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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Chelsea dumps Liverpool, closes in on league title

LONDON (AP) Chelsea stayed top of the Premier League with a 2-0 victory at Liverpool on Sunday, while Manchester United made sure the title race went to the last day with a 1-0 win at Sunderland.

News photo
Nearly there: Chelsea's Frank Lampard celebrates a goal against Liverpool during their game on Sunday in London. A win over Wigan next week would give the Blues the Premier League title. AP PHOTO

Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard scored Chelsea's goals at Anfield, and Nani's first-half strike at the Stadium of Light kept Man United a point behind going into the final round of games.

Chelsea hosts Wigan and United welcomes Stoke on May 9.

United will need Chelsea to drop points if it is to become the first team to win four English league titles in a row. But Chelsea has won 16 of its 18 home games so far in scoring 60 goals at Stamford Bridge.

"All we can do it win our game next week," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "You never know what might happen in football. It's a crazy game. We are clutching at straws a little bit, but the important thing is to win our game."

Chelsea now has six wins from six games against its traditional big three rivals — Man United, Arsenal and Liverpool — with a combined 12-1 goal record.

"It was a very important step for our fight for the title," manager Carlo Ancelotti said of the win at Anfield. "We played very well, we deserved to win. We are happy because it was a difficult step against Liverpool."

Didier Drogba's 33rd-minute goal had a big contribution from Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. He tried to find goalkeeper Pepe Reina with a back pass but it was intercepted by Drogba, who pushed the ball past the 'keeper and rolled it into an empty net.

Chelsea appealed for a penalty just before halftime when Salomon Kalou went down under a challenge by Lucas Leiva but referee Alan Wiley waived away the appeal, prompting an angry reaction from coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Lampard turned home a low cross from Nicolas Anelka for his 21st league goal of the season in the 54th minute.

West Ham lost 3-2 at Fulham, meaning it is still not safe and could be overtaken by Hull. Burnley and Portsmouth are already down.

McLaren laughs last

BREDA, Netherlands (AP) FC Twente won its first Dutch league title after a 2-0 victory over NAC Breda.

The result meant that Twente coach Steve McClaren became the first English manager to win a major European league title since Bobby Robson with FC Porto in 1996. Both were former coaches of the England national team.

Bryan Ruiz and Miroslav Stoch scored on the final day of the season to give Twente the title ahead of wealthier teams from Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Eindhoven.

Inter keeps first place

MILAN, Italy (AP) Inter Milan beat Lazio 2-0 on header goals by Walter Samuel and Thiago Motta to keep first place in Serie A.

Inter has 76 points, two more than AS Roma. Both teams have two matches remaining. Inter already has advanced to the Champions League final against Bayern Munich on May 22.

Real stays alive

MADRID (AP) Cristiano Ronaldo's last-minute header gave Real Madrid a 3-2 victory against Osasuna to keep it within one point of Spanish leader Barcelona with three games to play.

Ronaldo jumped at the far post to meet Gonzalo Higuain's floated cross for his second goal of the match.

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