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Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011

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Hit the deck: Liverpool's Glen Johnson (bottom) vies for the ball with Manchester City's David Silva during their match on Sunday at Anfield. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. AP PHOTO

Liverpool slows City's momentum with tie


LONDON — Liverpool did an old rival a favor Sunday when it held Premier League leader Manchester City to a 1-1 draw.

Vincent Kompany put City ahead in the 31st minute but Liverpool equalized just two minutes later through Joleon Lescott's own-goal and City was hanging on at the end even before Mario Balotelli was sent off with seven minutes remaining in the match.

It was only the second time this season that unbeaten City has failed to win in the Premier League and it meant that second-place Manchester United did not pay too dearly for dropping two points against Newcastle on Saturday.

With 11 wins and two draws from 13 games, City leads defending champion United by five points. United, which last season surpassed Liverpool's 21-year-old record of 18 English titles, drew 1-1 with Newcastle following the award of a contentious penalty to the visitors.

Kompany glanced a header into the top corner from David Silva's corner kick before Lescott's outstretched leg deflected Charlie Adam's shot past goalkeeper Joe Hart for the equalizer.

"Manchester City are a top side and have top players and we knew it would be difficult," Adam said. "But we stuck to our guns and we played well."

Balotelli charged about the field after replacing Samir Nasri in the 65th minute, getting his first yellow card for pulling back Glen Johnson by the shoulder and the second six minutes later for leading with his arm while challenging Martin Skrtel for an aerial ball.

Sent from the field, Balotelli seemed to remonstrate with manager Roberto Mancini before being escorted down the tunnel by a policeman. But Mancini said he had no concerns over the temperamental striker.

"He didn't deserve the second yellow card," Mancini said. "We don't have any problem. Mario is young. I think he was disappointed with the yellow card."

Hart then made saves from Luis Suarez and — with a spectacular one-handed stop — from substitute Andy Carroll. Silva could have won it for 10-man City at the other end with a breakaway but his shot was blocked on the line by one of a trio of covering defenders.

Liverpool is in sixth place, ahead of Arsenal on goal difference. Arsenal drew 1-1 with Fulham on Saturday when Gunners defender Thomas Vermaelen scored at both ends.

Wigan beat Sunderland 2-1 and was replaced at the bottom of the standings by Blackburn, which lost 3-1 at Stoke. Everton rose to eighth place as Marouane Fellaini and Apostolos Vellios scored second-half goals for a 2-0 win at Bolton, while Norwich trail the Toffees only on goal difference after a 2-1 win over Queens Park Rangers.

JFA reports on DPRK trip

The Japan Football Association said Monday it has sent a report on the hostility felt by the Japanese team and supporters during a World Cup qualifier against North Korea in Pyongyang earlier this month to the DPR Korea Football Association as well as FIFA, soccer's world governing body.

The JFA public relations department explained in the report dated Nov. 25, which was also sent to the Asian Football Confederation, that several unusual incidents occurred while the Japanese squad was in Pyongyang for the match on Nov. 15.

Alberto Zaccheroni's side, which lost the game 1-0, arrived a day ahead of the match at Pyongyang international airport, where it was reportedly detained for about four hours due to strict immigration checks.

The report also said that players were restricted from moving about their lodgings and had nutritional supplements deemed to be "performance enhancing food products" confiscated without prior warning.

Lowy doubts Qatar 2022


SYDNEY — Australia's soccer chief believes the 2022 World Cup may not go ahead in Qatar as planned.

Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy said Monday the "last word hasn't been heard yet" on the FIFA vote that awarded the event to Qatar over bids from countries including the United States and Australia.

Lowy did not elaborate on how or why Qatar would lose the rights, but said it related to "the state of the FIFA executive committee", adding "I don't exactly know where it will bounce. The only thing I know is it's not over yet."

Qatar's successful bid became implicated in a broad-ranging corruption scandal that plagued FIFA this year, with FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke saying in a leaked email that they "bought the World Cup."

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