United pull clear as Chelsea draw epicMarch 20th, 2008 - 1:44 pm ICT by admin
London, March 20 (DPA) Manchester United beat Bolton Wanderers 2-0 to open up a three-point lead at the top of the table in the Premiership football. Chelsea’s title challenge was checked, though, as they were held to a 4-4 draw by Tottenham in a thriller at White Hart Lane Wednesday.
United lost to Bolton at the Reebok earlier in the season but, despite fielding a weakened line-up, with Rio Ferdinand injured, Wayne Rooney rested and Owen Hargreaves slotting in at right-back, there was never any danger of a repeat.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side took an eighth-minute lead through Cristiano Ronaldo, and United were never in trouble.
Ronaldo’s strike, scuffing in the loose ball as a corner was only half-cleared, took him to 32 for the season, level with the record George Best set 40 years ago for a United midfielder.
He surpassed that tally 11 minutes later, crashing a swerving free kick past Bolton’s Qatari goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.
United eased off in the second half, and El Hadji Diouf was unfortunate to have a free-kick ruled out because the referee Alan Wiley hadn’t blown his whistle to allow play to restart.
The defeat leaves Bolton without a win in seven, and two points from safety in the third relegation slot.
Chelsea missed the chance to pull level with Arsenal in second, as they threw away a 3-1 lead to draw 4-4 at Tottenham.
Didier Drogba gave them a third-minute lead, heading home John Terry’s cross after his own free kick had been blocked by the wall.
Jonathan Woodgate, who had got the winning in that Carling Cup final, levelled nine minutes later, heading in a Jermaine Jenas free kick, but Michael Essien restored Chelsea’s lead on 20 minutes as he made the most of an astute Joe Cole through-ball.
Cole then added a third after skipping by Pascal Chimbonda, but Dimitar Berbatov looped in a header to make it 3-2.
Only a brilliant save from Chelsea keeper Carlo Cudicini denied Robbie Keane an equaliser, then Essien hit the post, before Tom Huddlestone did level things with a stunning strike as Chelsea failed to clear a corner.
But four minutes later, Chelsea regained the lead as Joe Cole again beat Chimbonda before lashing his shot into the top corner.
Still the drama wasn’t over, though, as Robbie Keane curled an 88th-minute equaliser.
The draw leaves Chelsea five points behind United at the top of the table.
Chelsea host Arsenal on Sunday while Manchester United are at home to Liverpool.
Tags: alan wiley, alex ferguson, ali al habsi, bolton wanderers, carlo cudicini, cristiano ronaldo, didier drogba, dimitar berbatov, el hadji diouf, jermaine jenas, joe cole, jonathan woodgate, owen hargreaves, pascal chimbonda, premiership roundup, robbie keane, sir alex ferguson, title challenge, wayne rooney, white hart lane