United topples Stoke to edge closer to title

Stoke-on-Trent, England (Sports Network) - Manchester United moved a bit closer to clinching the Premiership title on Sunday with a 2-0 win over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.

Michael Carrick netted his first goal of the campaign for United after four minutes, while Robin van Persie converted from the penalty spot in the 66th minute to put the result away.

United moves 15 points clear of Manchester City at the top of the league with the win and now requires just seven points from its final six games to claim another league title.

Stoke is at the opposite end of things having earned just one point from its last seven games, leaving the club only three points above the drop zone.

United seized the advantage after four minutes from a corner kick when Stoke failed to clear the ball, allowing Carrick to stab home from close range.

The Potters had a big hill to climb after that and went down 2-0 midway through the second half when Andy Wilkinson brought down Van Persie inside the area, allowing the Dutchman to fire home his 20th goal of the campaign from 12 yards.

Stoke tried to answer in the last 10 minutes but the best chance for the home side came from a Charlie Adam free kick, which goalkeeper David De Gea was able to parry from the path of Ryan Shawcross.

Sunderland 3, Newcastle 0

Newcastle, England - Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio made quite an impression in his first Tyne-Wear derby as the Black Cats claimed a 3-0 win over Newcastle at St James' Park on Sunday to ease their relegation fears a bit.

With Sunderland riding a winless run of nine games and only above the relegation places on goal difference ahead of the match, all the pressure resided with the visitors.

But they put together a strong effort to move three points clear of the drop zone as Stephane Sessegnon handed his team a first-half lead.

Powerful strikes from Adam Johnson and David Vaughan in the final 15 minutes wrapped up the win for Sunderland, which won at St James' Park for the first time since 2000.

Newcastle has lost three of its last four games and sits only two points above its derby rival.