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Friday, April 24, 2009

Man United moves closer to title

MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United moved closer to a third straight Premier League title Wednesday after beating Portsmouth 2-0 to go three points ahead of Liverpool at the top with a game in hand.

The threat from Chelsea lessened as Guus Hiddink's side was held 0-0 by Everton in Wednesday's other Premier League fixture to slip six points adrift having played a game more than United.

Wayne Rooney scored after nine minutes and Michael Carrick fired past Portsmouth goalkeeper David James in the 82nd to ensure United would take advantage of Liverpool's 4-4 draw with Arsenal on Tuesday.

"It's a boost for us," Carrick said. "Watching the game last night and seeing that result we were desperate to put on a good performance and win tonight.

"We've got three points and we are in a decent position, so hopefully we can get the momentum up until the end of the season and put the title to bed as quickly as we can."

With six games remaining, United tops the standings with 74 points, followed by Liverpool (71) and Chelsea (68).

Alex Ferguson made nine changes from the inexperienced side that lost Sunday's F.A. Cup semifinal to Everton.

The returning Rooney was operating as the lone striker and tapped into the net after Ryan Giggs, in his 799th appearance for United, latched onto Anderson's lofted ball and went past Glen Johnson before squaring to the unmarked England international.

The Red Devils were firmly in control of the match, but were frustrated by David James in the Pompey goal.

United took until the 82nd minute to score again, with substitute Carrick firing into the far corner after running onto Paul Scholes' precise through-ball from the halfway line. The 34-year-old Scholes was making his 600th appearance for United.

At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea lacked inspiration and took until injury time to produce its best chance when Didier Drogba hit the crossbar.

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