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Manchester United Beats Bolton, Extends Premier League Lead

March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Ten-man Manchester United beat Bolton 1-0 to extend its lead in English soccer’s Premier League over Arsenal, which rallied to tie West Brom 2-2.

Second-half substitute Dimitar Berbatov scored in the 87th minute to give United the home victory at Old Trafford after the host’s Jonny Evans was sent off in the 76th minute for a foul on Stuart Holden.

The win gives United 62 points, five more than Arsenal which has played one game less. The Gunners rebounded from a 2-0 deficit for their draw at West Brom.

West Ham moved out of the three relegation places at the bottom of the standings after a goalless draw at Tottenham, while Birmingham lost 2-1 at last-place Wigan to fall into the drop zone. Wolverhampton beat Aston Villa 1-0, Stoke routed Newcastle 4-0, Blackburn rallied to tie Blackpool 2-2 and Everton beat Fulham 2-1.

Berbatov came off the bench to score his league-leading 20th goal and lift Manchester United to victory. His goal three minutes from full-time came after Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen failed to hold a shot from Nani.

Evans received a red card with 14 minutes remaining for a foot-first challenge on Holden, who was carried off the field on a stretcher.

United is unbeaten in 15 league home matches this season, winning 14. Manager Alex Ferguson watched from the directors’ box as he began a five-match suspension for recent comments about referee Martin Atkinson.

Comeback

Arsenal stayed in the title chase by coming from behind in the final 20 minutes to get a draw at the Hawthorns.

Steven Reid scored with a third-minute header and Peter Odemwingie added a goal in the second half, after Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia ran out of his area, to give West Brom a 2-0 lead.

Andrey Arshavin started the Arsenal comeback with a goal in the 70th minute and Robin van Persie tied the score eight minutes later.

West Ham moved above the drop with its scoreless draw at Tottenham. Spurs remain fifth, two points behind Chelsea in the race for the final Champions League place.

Maynor Figueroa’s goal in added time gave Wigan the win over Birmingham which dropped the Carling Cup Champions into the relegation zone. Matt Jarvis’s goal lifted Wolves past Aston Villa, while Blackburn rallied for the home draw against Blackpool on Junior Hoilett’s injury-time header.

Stoke routed Newcastle to end a four-game winless run in the league, while Seamus Coleman and Louis Saha scored as Everton ended Fulham’s five-game unbeaten streak.

Wolves have 32 points, Birmingham has 31 and Wigan has 30 in the relegation places. West Ham has 32 but is ahead of Wolves on a superior goal difference, while Blackburn, Aston Villa, Blackpool and West Brom all have 33 points.

Sunderland visits Liverpool and Chelsea hosts Manchester City in tomorrow’s games.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at bbensch@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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