Published April 09, 2011
LONDON – Manchester United moved closer to a record 19th league title Saturday by beating Fulham 2-0. Three teams fighting to remain in the English Premier League — West Ham, Wigan and Wolverhampton — all lost.
United was backed by goals from Dimitar Berbatov and Antonio Valencia and is 10 points ahead of Arsenal, which has two games in hand.
"It was a result, but I wouldn't say it was a job well done at all," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "We were a bit casual and lackadaisical."
United made eight changes from its lineup that beat Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday. United will be looking to protect a 1-0 lead in the quarterfinal second leg Tuesday.
Chelsea moved ahead of Manchester City into third place after a 1-0 victory over last-place Wigan. Wolverhampton and West Ham are a point ahead of Wigan and both lost 3-0. Wolves fell at home to Everton and West Ham was beaten at Bolton.
Tottenham recovered from Tuesday's 4-0 loss at Real Madrid, with Peter Crouch scoring twice in a 3-2 victory over Stoke. Tottenham drew within three points of fourth-place Manchester City.
West Brom continued to surge under coach Roy Hodgson, who took charge in February. It twice came from behind to win 3-2 at Sunderland and move into the top half of the standings.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lionel Messi scored twice to tie his career best of 47 goals in a season, and Barcelona rallied for a 3-1 victory over last-place Almeria in the Spanish league. Barcelona maintained its eight-point advantage over second-place Real Madrid, which beat Athletic Bilbao 3-0.
Almeria took the lead in the 50th when Miguel "Corona" Garcia scored on a counterattack. Messi tied it on a penalty kick three minutes later and in the 64th served a corner kick for Thiago Alcantara to head in. Messi added his league-best 29th goal — one more than Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo — in injury time. Messi's 47 goals in all competitions this season matched the Barcelona record, set by Ronaldo in 1996-97 and equaled by Messi last season.
Madrid's Angel Di Maria earned two penalty kicks that Kaka converted in the 14th and 54th minutes. Ronaldo entered as a second-half substitute and scored in the 70th minute.
After Madrid hosts Barcelona next weekend in La Liga, the pair meet in the Copa del Rey final four days later. With both holding commanding leads heading into the second legs of their respective Champions League quarterfinal, they are likely to meet twice more in the semis.
MILAN (AP) — Inter Milan bounced back from two setbacks to beat Chievo Verona 2-0 in Serie A behind second-half goals from Esteban Cambiasso and Maicon.
Inter was coming off a 3-0 loss to AC Milan and a 5-2 home defeat by Schalke in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals.
Inter didn't break through until Cambiasso took a pass from Maicon in the 65th minute and watched as his shot deflected first off a defender and then off the crossbar before going in. Maicon then pounced on a loose ball inside the penalty area in the 84th minute and slid it in.
Inter, the five-time defending champion, returned to second place, two points behind Milan and one in front of Napoli. Milan can restore its lead to five points when it visits Fiorentina on Sunday.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Borussia Dortmund needed an injury-time goal from substitute Jakub Blaszczykowski to earn a 1-1 draw at 10-man Hamburger SV and remain on course for the Bundesliga title.
But the league leader has won only one of its last four games and Bayer Leverkusen can draw within five points if it beats struggling St. Pauli on Sunday. There are five matches to play.
Hannover beat Mainz 2-0 to return to third place ahead of Bayern Munich, which squandered an early lead and settled for a 1-1 draw at Nuremberg after a mistake by goalkeeper Thomas Kraft.
Felix Magath's return to Gelsenkirchen soured when his Wolfsburg club lost 1-0 to Schalke on a second-half goal by Jose Manuel Jurado. Ten-man Freiburg beat Hoffenheim 3-2. Kaiserslautern got two goals from Srdjan Lakic in an important 4-2 victory at Stuttgart, which is also under threat of relegation.
PARIS (AP) — Monaco pulled out of the relegation zone in the French League with a surprising 1-0 victory over first-place Lille.
The result ended Lille's four-game winning streak, giving its rivals a chance to make up ground in the title race. Second-place Marseille could cut Lille's lead to one point if it beats Toulouse on Sunday.
Lille was down to 10 men in the 37th minute after Gervinho was fouled by Adriano and retaliated by shoving the Monaco defender.
Park Chu-young scored for Monaco in the 12th minute after he intercepted a backpass from Adil Rami, moved around goalkeeper Mickael Landreau and scored into an empty net for his 11th goal this season.
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Celtic extended its Scottish Premier League lead to five points after substitute Kris Commons scored n the 78th minute for a 1-0 victory over St. Mirren.
Commons had been on the field less than 10 minutes when he took a pass from Shaun Maloney and fired a low shot inside the post.
Rangers can close the gap to two points again Sunday by winning at Hamilton.