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By ESPN Staff
Dec 26, 2006

Ronaldo helps United extend league lead

LONDON -- Cristiano Ronaldo scored two second-half goals to help Manchester United beat Wigan 3-1 Tuesday and extend its Premier League lead. It is four points ahead of Chelsea, which tied Reading 2-2.

Ronaldo headed in a cross from Paul Scholes in the 46th minute to open the scoring. Wigan goalkeeper Kris Kirkland saved Ronaldo's penalty kick in the 50th, but the Portuguese star scored off the rebound for his 10th league goal this season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored in the 59th to make it 3-0, and Leighton Baines made a penalty kick during injury time for Wigan's only goal.

Chelsea could have kept pace with the leaders, but an own-goal from Michael Essien in the 85th cost the Blues. Defender Ashley Cole cleared a cross that deflected off Essien and past goalkeeper Hilario, evening the score at 2-2.

Didier Drogba appeared to have given Chelsea the winning goal in the 72nd minute when he beat goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann to head in Salomon Kalou's cross for 2-1. It was Drogba's league-leading 12th goal.

Drogba had given the Blues the lead in the 38th when he jumped to head in Frank Lampard's corner kick. Leroy Lita headed in a cross for Reading in the 67th to tie it 1-1.

Man United has 50 points after 20 games, with Chelsea at 46. Arsenal and Bolton are next at 36, followed by Portsmouth at 35 and Liverpool at 34.

In other games, it was: Arsenal 2, Watford 1; Portsmouth 2, West Ham 1; Tottenham 2, Aston Villa 1; Blackburn 1, Liverpool 0; Bolton 2, Newcastle 1; Everton 0, Middlesbrough 0; and Manchester City 1; Sheffield United 0.