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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

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Hats off: Manchester City's Carlos Tevez scores past Wigan's Titus Bramble in Premier League action on Monday night. Man City won 3-0 as Tevez scored all three goals. AP PHOTO

Man City whips Wigan on second-half hat trick by Tevez

MANCHESTER, England (AP) Carlos Tevez's 13-minute hat trick gave Manchester City a 3-0 victory over 10-man Wigan on Monday to stay within two points of the final Champions League place.

Man City couldn't find a way past Wigan until the 16th-place team was reduced to 10 men in the 56th minute when Gary Caldwell was sent off for a foul on Tevez.

"At halftime, the boss (Roberto Mancini) wasn't happy and he let us know about it," City goalkeeper Shay Given said. "We just didn't have enough tempo in our game and we weren't getting in and about Wigan. But we turned it around and Carlos Tevez was outstanding for us."

Tevez broke the deadlock in the 72nd by tapping into an empty net after goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic missed Patrick Vieira's high ball due to a mixup with teammate Paul Scharner.

The Argentina striker added another two minutes later after Vincent Kompany had flicked on a cross from Adam Johnson.

Tevez glided into the penalty area before side-footing into the net in the 84th to claim his 25th goal since joining City in the offseason.

"After the sending off, it was too easy — the red card changed the game," Mancini said. "Carlos is a fantastic striker and I hope he continues like this in the run-in. If we fight like we did in the second half, we will probably finish fourth."

Liverpool had beaten Sunderland 3-0 on Sunday to move to fifth but City reclaimed the position and is two points behind fourth-place Tottenham.

Big week ahead

MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich and Manchester United go into a crucial week at home and abroad that starts with their Champions League showdown Tuesday.

After the first leg at the Allianz Arena, both teams play potentially season-deciding matches in their domestic leagues before the return leg in Manchester.

Bayern goes into the match with its confidence shaken by two straight Bundesliga losses that have knocked the team from the top of the standings. Bayern's 2-1 loss at home to Stuttgart and Schalke's 2-0 win at Bayer Leverkusen gave Schalke a two-point lead ahead of Saturday's match with Bayern in Gelsenkirchen.

"We are playing at home and at home we can do a lot of things. Even if we lost the last home game, we still have plenty of confidence," Bayern coach Louis van Gaal said Monday.

Manchester United warmed up for the Champions League with an emphatic 4-0 win over Bolton in the Premier League. After Bayern, United faces Chelsea on Saturday with a one-point lead over its closest rival for the title.

"It's very big week for us, massive," United manager Alex Ferguson said Monday.

"We are going to play with our best team," Ferguson said. "We are playing a team with history and teams with history have a certain pride. It's a difficult task. They've had a couple of bad results but that doesn't mean they are a bad team.

"It's a game of clubs with great history and that puts a certain edge to the game."

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