Tue, May 02, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Tottenham targets Champions berth

EUROPEAN FOOTBALL The Spurs beat the Wanderers, and a victory over the Hammers next Sunday puts them in position for a Champions League spot next season

AP , LONDON

Aaron Lennon fired Tottenham closer to a place in next season's Champions League in a 1-0 victory over Bolton on Sunday.

The victory put fourth-place Spurs seven points ahead of Arsenal and, although the Gunners have two games in hand on their north London neighbors, Spurs will guarantee fourth spot by winning their final Premier League match at West Ham next Sunday.

The biggest danger to Spurs seems to be an Arsenal triumph over Barcelona in the Champions League final in Paris on May 17. If the Gunners win the title, they will return next season as defending champion and that means only the top three in the Premier League -- Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool -- will join them.

After Bolton had dominated the first half at White Hart Lane, Lennon went close to giving Spurs the lead early in the second with a weaving run followed by a shot which sailed over the bar. Five minutes later, he hit the target.

The winger, who is being touted for a place on England's World Cup squad, cut in from the right and offloaded to Michael Carrick, whose run appeared to be taking the ball away from the danger zone until he crossed low into the area.

Lennon took the pass and darted through a gap in the Bolton defense before scoring with a diagonal shot inside the far post to give Spurs a 60th minute lead.

Arsenal will try and cut the gap to four points by winning at last-place Sunderland on Monday, when Manchester United hosts Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion hosts West Ham.

Chelsea made sure of its second title in a row by beating second-place Manchester United 3-0 on Saturday. The match was marred by Wayne Rooney breaking a bone in his right foot and putting him out of action until at least the start of the World Cup.

The Blues' 29th victory of the season gave Jose Mourinho's team 91 points and put it out of reach of United and third-place Liverpool, who each have 79.

Liverpool beat Aston Villa 3-1 to put pressure on United for the runner-up spot.

Birmingham and West Brom were relegated after Portsmouth won 2-1 at Wigan to guarantee safety.

Birmingham was held 0-0 by Newcastle, Fulham won 2-1 at Manchester City and Everton won 1-0 at UEFA Cup finalist Middlesbrough.

Blackburn won 2-0 at Charlton, whose manager Alan Curbishley decided to leave the club at the end of the season after 15 years in charge.

Hearts scored twice in the first nine minutes and moved closer to a place in next season's Champions League with a 3-0 victory over Celtic.

The victory at Tynecastle gives Hearts a four-point advantage over third-place Rangers with only two games to go. Second place means a spot in next season's Champions League and the team that finishes third goes into the UEFA Cup.

Celtic has already won the title and, despite the loss, leads by 16 points.

Hearts had the ideal start when Celtic midfielder Stephen McManus headed Paul Hartley's free kick into his own net in the seventh minute.

Hartley added the second goal two minutes later with a curling, 25m free kick after Celtic defender Stanislav Varga had fouled Roman Bednar.

Hartley set up the third in the 63rd minute with a through ball to Bednar, who shot home from the edge of the area.

Ruben Baraja, Pablo Aimar and David Villa all scored to give Valencia a 3-0 win over Alaves, delaying FC Barcelona's league title celebrations a little longer.

This story has been viewed 2133 times.
TOP top