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Monday, Dec. 24, 2012

City rescues victory against lowly Reading


LONDON — Gareth Barry struck in stoppage time Saturday to ensure Manchester City kept the pressure on Manchester United in the Premier League title race with 1-0 victory over Reading.

News photo
Keep it close: Manchester City's Sergio Aguero moves the ball against Reading's Mikele Leigertwood on Saturday. City won 1-0. AFP-JIJI

The defending champions were being frustrated by bottom-place Reading until Barry rose over Nicky Shorey to head in David Silva's cross.

City was three points behind United ahead of the leaders' match at Swansea on Sunday.

"It was difficult clearly, because we had a lot of possession and had the chances but didn't score," City manager Roberto Mancini said. "Our supporters know we try until the last seconds — always."

In the tight tussle for the four Champions League spots, Arsenal climbed to third ahead of Everton, Tottenham and West Bromwich Albion on goal difference.

Mikel Arteta's penalty on the hour clinched Arsenal's 1-0 victory at relegation-threatened Wigan after Jean Beausejour was adjudged to have brought down Theo Walcott.

"It looked very, very soft because it's difficult to tell if there is contact or not," Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said.

But it gave resurgent Arsenal a third consecutive league win for the first time this season.

"We didn't find the same fluency going forward," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "And it was much more a win because we wanted the result than because we dominated the game."

Everton relied on a fortuitous goal to win 2-1 at West Ham, with Kevin Nolan's clearance from Leon Osman's cross inadvertently coming off Steven Pienaar in the 73rd minute.

Everton's comeback began 10 minutes earlier when Victor Anichebe's header canceled out a first-half goal from Carlton Cole, who was sent off shortly after the equalizer for a high-footed challenge on Leighton Baines.

Everton had midfielder Darron Gibson sent off in stoppage time, but held on to go fourth.

Tottenham has an inferior goal difference to Everton's and strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe were both frustrated against a stubborn Stoke side at White Hart Lane.

But West Brom's recent slump was halted by a 2-1 victory that ended Norwich's 10-match unbeaten run.

In the relegation dogfight, Queens Park Rangers are five points behind Wigan but a point ahead of bottom-place Reading despite Harry Redknapp's unbeaten start as manager ending with a 1-0 loss to Newcastle.

Lyon chases down PSG


PARIS — Lyon heads into the winter break level on points with French leader Paris Saint-Germain after bouncing back from last weekend's defeat to the big spenders by beating Nice 3-0 at home on Saturday.

Lyon, which has spent almost nothing on players this season compared to the PSG's massive summer outlay of more than €160 million ($211 million), withstood an early spell of pressure from Nice — coached by former Lyon boss Claude Puel — before scoring through strikers Lisandro Lopez and Bafetimbi Gomis and right back Anthony Reveillere.

Lyon took the lead in the 40th minute when Gomis set up Lopez. Reveillere, who hit the crossbar in the first half, made it 2-0 after a long run and shot past goalkeeper David Ospina. The keeper was then sent off in the 73rd for bringing down Gomis — who converted the spot kick to make it 3-0.

"We've finished the first half of the season well, but it wasn't easy for us as Nice played very well," Lyon center half Milan Bisevac said.

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