Ashley Young scored twice as Manchester United beat Tottenham 3-1 to move to within two points of Manchester City atop English soccer’s Premier League.
Wayne Rooney headed United in front at White Hart Lane yesterday after Spurs’s Emmanuel Adebayor had a goal disallowed for handball. Young scored with a far-post volley in the 60th minute and made it 3-0 with a curling shot from the edge of the area nine minutes later. Jermain Defoe got Tottenham’s goal.
“We had a bit of luck, and we scored right on half time with our first shot on goal,” United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports. “They were probably sat in the dressing room wondering how they were 1-0 down because they’d played ever so well. It was a massive result.”
Defending champion United has 64 points to City’s 66, while Spurs stayed in third place with 53 points, four ahead of Arsenal. Newcastle remains sixth after drawing 1-1 at home with 10-man Sunderland. Pavel Pogrebnyak’s hat trick gave Fulham a 5-0 win against Wolverhampton in yesterday’s other game.
City had taken a five-point lead two days ago ahead of the matchup of its nearest rivals by beating Bolton Wanderers 2-0 and United closed the gap once more.
Five minutes after Adebayor’s disallowed effort, Rooney headed in Young’s corner kick just before the break. Young doubled United’s lead on the hour when he volleyed through a crowd of players and made it 3-0 with a precise finish from distance beyond goalkeeper Brad Friedel. Defoe got Spurs’s goal with a long-distance shot with three minutes left.
“We’ve played all the big teams since January,” Ferguson added. “It was a really busy spell and we’ve come through that and played well in most of the games. We showed a determination to get the result.”
In the northeast derby, Sunderland went ahead in the 24th minute on a penalty kick from Nicklas Bendtner after the home team’s Mike Williamson pulled back Michael Turner. The match, which featured nine yellow cards, changed with the sending off of Sunderland’s Stephane Sessegnon in the 57th minute for elbowing an opponent.
Newcastle controlled the ball for much of the end of the match and Shola Ameobi squeezed his 90th-minute shot past Simon Mignolet, who had saved a 82nd minute penalty from Demba Ba.
Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole, who was given a yellow card in the first minute for a foul, was dismissed after the final whistle for confronting referee Mike Dean.
Fulham Hits Five
In west London, Pogrebnyak scored in his third consecutive game since joining Fulham on loan and Clint Dempsey got two goals to drop Wolves into the relegation zone.
The Russian striker scored in the 36th, 44th and 61st minutes and Dempsey added two second-half strikes to give Fulham three straight league wins for the first time since 2008.
“After five goals in the three games, I have to say he is a pretty good signing for us,” Fulham manager Martin Jol said of Pogrebnyak, who will be at Fulham until the end of the season, when his contract with Stuttgart expires.
It was Wolverhampton’s first loss since Terry Connor took over as interim coach following Mick McCarthy’s firing last month. The team, which came back from two goals down to tie Newcastle 2-2 in Connors’s first match, slipped into the bottom three on goal difference as Blackburn climbed to 17th place. Blackburn and Wolves meet next weekend.