United on top with title Spur

Afp April 24, 2010

MANCHESTER: An exquisite finish by Nani helped send Manchester United back to the top of the English Premier League table after a 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford.

Following a drab first half, Ryan Giggs opened the scoring from the penalty spot but United looked set for a frustrating afternoon after Ledley King powered in a 70th minute equaliser. But Nani’s wonderful finish made it 2-1 10 minutes from time before Giggs sealed the points with his second goal from the penalty spot.

United are two points clear of nearest challengers Chelsea, who play host to Stoke tomorrow, with two games remaining while Tottenham still have work to do if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League. The visitors survived a scare when Darren Fletcher narrowly failed to divert Berbatov’s header over the line before United’s pressure finally paid off when Benoit Assou- Ekotto upended Evra inside the penalty area. Former Monaco full-back Evra had vomited on the pitch at the start of the second half but it was Tottenham who were feeling sick when Giggs kept his composure to beat Gomes from the penalty spot in the 58th minute.

Yet United’s lead lasted just 12 minutes as King stunned Old Trafford after taking advantage of sloppy defending to power home the equaliser following a corner by Gareth Bale. But Nani, who was United’s best player, came to the rescue with a wonderful 80th minute finish to restore his side’s advantage after a great move involving Darren Fletcher and substitute Federico Macheda. Tottenham’s hopes of stealing a point faded when Giggs kept his cool to make it 3-1 with his second from the penalty spot in the 86th minute after Nani had been fouled by Wilson Palacios.

West Ham beat Wigan 3-2 West Ham United all but assured themselves of a place in next season’s English Premier League with a tense 3-2 victory over Wigan Athletic at Upton Park. Ben Watson’s corner was not cleared and the ball struck American international Spector in the chest and bounced over the line for an own goal. It was just the start the Latics needed and they were still clearly buzzing from their 3-2 victory over Arsenal. West Ham drew level through Araujo Ilan when the Brazilian started the 31st-minute move when he fed Cole, who hustled his way into the Wigan box and crossed for Ilan to slide home.

Radoslav Kovac then put West Ham ahead on the stroke of half-time. But West Ham failed to cope with a corner from Watson that allowed Wigan to pull level early in the second half. And it came in the 77th minute when Parker lashed home a classy strike from 25 yards that gave Kirkland no chance. In the other matches last night, Bolton were held to a 2-2 draw against Portsmouth, Hull lost at home 1-0 to Sunderland while Wolves and Blackburn played out a 1-1 draw. AFP