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Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010

Rooney at the double as United keeps pace

MANCHESTER, England (AP) Wayne Rooney resumed his scoring streak with two more headers to help Manchester United to a 3-0 victory over West Ham on Tuesday and trim Chelsea's Premier League lead to one point.

A flop against former club Everton on Sunday when United lost 3-1, Rooney was back to his best at Old Trafford and only the crossbar stopped him scoring a hat-trick.

The England striker has now made it 11 goals in eight league and cup games, 19 in his last 20 and 27 for the season.

"They were two excellent headers, although there was also some good play from Antonio Valencia," United manager Alex Ferguson said.

Michael Owen added the third within seconds of entering the game as a late substitute and United now has 60 points from 28 games, one fewer than Chelsea which has a game in hand. Third place Arsenal has 55 points from 27 games.

Ferguson revealed after the game that center back Rio Ferdinand, who was available again after a four-game suspension, missed the match with a recurrence of his back problem and would not be fit for Sunday's League Cup final against Aston Villa.

"He tweaked his back in training and he won't be ready for Sunday," Ferguson said. "It is unfortunate for him that he's going to miss a couple of games.

"Rio has been training great, too. There have been no mishaps at all. But when you get these twinges you can't take a chance."

Stuttgart holds Barca

LONDON (AP) Defending champion Barcelona needed an equalizer from Zlatan Ibrahimovic to escape from Stuttgart with a 1-1 draw, while Michael Ciani headed Bordeaux to a 1-0 victory at Olympiakos in the first leg of the Champions League knockout round on Tuesday.

"You have to work hard, there are no easy matches at this level. It was tough," said Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.

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