United miss chance at Bolton

Zat Knight and Martin Petrov score for hosts in 2-2 draw as Utd only able to close gap to three points at top of table.

    Michael Owen celebrates an equalising goal to salvage a point for Man Utd at the Reebok Stadium [EPA]

    Manchester United missed a golden opportunity to go just a point behind English Premier League leaders Chelsea as they drew 2-2 at Bolton Wanderers.

    Michael Owen scored an equaliser for United a day after Chelsea and Arsenal had both lost to give the Reds the chance to capitalise.

    But goals from Zat Knight and Martin Petrov moved Bolton up to 12th in the table and continued the visitors' shaky start to their efforts to reclaim the title.

    Portuguese midfielder Nani scored after a solo dribble from the halfway line to cancel out Knight's first-half opener but it looked like the weekend could produce another shock when Petrov fired in via a deflection from Darren Fletcher.

    But Owen headed home 16 minutes from the end to rescue a point.

    United go second on 12 points, with Chelsea on 15 and Arsenal on 11 in third, ahead of Manchester City on goal difference.

    Rocked

    United have a dominant record against near neighbours Bolton, winning 10 of their last 11 meetings, but they were rocked after six minutes when Knight shot past Edwin van der Sar.

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday September 25

     Man City 1-0 Chelsea
     Arsenal 2-3 West Brom
     Birmingham 0-0 Wigan
     Blackpool 1-2 Blackburn
     Fulham 0-0 Everton
     Liverpool 2-2 Sunderland
     West Ham 1-0 Tottenham

    Sunday September 26

     
    Bolton 2-2 Man Utd
     Wolves 1-2 Aston Villa
     Newcastle 1-2 Stoke City

    The visitors were level after 23 minutes when Nani took possession of the ball near the halfway line and took off towards Bolton's goal.

    After ghosting past three defenders, the Portuguese winger angled a shot past Jussi Jaaskelainen.

    Wayne Rooney, playing his first away game since revelations about his private life were plastered across the tabloids, endured another quiet match and was substituted by Federico Macheda.

    The England striker has managed just one goal for United since March and that came from the penalty spot against West Ham United this month.

    Bolton regained the lead in the 67th minute with a sweeping move which ended with Johan Elmander feeding Petrov to fire in a shot that deflected off Fletcher and inside the post.

    Elmander wasted a glorious chance to make it 3-1 and Bolton paid the price when Nani's teasing free kick was glanced in by Owen for his first league goal of the season.

    Later on Sunday, an Emile Heskey header two minutes from the end gave Gerard Houllier a winning start on his return to English football with Aston Villa.

    The former Liverpool boss saw his side snatch three points at Wolves as Heskey, who played under Houllier at Anfield, headed home at Molineux after goals from Stewart Downing and Wolves' Matt Jarvis.

    Promoted Newcastle United lost 2-1 at home to Stoke City in the last match of the day.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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