Manchester City cut Manchester United’s Premier League lead to four points by beating Fulham 2-0 on Saturday thanks to a brace of goals from Spanish midfielder David Silva.
United were not in action until yesterday when they were due to visit Tottenham Hotspur and defending champions City took advantage to breathe fresh impetus into their title defense.
Silva broke the deadlock after just 96 seconds at the Etihad Stadium, slamming home from close range after Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer parried a long-range shot from Edin Dzeko.
Steve Sidwell hit the post for the visitors in the 31st minute and City lost Pablo Zabaleta to injury before Silva added a second with 21 minutes left, gathering a Carlos Tevez flick and beating Schwarzer with a dinked finish.
“All we can do is win our games,” City assistant manager David Platt said. “We have got 15 left and Man United have got 16 left, and I am sure both teams will drop points between now and the end of the season. We have to make sure we keep getting victories so if United do slip up, we are in a position to take advantage of that.”
Meanwhile, Luis Suarez’s burgeoning partnership with new Liverpool teammate Daniel Sturridge caught the eye as the Reds routed Norwich City 5-0 at Anfield to close to within three points of the European places.
Jordan Henderson broke the deadlock with a 26th-minute half-volley, before home debutant Sturridge’s clever dummy freed Suarez to beat Mark Bunn for his seventh goal in three games against the Canaries.
Sturridge tapped in his third goal in three games for his new club in the 59th minute, with Steven Gerrard getting in on the act from long range, before Norwich’s Ryan Bennett put through his own goal in the 74th minute.
“We have played well for most of the season, but Daniel coming in adds that extra threat,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said. “He has pace and power, and he has got good touch and good skills.”
Aston Villa climbed out of the relegation zone despite letting a two-goal lead slip in a 2-2 draw at local rivals West Bromwich Albion.
Fine goals from Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor put Paul Lambert’s men 2-0 ahead at the break, but Chris Brunt replied early in the second half, before Peter Odemwingie lashed home an 83rd-minute equalizer.
Villa’s draw meant Reading remained in the relegation zone despite seeing Adam Le Fondre score twice in six minutes as they came from behind once again to win 2-1 at Newcastle United.
Yohan Cabaye’s picture-perfect free-kick put Newcastle in front 10 minutes prior to the interval, but Le Fondre equalized 65 seconds after coming on as a 70th-minute substitute and then curled in a 77th-minute winner.
“The win can be a massive springboard for us,” Le Fondre said. “We’ve done well since Boxing Day and now we’ve transformed it into a win away from home.”
It was Reading’s second improbable comeback in two games following their dramatic 3-2 success over West Brom the previous weekend and it meant Newcastle remain two points above the bottom three.
Joe Cole scored the first goal of his second spell at West Ham United to prevent former manager Harry Redknapp enjoying a victory on his return to Upton Park with Queens Park Rangers.
New signing Loic Remy marked his QPR debut with a coolly taken 14th-minute goal, but Cole gave West Ham a share of the spoils when he converted from close range in the 68th minute after Julio Cesar saved from Carlton Cole.
Sunderland continued their recent revival by coming back from a goal down to win 3-2 at Wigan Athletic, who slipped into the drop zone.
David Vaughan’s own-goal gave Wigan a fourth-minute lead, but the visitors stormed back through a Craig Gardner penalty and a Steven Fletcher brace, before on-loan Manchester United forward Angelo Henriquez hit back for Wigan.
Swansea City warmed up for the second leg of their League Cup semi-final with Chelsea by beating Stoke City 3-1 at the Liberty Stadium.
Teenage defender Ben Davies, 19, scored his first senior goal to open the scoring early in the second half, with Jonathan de Guzman adding a classy brace, before Michael Owen replied for Stoke to claim his 150th Premier League goal.
Uncertainty grips next year’s postponed Tokyo Olympic Games: Will there be fans or empty stadiums in 14 months? How will thousands of athletes, staff members and technical officials travel, be housed and stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic? And the Tokyo Games are not the only event. China, where COVID-19 was first detected, is to hold three mega-sports events in the year after the Tokyo Olympics are set to close. The World University Games in Chengdu, China, are to open, with up to 8,000 athletes, only 10 days after the Tokyo Games close. Next come the Beijing Winter Olympics beginning on Feb. 4, 2022,
PANDEMIC HYGIENE: Players had their temperatures checked, carried their own equipment and towels, and tapped rackets to congratulate the match winners Alison Riske and Danielle Collins of the US and Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic were among the winners on Friday, the opening day of a women’s tennis mini-tournament in Florida that offered professional players an opportunity to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The WTA women’s tennis tour canceled four more events this week and is not to resume until at least July 20. However, four women ranked in the top 60 in the world turned out for the UTR Pro Match Series event in Palm Beach, which followed a similar event for men two weeks ago. World No. 51 Collins toppled 28th-ranked compatriot Amanda Anisimova
The Rakuten Monkeys remained atop the CPBL table, despite a 5-7 loss to the Uni-President Lions in Taoyuan yesterday, while the CTBC Brothers fell to the Fubon Guardians at the Taichung Intercontinental Stadium. The visiting Guardians blasted three home runs in their 7-3 triumph, helping Dominican pitcher Henry Sosa pocket his second win of the season. Improving his record to 2-2, Sosa sailed through seven innings, allowing six hits while striking out five. He gave up one earned run in the opening frame, with two Brothers relievers mopping up the final two innings. Fubon’s marquee stars, designated hitter Hu Chin-lung and first baseman
Georgian tennis star Nikoloz Basilashvili, ranked 27th in the world, was on Sunday charged with physically assaulting his ex-wife, prosecutors said. A court in Tbilisi charged Basilashvili with perpetrating “violence against a family member committed in the presence of a minor,” before releasing him on US$30,000 bail, prosecutor Natia Guruli said. He faces up to three years in prison if found guilty. Basilashvili’s ex-wife, Neka Dorokashvili, on Sunday told Mtavari TV that Basilashvili “physically assaulted” her on Friday in the presence of their five-year-old son. Basilashvili denied the charges, his lawyer Irma Chkadua said. The 28-year-old won his second ATP Tour title at the China