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FA Cup

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50-50 Challenge
Leg 1
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By ESPN Staff

Premiership: Reds run riot against Rams

Liverpool moved to the top of the Premier League for the first time in five years with a 6-0 drubbing of bottom side Derby at Anfield.

Xabi Alonso scored for the Reds in the 27th minute with a free-kick from 40 yards that curled into the box and eluded everyone before creeping inside Stephen Bywater's far post.

Ryan Babel added an excellent second when Alvaro Arbeloa pulled the ball back to him and a superb dummy fooled two Derby defenders and he comfortably despatched the ball past Bywater.

Fernando Torres added a third for Rafael Benitez's side when Javier Mascherano caught Bob Malcolm in possession to release the Spain striker, who raced away from two defenders and then drilled in a low shot.

Alonso added a fourth in the 69th minute with a shot from the edge of the box, Andriy Voronin got the fifth when he was first to a rebound after Dirk Kuyt's shot was parried and Torres scored his second and Liverpool's sixth when he latched on to an error by Andy Todd.

Michael Owen was the Newcastle hero as they won 1-0 at home to Wigan to give England manager Steve McClaren a boost ahead of the forthcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers.

Owen had one disallowed in the first half but headed home Obafemi Martins' cross from the right, his first in the league for the Magpies since a hat-trick away to West Ham in December 2005.

Their Merseyside neighbours Everton have also started the season well and claimed a 2-1 win at Bolton as debutant Ayegbeni Yakubu made a flying start.

Andrew Johnson teed up his new £11.25million strike partner perfectly and the Nigerian made no mistake from 12 yards in the 11th minute to give the Toffees a 1-0 half-time lead.

Bolton levelled the scores when El-Hadji Diouf's cross from the left was only half-cleared and Nicolas Anelka volleyed in off the underside of the crossbar but there was late heartbreak for Wanderers as Joleon Lescott headed home from a corner.

Tottenham let slip 2-0 and 3-1 leads as Fulham fought back for a 3-3 draw at Craven Cottage.

Spurs forged ahead in the 10th minute when central defender Younes Kaboul, signed from Auxerre in the summer, turned the ball in from a Gareth Bale corner.

Dimitar Berbatov added a second in the 27th minute after Robbie Keane hooked the ball over the Fulham defence and the Bulgarian crashed his shot into the net.

American midfielder Clint Dempsey pulled one back for the Cottagers in the 42nd minute but Martin Jol's men seemed to have made sure of the three points when a smart finish from Bale rounded off a swift counter-attack.

Russian midfielder Alexey Smertin reduced the deficit (77) and Diomansy Kamara's looping overhead kick earned Lawrie Sanchez's side a point.

West Ham were 3-0 victors at Reading as Dean Ashton started his first senior game since the 2006 FA Cup final for the Hammers.

His strike partner Craig Bellamy was the opening goalscorer though as he raced away from his markers on to a Lee Bowyer pass and drilled a low shot across Royals goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann in the sixth minute.

Alan Curbishley's men grabbed a second four minutes into the second half when Matt Etherington played an excellent one-two on the edge of the box with Bellamy and blasted a shot high inside Hahnemann's near post.

Etherington added a second and West Ham's third deep into injury time from Carlton Cole's pass.

Middlesbrough were full value for their 2-0 victory over Birmingham at the Riverside. David Wheater's powerful 12th-minute header left Maik Taylor rooted to his line to give Gareth Southgate's men the lead and Stewart Downing added Boro's second eight minutes before the break when he lashed in a shot from close range after a header down by George Boateng.