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Monday, Nov. 29, 2010

Berbatov scores five in Man. United romp

LONDON (AP) Dimitar Berbatov's five-goal burst enabled Manchester United to claim the provisional Premier League lead with a 7-1 demolition of Blackburn on Saturday, while Arsenal's title charge was reignited with a 4-2 win at Aston Villa.

News photo
Fab five: United's Dimitar Berbatov takes the ball downfield against Blackburn during their match on Saturday. AP PHOTO

Berbatov took just two minutes to end a 10-match goal drought stretching back to September.

"I have scored that many before but it was a long time ago back home in Bulgaria," Berbatov said. "The first goal was the most important. It gives you the confidence to play. As a striker, people do tend only to look at the goals you score. I am more concerned with how I play but today was all about goals for me."

But while Nani and Park Ji Sung also found the net against Blackburn, Wayne Rooney couldn't find his first goal from open play since March for United.

Arsenal climbed up to second — two points behind United — after withstanding a second-half Villa fightback to end a two-match losing streak in all competitions.

But champion Chelsea will return to the top if it wins at Newcastle on Sunday.

Manchester City stayed fourth despite being held 1-1 at Stoke.

There were wins for the bottom teams, with West Ham beating Wigan 3-1 and Wolverhampton defeating Sunderland 3-2.

In Saturday's other matches, Bolton fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Blackpool, West Browmich won 4-1 at Everton and Birmingham drew 1-1 at Fulham.

Manchester United's emphatic victory helped to set a Premier League record for the number of goals scored on a single day — 36 — according to Sky Sports.

Cerezo stay in hunt

HIRATSUKA , Kanagawa Pref. (Kyodo) Cerezo Osaka kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the Asian Champions League in their first season back in the top flight with an emphatic 4-0 win away to relegated Shonan Bellmare on Sunday.

Yusuke Maruhashi opened the floodgates with a blistering strike on 53 minutes and Amaral and Martinez also got on the scoresheet before a late own goal from Akihiro Sakata finished Shonan off.

"I'm delighted with the win. This means we have secured a top-four finish which is the best in the club's history," said Cerezo manager Levir Culpi.

"We we still have a chance of a top-three finish and a place in the Asian Champions League and we hope we can achieve that and give the fans a nice Christmas present," he said.

The result kept Cerezo within a point of Kashima Antlers, 2-1 winners at home to Kyoto Sanga in Sunday's other fixture, and crosstown rivals Gamba Osaka, who crashed to a 2-0 defeat at home to Yokohama F. Marinos on Saturday.

With newly crowned champions Nagoya Grampus having already secured qualification for the ACL, the battle for the two remaining spots from the J. League will go down to the wire next week in the final round of matches.

Kagawa on target

DORTMUND , Germany (Kyodo) Shinji Kagawa hit his seventh goal of the season Saturday as Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund hammered last-placed Borussia Monchengladbach 4-1.

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