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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Disgruntled stars move United closer to league title

LONDON (AP) Manchester United stayed three points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over neighbor Manchester City on Sunday while Chelsea romped to a 4-1 triumph at Arsenal.

News photo
Swan song?: United's Carlos Tevez, who faces an uncertain future at Old Trafford, gets past Manchester City's Richard Dunne during their match on Sunday in Manchester, England. United won 2-0. AP PHOTO

Cristiano Ronaldo fired his 18th league goal of the season with an 18th-minute free kick at Old Trafford, and Carlos Tevez added the second with a shot from the edge of the area in the 45th.

The victory maintained Man United's three-point advantage with a game in hand despite Liverpool's 3-0 win at West Ham on Saturday.

But the two scorers weren't smiling later in the game.

Ronaldo was visibly angry when he was taken off 15 minutes into the second half and Tevez, who is frustrated that United has not turned his loan move from West Ham into a full-time transfer, was reported to have said he was resigned to leaving at the end of the season.

"I didn't read any of it," Ferguson said when asked by Sky TV about Tevez's reported comments that he felt he would be leaving the club. "He's a Manchester United player."

Ferguson said he was not surprised Ronaldo was upset at being taken off despite another standout performance.

"He wanted to stay on. That's the simple reason," Ferguson said. "He's in great form but I have to look at the bigger picture. He's had an incredible performance on Tuesday night at Arsenal. He ran his socks off. We have got to think about how we can get through the game and keep him as fresh as we can."

While Man United moved closer to the title, Chelsea underlined why it will challenge next season with a 4-1 victory at Arsenal.

After Alex and Nicolas Anelka gave Chelsea a 2-0 halftime lead, an own goal by Kolo Toure in the 49th virtually put the game out of reach. Although Arsenal's Nicklas Bendtner scored, Florent Malouda added a fourth in the 86th minute.

Party on hold

MADRID (AP) Joseba Llorente's injury-time goal gave Villarreal a 3-3 draw at Barcelona to keep the hosts from winning the Spanish league title on Sunday.

Barcelona was leading 3-1 after first-half goals by Seydou Keita, Samuel Eto'o and Daniel Alves, leading to premature chants of "Champions" from Barcelona supporters at Camp Nou stadium.

However, Villarreal scored a second goal with 13 minutes remaining — a penalty by Mati Fernandez, which led to the dismissal of Barcelona defender Eric Abidal.

Llorente, who had also scored Villareal's opening goal, silenced the crowd and kept the celebrations on ice when he swiveled and fired the visitors' late equalizer.

Eight points clear of Real Madrid with three rounds remaining, Barcelona hopes to clinch the title next Sunday when it visits Mallorca.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola compared Llorente's goal on Sunday with Andres Iniesta's last-gasp equalizer against Chelsea last Wednesday which secured Barcelona a passage into the Champions League final, where it will play Manchester United.

"A few days ago we did it and today it's been done to us. At Stamford Bridge it was Iniesta and today it has been Llorente," Guardiola said.

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