Newcastle and Sunderland both won 2-1 to secure their places in English soccer’s Premier League for next season.
Newcastle beat 10-man Birmingham at home and Sunderland got a late goal to win at Bolton. Both have 44 points, eight above the three teams at the bottom of the 20-team standings that are relegated to the second division, with two matches remaining.
Shola Ameobi and Steven Taylor had first-half goals to lead Newcastle past Birmingham. Ameobi scored with a 36th minute penalty after Liam Ridgewell received a red card for a handball on the goal line.
Taylor made it 2-0 seven minutes later. Lee Bowyer scored just before halftime for Birmingham, which is three points above relegation.
Sully Muntari’s goal in stoppage time gave Sunderland the win at Bolton. Boudewijn Zenden also scored for Sunderland, which won for just the second time in 12 games, while Ivan Klasnic had the Bolton goal.
Tottenham’s Champions League hopes were dealt a blow by its 1-1 home draw against Blackpool. Jermain Defoe scored in the 89th minute for Tottenham, which is six points behind Manchester City in the race for fourth place and the final Champions League spot.
Charlie Adam scored with a penalty in the 76th minute for Blackpool. Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes had stopped a spot kick by Adam less than two minutes earlier, then fouled Gary Taylor-Fletcher to give the Blackpool captain another chance.
The draw lifted Blackpool back into 17th place on goal difference over Wigan, which earlier moved out of relegation with its draw at Aston Villa. Both teams have 36 points.
Thomas Hitzlsperger’s goal gave West Ham a home draw with Blackburn. Jason Roberts scored for Blackburn, which is three points clear of the drop, while West Ham remains last on 33 points.
Sylvain Distin and Leon Osman scored in the second half as Everton extended its home unbeaten run to 10 games. Yaya Toure scored for Manchester City
Chelsea can move into first place over Manchester United by beating the league leader tomorrow at Old Trafford. United tops the standings with 73 points and the Blues have 70. Third-place Arsenal, with 67 points, visits Stoke and Wolverhampton hosts West Brom in tomorrow’s other matches.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at email@example.com NI SOCCER NI BFBNEWS NI BFBMATCH NI BFBTEAMS NI BFBALL NI VILLA NI WIGAN NI BOLTON NI SUNDER NI EVERTON NI MANCITY NI NEWCASTLE NI BIRMINGHAM NI WESTHAM NI BLACKBURN NI TOTTENHAM NI BLACKPOOL NI UK