Thu, Dec 30, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Red Devils shut out Aston Villa


Ryan Giggs scored just before halftime as Manchester United beat Aston Villa 1-0 Tuesday to move into third place in the Premier League -- nine points behind leader Chelsea.

Giggs scored after exchanging passes with John O'Shea to give Manchester United the victory at Villa Park. Earlier, Arjen Robben and Joe Cole scored a goal each in the last 11 minutes to give Chelsea a 2-0 win over Portsmouth.

Idle Arsenal stayed in second place -- only one point ahead of United -- after Charlton beat Everton 2-0, ending the Merseyside club's eight-match unbeaten run.

Manchester United has 22 points from its last eight matches. The only game it didn't win was a 1-1 draw with Fulham on Dec. 13.

"We're climbing up the table but it's getting to Chelsea that is the problem," Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said. "We're on a great run and we hope they stumble and we can keep our consistency going. All we can do is keep our form and we'll get our rewards."

It was the second time in three days Giggs helped the Reds. He scored one and set up another for substitute Paul Scholes when Manchester United downed Bolton at Old Trafford 2-0 on Sunday.

"We're in good form, we're confident we can get a result anywhere and if teams above us slip up we've got to be there to capitalize," Giggs said. "Hopefully they'll slip up and we'll be there to pounce. There's a long way to go but we've got to carry on doing what we're doing."

Chelsea leads the league with 49 points, followed by Arsenal with 41 and Manchester United and Everton with 40 points. Middlesbrough has 35 points and Liverpool has 34.

In a game overshadowed by deaths of thousands throughout Southeast Asia because of earthquakes and tidal waves, a capacity crowd of more than 80,000 packed Jakarta's Bung Karno Stadium on Tuesday to see Liew Kit Kong score a goal in each half and rally Malaysia to a 2-1 victory against Indonesia in the first leg of their semifinal.

All the players wore black armbands, and the crowd observed a moment of silence before kickoff to pray for the approximately 44,000 killed in the region and the east coast of Africa from Sunday's magnitude 9.0-earthquake off the coast of Indonesia and subsquent tidal waves.

Approximately 19,000 have died in Indonesia and 65 in Malaysia.

Liew scored in the 27th and 51st minutes to put Malaysia in position to advance to the final.

Malaysia, which has been beaten in the semifinals the past two times in the Tiger Cup, will stage the second leg Saturday in Kuala Lumpur.

Myanmar will play Singapore on Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur in the first leg of their semifinal series.

Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto gave Indonesia the lead, heading home a long cross from the left flank by Elie Aiboy.

Indonesia, which has finished runner-up to Thailand the past two tournaments, dominated possession throughout the match, but failed to thwart Malaysia's counter in the 27th minute, when Liew finished by heading in a left-flank cross.

Silvio Berlusconi resigned as president of AC Milan on Tuesday to conform with Italian laws that prohibit the country's premier from running private enterprises while in office.

Berlusconi took control of Milan in 1986 and made it one of the best soccer clubs in Europe. The team won four European Cups and seven Italian league titles under his guidance.

Berlusconi will likely remain owner of the club.

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