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Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010

Berbatov hat trick leads United past Liverpool

LONDON (AP) A hat trick from Dimitar Berbatov gave Manchester United a 3-2 victory over Liverpool, while Premier League leader Chelsea extended its perfect start to the season by routing Blackpool 4-0 on Sunday.

News photo
Hats off: Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov scores his second goal against Liverpool on Sunday. United won 3-2. AP PHOTO

United threw away a two-goal lead in the second half when Steven Gerrard scored two goals in six minutes for Liverpool, but Berbatov's third in the 84th minute sealed the three points.

"It's a magical day, special for me of course because I scored a hat trick and we won against our rivals Liverpool," Berbatov said. "Everything was really happening for me."

Chelsea took just two minutes to go in front against Blackpool. After Salomon Kalou's tap-in, Florent Malouda scored twice and Didier Drogba netted with a deflected strike.

Chelsea has a four-point lead at the top of the standings over Arsenal and Manchester United, while Manchester City is fourth after beating Wigan.

The first goal of the day came after 42 minutes at Old Trafford, with Berbatov nodding home Ryan Giggs' corner at the near post.

Berbatov, who has faced intense criticism over his form since joining United two years ago, scored a stunning second in the 59th.

It took just two touches for the striker to get Nani's right-wing cross into the net: the first to control it with his knee and the second to dispatch an overhead kick which left Reina rooted to the spot as it bounced in off the crossbar.

"I didn't see the ball go in the net but when I hear the crowd screaming, then it was easy to guess what happened so it was a good goal," Berbatov said. "For me, if the ball's in the net, it doesn't matter if it's an overhead kick or just a tap in."

United had thrown away a two-goal lead for the second successive weekend, having drawn 3-3 at Everton in its previous match.

Chelsea had no such problems disposing of Blackpool. After just two minutes at Stamford Bridge, Drogba's corner was flicked on by Branislav Ivanovic and Kalou supplied the finish at the far post.

Chelsea will find it far tougher next weekend at Manchester City, although the league's big-spenders struggled to beat Wigan and relied on defensive errors.

"We created Manchester City's best chances and that is very disappointing," Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said. "In any performance the hardest thing should be to concede a goal.

"At the moment from time to time we come out with this softness in our defensive play which really lets ourselves down and puts games out of our reach."

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