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Ferguson Enjoys Bonus as City’s Loss Gives League Lead to United

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March 12 (Bloomberg) -- Manchester United moved one point clear atop English soccer’s Premier League after Manchester City lost for the first time in five league games.

England striker Wayne Rooney scored both goals in United’s 2-0 win against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford yesterday, while City lost 1-0 at Swansea City on a goal from Luke Moore.

“The City defeat was a bonus I didn’t expect,” United manager Alex Ferguson told reporters. “I’m happy to be top because only a few weeks ago we were seven points behind them.”

United has 67 points from 28 matches, City remains on 66, with Tottenham, which lost 1-0 at Everton two days ago, on 53. Chelsea is tied on 49 points with fourth-place Arsenal.

Norwich City tied 1-1 against last-place Wigan in yesterday’s other match.

United, aiming for a record-extending 20th league title and 13th since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, has now won four straight league games.

West Brom wasted an opportunity to take an early lead at United when Keith Andrews poked an effort wide as he slid in to make contact with a cross from Liam Ridgewell.

Goalkeeper Ben Foster then saved from United winger Ashley Young and Rooney fired over the bar from long range. United keeper David de Gea made a save at the other end, diving to turn wide a low shot from Andrews.

Rooney had another chance before grabbing the opening goal on 35 minutes. The striker volleyed in from a cross by Javier Hernandez for his 26th goal in all competitions this season.

The home team had opportunities to extend its lead, with Hernandez hitting a post and Rooney testing Foster with an overhead kick.

Red Card

West Brom had defender Jonas Olsson red-carded after 66 minutes and five minutes later Rooney secured the win from a penalty kick awarded for a foul by Andrews on Young.

“We knew we needed to get that second goal,” Rooney told MUTV. “It was vitally important we did that and then, from there, we really saw the game out.”

Manchester City suffered its fourth league defeat of the season, all of them on the road.

Moore settled it with a headed goal on 83 minutes, soon after he entered the field as a substitute.

Swansea missed a chance to take an eighth-minute lead after England goalkeeper Joe Hart fouled Wayne Routledge. Hart dived to his right to save Scott Sinclair’s penalty kick.

Attacking Change

City struggled to test the Swansea defense and manager Roberto Mancini made a change in the 37th minute, bringing on striker Sergio Aguero for midfielder Gareth Barry.

Aguero fired wide early in the second half and Micah Richards had an effort stopped by Michel Vorm, while Steven Caulker headed across goal for Swansea.

The winning goal came after Yaya Toure lost possession in midfield. Routledge crossed the ball and Moore headed past Hart.

Vorm then denied Kolo Toure and Edin Dzeko, and City had a goal ruled out for offside when Richards netted. Late on, Sinclair was unable to find the net as City keeper Hart rushed back toward his goal.

“There are 10 games to go and it’s important we start to score and win again,” Mancini told City’s website. “Some players may be tired after seven months of the season, but I think we have a lot of energy to get back to the top.”

Norwich ended a run of three successive defeats as it tied against Wigan. Wes Hoolahan scored at Carrow Road for the home team, with Victor Moses earning Wigan a point.

Two days ago, Chelsea defeated Stoke City 1-0, while Sunderland beat Liverpool 1-0. Blackburn won 2-0 at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Bolton beat Queens Park Rangers 2-1, and Aston Villa defeated Fulham 1-0. Arsenal hosts Newcastle today.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Cone in London at jcone@bloomberg.net

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

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