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4. EUROPEAN RACES: United breaks into clear
by Paul Kennedy, April 30th, 2007 7:14AM

TAGS:  england, germany, spain


Manchester United broke into the clear in the English Premier League race Saturday when it rallied from two goals down to beat Everton, 4-2, while second-place Chelsea could only tie Bolton Wanderers, 2-2, at home. The results left United five points ahead with three games to play for both teams, including a makeup game May 9 at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge.

An EPL rule that prevented American keeper Tim Howard from playing for Everton had a role in the outcome. Although there's a $6 million transfer agreement in place for Howard to move to Everton, he is technically still on loan and was ineligible to play against his old club.

Backup Iain Turner played in goal and made a horrible error that turned the game around. Everton led, 2-0, when Turner dropped a corner kick, allowing John O'Shea to put away the easiest of goals -- the first of four goals in the last half hour of a miracle United comeback.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson preferred to thank Bolton and its manager, Sam Allardyce, for the 2-2 tie at Stamford Bridge that cost Chelsea two points.

"I'll be giving him a hug and a kiss," Ferguson joked. "Maybe two kisses."

The day of suspense took a further twist later in the evening when Allardyce announced his resignation after almost eight years at Bolton, a decision he described as "one of the hardest decisions in my life." He was rumored to be set to take over next season as Manchester City manager.

Premier League Race (3 games to play):
1. Manchester United 85 points;
2. Chelsea 80.

Samuel Eto'o
's goal gave Barcelona a 1-0 win over lowly Levante at the Camp Nou on Sunday to remain in first place in La Liga.

Sevilla and Real Madrid were far more convincing than Barca, whose nervous play had its fans on edge all game. Goalie Victor Valdes came up big with a save on Luis Rubiales, and Olivier Kapo failed to convert for Levante on a loose ball in stoppage time.

Sevilla defeated Espanyol, 3-1, with goals by Antonio Puerta, Ernesto Chevanton and Jose Luis Marti all coming in the second half.

Real Madrid won, 4-1, at Athletic Bilbao. David Beckham set up Sergio Ramos for the first goal, and Ruud van Nistelrooy contributed two goals.

La Liga Race (6 games to play):
1. Barcelona 62 points;
2. Sevilla 61;
3. Real Madrid 60.

Two days after leader Schalke 04 lost to lowly Bochum, 2-1, Werder Bremen blew a chance to take over the Bundesliga lead when it lost to Armenia Bielefeld, 3-2.

Bielefeld went ahead three times in a high-pace thriller with plenty of chances at both ends. Heiko Westermann, Jonas Kamper and Christian Eigler scored for Bielefeld with Eigler's winner coming in the 79th minute when he jumped to his feet and scored after colliding with keeper Andreas Reinke and Werder defender Naldo.

VfB Stuttgart moved into second place one point behind Schalke 04 with a 1-0 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach on Roberto Hilbert's goal. It was the fifth successive Bundesliga win for Stuttgart.

Schalke looked to be in control at Bochum when Germany striker Kevin Kuranyi put it ahead in the ninth minute, but Bochum rallied with goals by Zvjezdan Misimovic and Theofanis Gekas (his 19th of the season) before the break.

Bundesliga Race (3 games to play):
1. Schalke 04 62 points;
2. VfB Stuttgart 61;
3. Werder Bremen 60.

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