[QODLink]
Football

United close in on English title

Manchester United edge closer to their 20th title with victory at Stoke City as Sunderland boost survival chances.

Last Modified: 14 Apr 2013 15:54
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
United only need seven points from their remaining six matches to reclaim the English Premier League crown [Reuters]

Manchester United took a step closer to the English Premier League title with a 2-0 win at Stoke City on Sunday that saw them re-establish a 15-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the table.

Michael Carrick gave United an early lead and Robin van Persie completed victory by claiming his first club goal in 11 games from the penalty spot mid-way through the second half.

Victory allowed United to return to winning ways after Monday's loss in the Manchester derby, although City, who tackled Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday, have a game in hand.

Stoke, meanwhile, find themselves in real danger of slipping into the relegation zone, having won just once in 13 league games in 2013.

Tony Pulis' side currently sit three points above the relegation zone, but they have played two games more than third-bottom Wigan Athletic.

Early lead

United, who played with Wayne Rooney in midfield, broke the deadlock in the fourth minute at a windswept Britannia Stadium.

English results

Saturday 13 April

Arsenal 3-1 Norwich 
Aston Villa 1-1 Fulham 
Everton 2-0 QPR 
Reading 0-0 Liverpool 
Southampton 1-1 West Ham

Sunday 14 April

Newcastle 0-3 Sunderland 
Stoke City 0-2 Man United

Phil Jones met a right-wing corner from van Persie and with the ball bobbling around the area, Carrick stuck out his foot to toe it into the bottom-left corner.

In response, Robert Huth headed over for Stoke, while Rooney whipped a long-range free-kick narrowly wide shortly before half-time.

Van Persie ended his two-month wait for a United goal in the 66th minute, steering a penalty past Asmir Begovic after he had been felled inside the area by Andy Wilkinson.

The Dutchman celebrated by embracing manager Alex Ferguson, but only a brilliant David de Gea save to keep out a Charlie Adam free-kick spared United from an edgy finale.

Earlier, Sunderland won 3-0 at local rivals Newcastle United to fire their bid to avoid relegation and give Paolo Di Canio a memorable victory in his first northeast derby.

Stephane Sessegnon, Adam Johnson and David Vaughan scored three excellent goals, moving Sunderland three points clear of the bottom three and to within two points of Alan Pardew's Newcastle.

"I'm happy for my players because they were warriors today," Di Canio told BBC Sport.

"I was excited to see our fans celebrate because I know what it means to win here. Yes, it's a big win in terms of the area, but it's only one step and not a big step in terms of the table."

Frantic

Sessegnon broke the deadlock mid-way through a frantic first half at St James' Park.

The recalled James McClean picked up a loose pass from Jonas Gutierrez and fed Sessegnon, who held off Gutierrez and drilled a low shot past goalkeeper Tim Krul from 25 yards.

Di Canio's reaction was typically effusive, the new Sunderland manager sprinting down the touchline and punching the air in delight.

Newcastle received a blow shortly before the hour when Krul had to go off after landing awkwardly, with Rob Elliot coming on in his place.

Manager Pardew later revealed Krul had sustained a dislocated shoulder, ruling him out for rest of the season.

The hosts had a goal controversially disallowed for offside in the 62nd minute, despite Papiss Cisse appearing to be onside when he fired home from close range.

Johnson made it 2-0 with a fine goal in the 74th minute, drifting in from the right and shaping a 20-yard shot inside the left-hand post. This time, Di Canio opted for a knee slide.

Vaughan killed the game with eight minutes to play by arrowing a glorious shot into the top-right corner from 20 yards, although the Welshman appeared to be offside when he received the ball.

"We were better in the second half but the crucial moment in the game was when our goal was ruled out for offside," said Pardew.

"This won't leave me because it's our home and we don't want to get beat by our rivals. I will make sure it hurts the players."

760

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.