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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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By ESPN Staff

United stroll to easy win over Spurs

LONDON -- Manchester United kept its six-point lead in the English Premier League by beating Tottenham 4-0 Sunday despite playing the final minutes without goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, who broke his nose when hit by a knee. Cristiano Ronaldo scored with a penalty kick, Nemanja Vidic added a goal with a header, Paul Scholes tapped in from close range and Ryan Giggs beat goalkeeper Paul Robinson one-on-one for United's 20th win of the season. "We won it going forward," Scholes said. "We knew at the back we could exploit them with pace and strength up front so we wanted to get the ball forward and we managed to do that." The Red Devils ended the game with 10 men and midfielder John O'Shea in goal after Van der Sar was hit in the head by Tottenham striker Robbie Keane's knee in the 83rd minute. Van der Sar walked off the field with medical staff holding tissues to his broken nose. United had just made its final substitution, with Giggs replacing O'Shea. "It was a bit nerve-racking, especially with a corner to defend straight away and every time they got the ball near the penalty area the crowd kept shouting 'Shoot!''' O'Shea said. Man United leads the league with 63 points. Two-time defending champion Chelsea is second with 57 points, followed by Liverpool with 50 and Arsenal with 46. Ronaldo was brought down by Tottenham defender Lee Young-pyo, and the Portugal winger scored his 17th goal of the season in the 45th minute. Dimitar Berbatov had Tottenham's best chance of the first half, but his 33rd-minute shot was tipped around the post by Van der Sar. In the 48th, Vidic ran into the box and leapt to head the ball past Robinson off a corner from former Tottenham midfielder Michael Carrick. Six minutes later, Ronaldo crossed into the box, and with Robinson beaten, Scholes tapped the ball over the goal line. Giggs then beat the oncoming Robinson in the 77th.

Spain
MADRID, Spain -- Real Madrid lost for the fourth time in its last six matches, falling 1-0 to visiting Levante in the Spanish league. Salva Ballesta scored from the penalty spot to pile the pressure on coach Fabio Capello. Many Madrid supporters waved white handkerchiefs in protest of Capello and president Ramon Calderon. Some shouted "Out, out!" at Calderon. Capello again sat David Beckham. Madrid lost to Levante for the first time in its history. The team was also recently eliminated from the Copa del Rey. Madrid's 28 goals in 21 league matches is its lowest in the past 16 years. Meanwhile, Sevilla was held to a 0-0 tie by Real Sociedad. The second-place team, playing without the injured Frederic Kanoute, nearly scored in the 24th minute when Alexander Kerzhakov hit the crossbar with a header. Sevilla substitute Sergio "Duda" Barbosa was ejected in injury time after receiving his second yellow card.

Netherlands
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Ajax closed in on Dutch league leader PSV Eindhoven after beating Feyenoord 4-1. Welsey Sneijder scored a hat trick for Ajax, which now trails PSV by only five points. PSV lost to third-place AZ Alkmaar 3-2 Saturday. Tom de Mul also scored for Ajax, while Angelos Charisteas got one back for Feyenoord. Eleven Ajax fans were arrested before the game, accused of throwing fireworks and bottles at police and opposing fans. Three police officers were wounded.

Scotland
LIVINGSTON, Scotland -- Celtic advanced to the quarterfinals of the Scottish Cup with a comeback 4-1 win over Livingston. Dave MacKay gave Livingston the lead in the 18th minute with a header, but Celtic tied it in the 30th when Darren O'Dea scored from the penalty area. Derek Riordan added goals in the 45th and 59th, and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink scored the final goal in the 61st.