Down to the wire after leaders win
Chelsea and Manchester United held their nerve on Sunday to ensure the Premier League title race will go down to the wire.sports Updated: May 03, 2010 01:10 IST
Chelsea and Manchester United held their nerve on Sunday to ensure the Premier League title race will go down to the wire.
United beat Sunderland 1-0 just hours after leaders Chelsea defeated Liverpool 2-0 leaving the defending champions to head into the final match a point behind Carlo Ancelotti's side.
Chelsea can win the title for the first time since 2006 if they beat Wigan at home on Sunday.
But United will retain the crown, and claim a record 19th title, if the Blues drop points and Ferguson's men beat Stoke.
At Anfield, Ancelotti's side enjoyed an easy ride thanks to Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard, whose poor back-pass allowed Didier Drogba to open the scoring in the first half before Frank Lampard struck after the interval.
Drogba said: “He (Gerrard) made a big mistake. I was lucky to be there and score. It was good because this goal gave us a lot of confidence to play well.”
Under no real pressure in midfield, Gerrard turned towards his own goal and played a back-pass that Drogba gratefully seized before rounding Jose Reina and slotting into the empty net for his 33rd goal of the season.
Ancelotti's side took total control after that and Lampard increased their lead in the 54th minute when he slid in to convert Nicolas Anelka's low cross.
At the Stadium of Light, United were in control and Ryan Giggs hit the woodwork before Portugal winger Nani put the champions ahead in the 28th minute with a fine curling strike from Darren Fletcher's pass.
United, who had Wayne Rooney back after a groin injury, wasted several chances to increase their lead but were able to close out the win with ease.
Elsewhere, Fulham clinched a 3-2 win over West Ham at Craven Cottage.
Roy Hodgson's side, who face Atletico Madrid in the final after beating Hamburg in Thursday's semifinal, took the lead through Clint Dempsey on the stroke of half-time. Carlton Cole's own goal increased Fulham's lead in the 58th minute before West Ham striker Cole reduced the deficit moments later.
Stefano Okaka netted for Fulham in the 79th and Guillermo Franco's goal was little consolation.