. That says a lot for us."

    Spurs went behind in the 58th minute when Patrice Evra, who was sick on the pitch at one stage in the searing heat, was brought down by a rash tackle from Cameroon defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

    Giggs stepped up and, with all the composure of his 36 years, slotted home coolly for his third goal of the season.

    Spurs, who beat Chelsea and Arsenal last week, levelled with a 70th-minute header from Ledley King that threatened to derail United's hopes of a fourth successive title.

    Nani, though, restored the home team's lead in the 81st minute with a beautiful finish after being set up by substitute Federico Macheda.

    The Portuguese winger was also brought down by Wilson Palacios for the 86th-minute penalty converted by Giggs.

    Dimitar Berbatov, leading the attack in Rooney's absence, missed a couple of half-chances against his former Spurs teammates in a tense opening 45 minutes but was much more influential after the break.

    The Bulgarian had a close-range shot blocked by King in the 29th minute and then volleyed wide moments later.

    Tottenham, who have not won in the league at Old Trafford for 21 years, remained fourth.

    Spurs have 64 points, Manchester City 63.

    "We had the opportunity today to come and get something but we didn't play as well as we had in the last three games. But even then with 10 minutes to go at 1-1 you are looking at coming away with a point," said Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp.

    "I thought we gave away too sloppy penalties today with poor defending and the other goal, we let him run and didn't defend well enough."

    Missed penalty

    Hull and Sunderland were reduced to 10 men just seconds before the break at the KC Stadium, with Jimmy Bullard also missing a penalty for the hosts in the 41st minute of a bad-tempered match.

    Hull's United States striker Jozy Altidore was shown the red card for head-butting Sunderland defender Alan Hutton, who had thrown the ball at him after a touchline clash.

    Hutton was also sent off for violent conduct.

    West Ham are 17th with 34 points while 18th-placed Hull remained on 28 with two matches remaining and a vastly inferior goal difference.

    Burnley, on 27 points, will be relegated if they lose to Liverpool on Sunday.

    Heavily-indebted Portsmouth, who drew 2-2 at Bolton Wanderers, are already down.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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