Football: Record-Breaking Manchester Utd Tighten Grip On Top Spot
Posted January 28, 2009on:
LONDON: Manchester United set a new Premier League record with an 11th consecutive clean sheet and maintained their grip on top place in the table with a 5-0 demolition of bottom side West Brom on Tuesday.
The stroll at The Hawthorns left United three points clear of Liverpool, who play at Wigan on Wednesday evening, and Aston Villa, who moved up to joint second place with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Portsmouth.
It was also a good night for Tottenham, 3-1 winners over fellow strugglers Stoke, and Sunderland, who beat Fulham 1-0.
The kick-off in the United-West Brom match was delayed by half an hour because of traffic congestion but United wasted no time in seizing control of the match.
With 21 minutes gone, Dimitar Berbatov played a one-two with Michael Carrick before slotting the ball past Scott Carson for his 11th goal of the season.
The Baggies then had defender Paul Robinson sent off for what was – perhaps harshly – adjudged to be a dangerous challenge on Park Ji-Sung before Carlos Tevez doubled United’s lead just before half-time, firing in from close range after Carson dropped a Ryan Giggs freekick.
A Giggs corner enabled Nemanja Vidic to head in United’s third on the hour mark and a Cristiano Ronaldo double rounded off a performance that enabled United to eclipse Chelsea’s Premier League clean sheet record.
Emile Heskey marked his debut for Aston Villa with the only goal of the game at Portsmouth as Martin O’Neill’s men again displayed their ability to grind out results in their pursuit of a top-four finish and a place in next season’s Champions League.
England centre forward Heskey latched on to Gabriel Agbonlahor’s flick-on from goalkeeper Brad Friedel’s clearance and fired past David James from just outside the area to make the first repayment on the 3.5 million pounds it cost Villa to sign him from Wigan last week.
Tottenham pulled three points clear of the relegation zone with a convincing 3-1 win over fellow strugglers Stoke at White Hart Lane.
The game was over as a contest after only 25 minutes as goals from Aaron Lennon, Jermain Defoe and Michael Dawson put Spurs in control.
James Beattie pulled one back for Stoke 12 minutes after the interval but there was no way back for the Premier League newcomers, who remain second from bottom.
Trinidad and Tobago star Kenwyne Jones celebrated signing a new long-term contract with Sunderland by scoring his side’s winner against Fulham, who are rapidly sliding towards trouble after a positive start to this season.
The decisive strike from Jones came ten minutes after half-time with the striker firing home the loose ball after Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer had parried a shot from Djibril Cisse. – AFP/de
Channel News Asia