Ronaldo and Rooney help United cut gap on Arsenal

February 24th, 2008 - 4:23 pm ICT by admin  

London, Feb 24 (DPA) Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo both scored twice as Manchester United closed to within three points of Arsenal at the top of the English Premier League (EPL) with a 5-1 win at Newcastle United. Arsenal endured a doubly bad Saturday as they were held to a 2-2 draw at Birmingham City, with striker Eduardo breaking his leg after a tackle that manager Arsene Wenger called “horrendous”.

Fernando Torres scored his first Premier League hat-trick as Liverpool beat Middlesbrough 3-2 to move up to fourth, while Portsmouth, West Ham United and Wigan Athletic also claimed victories.

The home side actually began well but Ronaldo set up Rooney for a simple finish on 25 minutes and the Portugal forward doubled the lead a minute before half-time.

With Newcastle’s defence all over the place, Ronaldo rounded the goalkeeper for the third (55) and though Abdoulaye Faye bundled in a goal for the Magpies (77), Rooney curled in a superb fourth (79) and Louis Saha scored a fifth in injury time.

The injury to Eduardo marred the match at the Emirates Stadium as he broke his leg in a horrific incident after just two minutes of action at St Andrews.

The Brazilian-born Croatia forward went down under a challenge from Martin Taylor, who was sent off.

Eduardo received oxygen as he was taken off the field on a stretcher, having had eight minutes of treatment on the pitch.

The injury was so bad that many of the players turned away in shock, while Sky Television refused to show replays during the rest of the first half.

Eduardo, who was the second-top scorer in the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign for Croatia, was taken to the nearby Selly Oak Hospital.

He will almost certainly miss the finals of Euro in Austria and Switzerland later this year and Arsenal manager Wenger was in disgusted mood afterwards.

The injury shocked Arsenal and a great free-kick from McFadden put c10-man Birmingham ahead on 26 minutes, a lead they held to half-time.

Arsenal came out firing on all cylinders after the break, though, and Walcott levelled the scores on 49 minutes with his first Premier League goal. -Five minutes later, the striker made it 2-1, capitalising on a defensive mistake, running at the Birmingham defence and then slotting in a fine left-foot strike.

But Birmingham refused to give in and Gael Clichy gave away a stupid penalty in the 94th minute, having not noticed the lurking Stuart Parnaby.

McFadden stepped up to smash in the penalty, sealing the draw, with Arsenal captain William Gallas showing his disgust by remaining on the pitch for several minutes after the match.

City manager Alex McLeish said that he did not think that his side could come back after Arsenal had scored twice.

He also said that Taylor was shocked by Eduardo’s injury. “Martin Taylor is distraught about the injury. He is not that type of player and it is not in his make-up to inflict those kind of injuries.”

At Anfield, Middlesbrough took a shock lead when Tuncay broke the off-side trap to head the opener after nine minutes.

But two goals in two minutes put Liverpool ahead as Torres took advantage of a defensive error for the first and then curled in a superb second to make it 2-1 at half-time.

Torres then made it 3-1 on the hour mark and though Stewart Downing’s 83rd-minute goal caused them some anxious moments they hung on to go above Everton on goal difference in fourth.

Paul Scharner and Antonio Valencia scored the goals as Wigan moved out of the bottom three with a 2-0 win over bottom side Derby County.

Jermain Defoe’s second-half penalty gave Portsmouth a 1-0 win over
Sunderland, moving them up to sixth and leaving Roy Keane’s side having lost 10 straight away games in the league.

And Nolberto Solano’s late goal gave West Ham a 1-0 win at second-from-bottom Fulham, who are now four points away from safety.

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