Manchester United extends Premier League lead
LONDON -- Manchester United beat Manchester City 3-1 Saturday to extend its Premier League lead to nine points. Wayne Rooney, Louis Saha and Cristiano Ronaldo scored for United, which won for the 14th time in 17 games and has 44 points. With Chelsea playing Sunday at Arsenal, the Red Devils opened a healthy lead over the defending champion. Chelsea has 35 points but has played two fewer games. "I will be supporting the Gunners [Arsenal] for a change," said United manager Alex Ferguson, who has had a fierce rivalry with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. "We can relax and watch the game on TV tomorrow. They are two great sides, but hopefully we will be in an even better position tomorrow evening." Saturday's other results were: Portsmouth 2, Everton 0; Bolton 4, West Ham 0; Tottenham 5, Charlton 1; Liverpool 4, Fulham 0; Newcastle 3, Blackburn 1; Middlesbrough 1, Wigan 1; Watford 0, Reading 0. It was a day of mixed results for American goalkeepers. Marcus Hahnemann made a standout save on a shot by Al Bangura in Reading's 0-0 tie at Watford. Tim Howard and Brad Friedel, however, were caught out of position. Howard, on loan to Everton from Manchester United, was caught off his line and unable to stop Portsmouth defender Matthew Taylor from lobbing a 45-yard shot over his head for his team's first goal. Friedel left his area and went upfield during injury time to try and help Blackburn score from a series of corner kicks with his team 2-1 down at home to Newcastle. But the Magpies managed to clear the ball and he was well behind the play when Obafemi Martins shot into an empty net from 30 yards for his second goal.
BERLIN -- Werder Bremen charged to the top of the Bundesliga with a 6-2 victory at Eintracht Frankfurt, with Brazilian striker Naldo scoring three times. Knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona on Tuesday, Bremen now is two points ahead of VfB Stuttgart, which beat Bochum 1-0. "We had no fears whatever -- our team knows how to handle that situation," Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf said of his team's response to the 2-0 loss at Barcelona. "That was a classy performance today -- absolutely top." But Schalke can pull even with 33 points on Sunday by beating Borussia Dortmund at home. Defending champion Bayern Munich is fourth, tied on points with Schalke after beating Energie Cottbus 2-1. Saturday's other results were: Hamburg 0, Nuremberg 0; Borussia Moenchengladbach 1, Mainz 05 1; and Hannover 96 1, Arminia Bielefeld 1. On Friday, Bayer Leverkusen edged Hertha Berlin 2-1.
MILAN -- Fabio Simplicio scored twice and Palermo beat Livorno 3-0 for its first win in a month in Serie A. The midfielder tapped in an assist from David Di Michele in the second minute and scored again in the 79th. Palermo has 31 points and is in third place in the Italian league. Inter Milan tops the standings with 36 points, four ahead of AS Roma. Livorno is fourth with 20 points. Also Saturday, Reggina downed Ascoli 2-1 in a clash of Serie A's bottom two teams and Juventus beat Verona 1-0 to take a share of first place in Serie B. On Sunday, Inter travels to Empoli and Roma plays Lazio in the Roman derby.
MADRID -- Ernesto Chevanton's 78th-minute overhead gave Sevilla a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid and moved it into sole possession of second place in the Spanish league. David Beckham gave Madrid the lead in the 14th with a free kick before Frederic Kanoute tied it 4 minutes later with his 11th goal. Earlier, FC Barcelona posted a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad to secure the top spot in the standings before it departs for the World Club Championship in Japan. Ronaldinho scored his 11th league goal of the season in the 61st to put the Spanish and European champions atop of the league with 33 points. Sevilla is second with 31 and Madrid is third with 29. Sevilla hasn't lost at home in 10 months and improved to 7-0 at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium this season.
PARIS -- Djibril Cisse marked his first match since breaking his leg six months ago by setting up Mamadou Niang's winner for Marseille to beat Monaco 2-1 in the French league. Cisse replaced Toifilou Maoulida in the 62nd minute and 15 minutes later headed the ball to set up Niang. Marseille, which scored first on Mickael Pagis' header, moved into fifth place with 27 points. Lyon, which hosts Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday, leads with 43 points, followed by Lens on 32 and Sochaux on 30. Issam Jemaa scored an injury-time winner on a cross by Daniel Cousin as Lens beat Toulouse 1-0. Saturday's other results were: Valenciennes 0, Sochaux 0; Bordeaux 1, Rennes 2; Lorient 2, Sedan 0; Nice 0, Nancy 0; Nantes 0, Le Mans 0; and Troyes 3, Auxerre 3.
AMSTERDAM -- Ibrahim Afellay and Arouna Kone scored for PSV Eindhoven in a 2-0 victory over FC Groningen that gave PSV an eight-point lead in the Dutch league and extended its unbeaten streak in the league to 10 matches. Afellay scored with a curling 17-yard free kick in the 61st minute before Kone marked his 100th Eredivise appearance with a close-range goal. PSV leads with 43 points, AZ Alkmaar is second with 35. Ajax has 34 and Feyenoord has 29. Saturday's other results were: NAC Breda 2, Excelsior Rotterdam 1; NEC Nijmegen 2, FC Utrecht 0; Heracles Almelo 2; and Sparta Rotterdam 3. On Friday, SC Heerenveen beat Roda JC 1-0. On Sunday, AZ Alkmaar is at Ajax and Feyenoord hosts Ado The Hague.
GLASGOW -- Rangers beat Hibernian 3-0 and Aberdeen edged Falkirk 2-1 to cut Celtic's lead to 13 points in the Scottish Premier League. Rangers scored three goals in the first 36 minutes through Dado Prso, Libor Sionko and Barry Ferguson at Ibrox. At Pittodrie, Darren Mackie and Chris Clark scored for Aberdeen in the first half before Alan Gow replied for Falkirk after the interval. Celtic, bidding for its 15th league victory of the season Sunday at last-place Dunfermline, has 44 points from 17. Rangers and Aberdeen have 31 points from 18 games. Saturday's other results were: Dundee United 3, Inverness 1; Hearts 4, Motherwell 1; and Kilmarnock 1, St. Mirren 1.
ATHENS -- Dimitris Salpingidis scored in the 88th minute to lift Panathinaikos past Larissa 1-0 in the Greek league. Salpingidis scored with a low drive after a clever backheel by Ezequiel Gonzales. Panathinaikos is second in the standings with 31 points, two behind leader Olympiakos and one ahead of AEK. On Sunday, Olympiakos hosts Egaleo and AEK travels to Xanthi. Saturday's other match between Ionikos and Iraklis was stopped in the 92nd with the score tied 2-2 and 2 minutes of injury time remaining after a spectator came on the field and assaulted a linesman. The man was detained by police and the referee stopped the match.