- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 11, 2009

LONDON (AP) - Teenager Federico Macheda kept Manchester United’s title defense on track for the second straight week Saturday, scoring in the 76th minute after coming off the bench in a 2-1 victory at Sunderland in the Premier League.

United stayed in first place and is a point ahead of Liverpool, which routed Blackburn 4-0. United, with a game in hand, has 71 points. Liverpool is second with 70 and Chelsea, which edged Bolton 4-3 after leading 4-0, is third with 67.

Paul Scholes had put United ahead after 19 minutes, but the 34-year-old midfielder’s header was offset by Kenwyne Jones in the 55th. Macheda scored on his first touch after entering the game.

“He looks like a great goal scorer and hopefully there’s more to come,” said Scholes, who is twice Macheda’s age. “He’s a young lad and I’m sure the others will help to keep his feet on their ground.”

Last weekend, Macheda scored a late winner in the 17-year-old Italian’s debut to give United a 3-2 victory over Aston Villa.

Fernando Torres scored twice to help Liverpool to its fifth straight league win. Before the game at Anfield, a minute’s silence was held to mark the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough Stadium tragedy in which 96 Liverpool fans died.

Chelsea was 4-0 up after 63 minutes thanks to two goals from Didier Drogba, a penalty kick by Frank Lampard and Michael Ballack’s first league goal of the season. But Bolton scored three times in 11 minutes on goals by Andy O’Brien, Chris Basham and Matt Taylor.

Arsenal went nine points ahead of Aston Villa in the fourth Champions League spot after coming from behind to win 4-1 win at Wigan.

After Mido’s early goal, Arsenal stormed back after haftime with goals by Theo Walcott, Mikael Silvestre, Andrei Arshavin and Alex Song. Aston Villa hosts Everton on Sunday, when Fulham is at Manchester City.

Middlesbrough remains in the relegation zone despite beating Hull 3-1. The defeat left Hull four points above the drop zone _ along with Portsmouth, which drew 2-2 against last-place West Bromwich Albion.


MILAN (AP) _ Serie A leader Inter Milan squandered a two-goal lead at home to draw 2-2 with Palermo, and Lazio won 4-2 against neighbor AS Roma in a game in which three players were ejected.

Mario Balotelli and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored for Inter, with Edinson Cavani and Davide Succi replying for Palermo.

“Their goals came quickly and we didn’t have time to react,” Inter coach Jose Mourinho said. “They have a very good spirit, counterattacked well and put us in difficult situations.”

Juventus, in second place, was playing Genoa in the late match.

Inter has 73 points, Juventus 63 and AC Milan is third with 61.

AS Roma’s hopes of a Champions League place all but disappeared after the loss in the Rome derby. Goran Pandev gave Lazio the perfect start when he volleyed home Cristian Brocchi’s cross two minutes in. Roma barely had time to recover when Mauro Zarate then doubled the lead two minutes later, firing a long shot.

Philippe Mexes pulled a goal back for Roma in the 10th minute, and as halftime approached Aleksandar Kolarov cleared a shot from Matteo Brighi off the line. Stephan Lichtsteiner restored Lazio’s two-goal lead with a header in the 58th.

Then tempers frayed, with the ousters of Roma’s Christian Panucci and Mexes and Lazio’s Brazilian midfielder Matuzalem.

Daniele De Rossi scored late on to give Roma hope, but Kolarov then ran the length of the field to score Lazio’s fourth goal.

The result, combined with Fiorentina’s 2-1 win over Cagliari leaves Luciano Spalletti’s team six points off fourth place and a spot in the Champions League.


FRANKFURT (AP) _ Wolfsburg stayed atop the Bundesliga by winning 2-1 at Borussia Moenchengladbach for its ninth straight victory, and Bayern Munich beat Eintracht Frankfurt 4-0 to temporarily move into second place.

Bayern lost 5-1 at Wolfsburg last week and then crashed 4-0 at Barcelona in the Champions League quarterfinals, putting first-year coach Juergen Klinsmann under great pressure.

But Frankfurt never threatened as Bayern got back on track in the only competition where it can still win the title _ unless it pulls off a stunning upset Tuesday against Barcelona in the second leg of the quarterfinals.

Franck Ribery, Luca Toni and Lucio scored first-half goals for the defending champion, with Bastian Schweinsteiger finding the net after halftime.

Wolfsburg picked up a late goal from Sascha Riether to break the deadlock in Moenchengladbach and stay three points ahead. It has 54 points, three more than Bayern and Hamburger SV, which plays Sunday in Stuttgart.

Hertha Berlin lost 2-0 at Hannover to drop its third game in a row to fall to fourth with 49 points. Hoffenheim, the promoted provincial team that led the league at the halfway mark, lost 3-0 at home to VfL Bochum after having two players sent off to extend its winless streak to nine games. Stanislav Sestak scored all three goals for Bochum.


GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) _ Rangers closed the gap on Celtic to one point by beating Motherwell 3-1 as the Scottish leaders were held 1-1 by Hearts.

Andrius Velicka and Kris Boyd put Rangers ahead 2-0 in the first 10 minutes. After John Sutton scored for Motherwell, Boyd struck with his 28th goal of the season.

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink put Celtic up with less than 30 seconds gone. The Dutch striker volleyed home his third goal in eight days after Aiden McGeady’s cross had been half-cleared and Andreas Hinkel returned the ball into the Hearts penalty area.

Celtic was looking in good shape but Bruno Aguiar tied it in the 32nd minute, curling a free kick over the wall and into the corner of Artur Boruc’s net.

Aberdeen moved closer to third-place Hearts with a 1-0 victory over Inverness. Dundee United won 1-0 at Hamilton and Kilmarnock crushed Falkirk 3-0 to claim its first Scottish Premier League win in 2009.

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