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Man U beats Bolton to go to top of Premier League

BRITAIN SOCCER PREMIER LEAGUE

Man U beats Bolton to go to top of Premier League

LONDON – Manchester United beat Bolton 2-1 to return to the top of the Premier League on Saturday after Chelsea tossed away the lead and lost 2-1 at Aston Villa.

Liverpool lost 1-0 at Sunderland on a freak fifth-minute goal by Darren Bent, whose shot deflected off a fan’s beach ball that drifted onto the field. It was Liverpool’s fourth defeat in nine games.

A fifth-minute own-goal by Bolton defender Zat Knight and Antonio Valencia’s first United goal put the defending champions on their way to a seventh victory. Matthew Taylor replied late for Wanderers at Old Trafford to make it difficult for the Red Devils in the last 10 minutes.

Aston Villa rallied past Chelsea on headed goals from Richard Dunne and James Collins. After Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel blundered to let in a 30-yard shot from Didier Drogba in the 15th minute, Dunne tied it with a diving header in the 32nd and Collins scored his first goal in four years in the 52nd.

United has 22 points from nine games. Chelsea, in first place entering Saturday, has 21 points after nine games. This was Chelsea’s second straight road loss in the league after a 3-1 defeat at Wigan three weeks ago.

Tottenham won 2-1 at last-place Portsmouth and is third with 19 points. Fourth-place Arsenal has 18 points from eight games after beating Birmingham 3-1. Villa has 16 points from eight games.

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MILAN, Italy (AP) — Inter Milan won 5-0 at Genoa to open a three-point lead at the top of the Italian league.

Esteban Cambiasso, Mario Balotelli and Dejan Stankovic scored in the first half, with Patrick Viera and Maicon padding the lead in the second.

Inter has 19 points, followed by Sampdoria with 16, though Sampdoria plays Lazio on Sunday. Juventus and Fiorentina have 15 points each, though Juventus has a better goal difference. Genoa remains in fifth with 13.

Juventus tied Fiorentina 1-1. Brazil’s Amauri scored for Juventus in the 19th minute, 13 minutes after Juan Vargas scored for Fiorentina.

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Bayer Leverkusen remained in first place in the Bundesliga after a lackluster scoreless draw at second-place Hamburg.

The result left both teams on 21 points from nine games, with Leverkusen one goal ahead of Hamburg.

Bayern Munich struggled before winning 2-1 at Freiburg in the Bundesliga to snap a three-game winless streak.

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PARIS (AP) — Lyon lost 2-0 to Sochaux for its first defeat this season but stayed in first place in the French league.

Promoted Montpellier beat 10-man Saint-Etienne 2-1 to join Lyon at 20 points. Defending champion Bordeaux lost 1-0 to Auxerre to drop to third with 19 points.

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GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Sasa Papac scored in the 83rd minute, sending the unbeaten Rangers to a 2-1 victory at St. Johnstone and into first place in the Scottish Premier League.

Celtic slipped to second place, a point behind, after a 0-0 draw at home to Motherwell.

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Wenger wants naive Arsenal to learn some lessons

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Wenger wants naive Arsenal to learn some lessons

ALKMAAR, Netherlands (AFP) – Arsene Wenger insists his “naive” Arsenal stars must learn from the frustration of conceding a last-gasp equaliser against AZ Alkmaar.

Wenger’s side were on the verge of a third successive win in Group H after Cesc Fabregas’s first half strike put them ahead at the DSB Stadium.

But the Dutch champions – who had the worst possible preparation for the match when their owner’s bank was declared bankrupt on Monday – punished Arsenal for a lacklustre second half display as the Gunners‘ poor marking at a free-kick allowed David Mendes Da Silva to lash in the stoppage time goal that secured a 1-1 draw.

The Premier League club remain top of their group at the halfway stage so the damage from Da Silva’s goal is likely to be minimal, but Wenger was still unhappy at the way his young side surrendered their seven-match winning run.

“We are still learning. You do not need to give a free-kick away on an offside in the last minute,” Wenger said.

“We were caught a bit naively on the second ball, that can happen sometimes on the first one that you lose the header, but on the second one, their player was completely free to score.

“We were largely in control, but as long as you are not two goals in front, that is the problem.

“You can score with just one kick from the goalkeeper into your box. That is just football.”

While Wenger, who turns 60 on Thursday, was frustrated with his side’s failure to close out the match, he was full of praise for the way Ronald Koeman’s team refused to accept defeat.

“You know that in the last five minutes of a Champions League match, anything can happen,” Wenger said.

“They have thrown everything forward and felt they could only score on a set-piece, and that is what happened.

“It is frustrating because we looked closer to scoring a second than conceding, but credit to them, they did fight well and went until the last minute.”

Wenger knows Arsenal had only themselves to blame for taking their foot off the gas after the break, but even then the Gunners could have had a penalty when substitute Carlos Vela was tripped on the edge of the area in the 83rd minute.

“To me, it looked like a penalty, but I would have to watch it again. The referee was even closer than I was,” Wenger said.

“But we are still in a strong position. We have three games left, two at home, and I believe to win one game will qualify us.

“What I want is for us to continue to play like we do, focus to play better.

“In football, you have to produce the maximum result with your game, and tonight that did not happen.”

AZ coach Koeman has managed to frustrate Wenger several times in the Champions League in recent years. After knocking out the Gunners during his time at PSV Eindhoven, Koeman moved to Ajax and earned two draws against Arsenal.

But this may have been his best achievement given his team’s relatively small squad and budget.

“We made some mistakes in the first half, like when we lost possession for the goal,” he said.

“Arsenal were controlling in the second half, but we kept our spirit.

“I made some changes to try to win the game. We could put some long, high balls, then fight for the second ball.

“We never lost the spirit. I am very happy about the result and the performance of the team.”

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Liverpool decide against Suarez appeal in race abuse ban

 Liverpool will not be appealing the eight-game ban for their Uruguay international striker Luis Suarez, the English Premier League club said Tuesday.

Suarez received the suspension and a $62,000 fine for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra in a match in October.
Their decision follows the weekend release by the English Football Association (FA) of the findings of its Independent Regulatory Commission.
A detailed 115-page report concluded that Suarez’s evidence was “unreliable” and “inconsistent”, revealing that he had called Evra a “negro” no fewer than seven times in a heated exchange.
Liverpool continued to defend Suarez in a lengthy statement on its official website, claiming the FA had constructed a “highly subjective” case against him, which was “ultimately unsubstantiated.”

Suarez, who joined Liverpool from Dutch side Ajax last season, also protested his innocence in a statement.

“Never, I repeat, never, have I had any racial problem with a team mate or individual who was of a different race or color to mine. Never,” it read.He added: “In my country, ‘negro’ is a word we use commonly, a word which doesn’t show any lack of respect and is even less so a form of racist abuse. Based on this, everything which has been said so far is totally false.”

Suarez’s ban will begin immediately, meaning he will miss Tuesday night’s clash against EPL leaders Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

“I do feel sorry for the fans and for my team mates whom I will not be able to help during the next month. It will be a very difficult time for me,” he said.
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish and his players wore Suarez t-shirts in the warm-up before their match
against Wigan last month, but ultimately the club decided not to prolong the affair.
FA: Suarez evidence ‘unreliable’
“It is time to put the Luis Suarez matter to rest and for all of us, going forward, to work together to stamp out racism in every form both inside and outside the sport,” the statement said.
His absence from the Liverpool line-up will be keenly felt during a critical period as they chase a Champions League place.
Suarez will also miss their League Cup semifinal tie against Manchester City as Dalglish bids to win his first silverware since taking charge last season.

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