Manchester United Inches Closer to 20th English Title With Draw

Manchester United Inches Closer to 20th English Title With Draw
West Ham United's striker Andy Carroll, left, challenges Manchester United's defender Nemanja Vidic during the English Premier League football match at the Boleyn Ground, Upton Park in east London on April 17, 2013. Photographer: Ian Kington/AFP Photo/Getty Images

Manchester United moved another point closer to its record-extending 20th English league soccer title by rallying for a 2-2 draw at West Ham.

United twice came from behind last night at Upton Park in east London with Robin van Persie’s disputed goal in the 77th minute earning the point. United leads Manchester City, which beat Wigan 1-0, by 13 points at the top of the Premier League standings.

“We had to stand up to a lot, we went down twice but we kept going,” United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports. “We played like champions tonight. We’re determined to win, we don’t like losing and they showed that tonight again.”

United will claim the title if City loses its next game at Tottenham on April 21 and the Red Devils defeat Aston Villa the following night. Six points from its last five games will guarantee United the title.

In last night’s other match, John Terry scored twice as Chelsea beat Fulham 3-0 to move above Arsenal into third place.

West Ham took the lead in the 16th minute as Andy Carroll headed Matt Jarvis’s cross to the back post, where Ricardo Vaz Te nodded it in. United drew even 15 minutes later as Antonio Valencia tapped in Shinji Kagawa’s cut back.

West Ham went back in front in the 55th minute when Mohamed Diame curled a shot from outside the area past goalkeeper David De Gea. Gary O’Neil kept the Hammers in front in the 63rd minute by clearing Wayne Rooney’s shot off the line after it got past goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Offside Goal?

United then tied the game with 13 minutes left as Van Persie scored with a rebound after Kagawa hit the post, although he was offside when the original shot was taken. The goal angered West Ham manager Sam Allardyce.

“It’s a bit difficult to take, that’s their job, it’s their job to give the offside decisions that appear in front of them,” he said of the officials to Sky Sports. “This is a blatant one. This is not a position he should or shouldn’t be in. He can see Van Persie is two yards offside. He should put his flag up, he doesn’t.”

Manchester City kept its faint title hopes alive by beating Wigan. Carlos Tevez’s goal in the 83rd minute at Etihad Stadium in Manchester gave City its sixth straight win over the Latics.

The two teams will meet again May 11 in the F.A. Cup final at Wembley Stadium in London.

Chelsea’s win over west London rival Fulham at Craven Cottage moved it one point ahead of Arsenal, which has played one more game. The top three teams in the standings qualify for the group stage of the elite Champions League, while the fourth-place team enters a playoff.

David Luiz put the Blues in front after 30 minutes with a shot from 35 yards out and Terry scored with a header just before halftime. The Chelsea captain added his second goal in the 71st minute when he nodded in Fernando Torres’s header off Juan Mata’s corner kick.

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