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Man United extend lead, Liverpool score

December 03, 2006 13:01 IST

Manchester United extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to six points with a nervy 2-1 victory at Middlesbrough on Saturday while Arsenal rose to third by beating north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur 3-0.

United top the table on 41 points from 16 games with second-placed champions Chelsea not playing this weekend.

Louis Saha, who missed a penalty in the Champions League defeat at Celtic last month, opened the scoring from the spot on 19 minutes after Cristiano Ronaldo fell after a challenge by home keeper Mark Schwarzer.

Middlesbrough equalised on 66 minutes when Gary Neville dived in to allow Stewart Downing to cross and Gabriel Heinze's weak header fell kindly for James Morrison to volley in.

Two minutes later, Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher nodded in Ryans Giggs' dinked cross to seal the win.

"I think our away form has been fantastic. The team unit is getting stronger in terms of knowledge of each other," Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports.

Like United, Arsenal have a crucial Champions League group tie in midweek and they gained a boost by easily outgunning Tottenham with Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor getting the opener and Gilberto converting a penalty in each half.

However, Spurs' defence felt hard done by for the first penalty shortly before halftime when Tomas Rosicky went down in the box under Pascal Chimbonda's last-ditch tackle.


Craig Bellamy ended a difficult week on a high to lead Liverpool to their first Premier League away win of the season with a 4-0 demolition of Wigan Athletic.

Bellamy, cleared on Wednesday of assaulting two women in a nightclub, struck twice before Dirk Kuyt turned in the Welsh international's assist and Lee McCulloch netted an own goal, all in the first half.

"The case has finished, he can focus on football and that is the reason he scored two goals," Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez said.

The victory lifted Liverpool into fifth place after Bolton Wanderers went down 1-0 at Reading, who moved up to sixth as a header from Ireland striker Kevin Doyle gave them a fourth league win in a row.

Portsmouth are fourth, level on 25 points with Arsenal, Liverpool and Reading, after a thrilling 2-2 draw at home to Aston Villa.

Gareth Barry's penalty opened the scoring for the visitors before Matthew Taylor put Portsmouth in front with a strong header and an 80th-minute spot kick awarded against Barry.

Juan Pablo Angel equalised for Villa with eight minutes to go and Portsmouth's disappointment was compounded by Pedro Mendes's red card for a second booking late on.

Bottom club Charlton Athletic failed to capitalise on Andy Reid's early goal and went down 2-1 at relegation rivals Sheffield United after Keith Gillespie's late strike.

The Yorkshire side moved up to 16th place, dragging Newcastle United, who do not have a game this weekend, into the drop zone.

Blackburn Rovers moved clear of the relegation places with a 2-0 win over Fulham.

Everton entertain West Ham United on Sunday and Manchester City host second bottom Watford on Monday.

Source: source
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