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Ronaldo sent off as Man Utd held again
Mitch Phillips | August 16, 2007 07:04 IST
Champions Manchester United stumbled to their second successive Premier League draw on Wednesday when they were held 1-1 at Portsmouth and had Cristiano Ronaldo [Images] sent off for violent conduct.
Chelsea hit back in the second half to beat Reading 2-1, Manchester City, with their first home goal since January 1, beat Derby County 1-0, Fulham beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1, Wigan Athletic beat Middlesbrough 1-0 and Sunderland snatched a last-minute equaliser to draw 2-2 at Birmingham City.
Carlos Tevez marked his Manchester United debut by setting up Paul Scholes to drive in the opening goal at Portsmouth after 15 minutes.
United produced some lovely football but Portsmouth, who had beaten them in three of their four previous Premier League meetings at Fratton Park, stunned the champions with a 53rd-minute Benjani Mwaruwari header.
Portsmouth's Sulley Muntari was sent off in the 83rd minute for a second booking and Ronaldo followed him two minutes later for a headbutt with barely any contact made.
"I've looked at the replays and there's nothing conclusive. My take was that he was provoked," United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports. "He's fallen into the trap and he's paid the penalty...it's his own fault really.
"It was a disappointing result but not a disappointing performance," he added.
"There was a great contribution from Carlos Tevez, even though he had to endure a lot of tackles from behind, a lot of abuse, and he came through that."
Ronaldo will miss three games, including Sunday's derby against resurgent Manchester City.
Sven-Goran Eriksson's City followed up their impressive opening 2-0 success at West Ham United by beating promoted Derby with a well-taken goal by 19-year-old Michael Johnson.
That 43rd-minute effort brought to an end the longest home top-flight drought since the league was founded in 1888.
Reading earned a point from a goalless draw at Old Trafford last Sunday but on home soil had a real go at Chelsea.
They took the lead on the half hour through Andre Bikey after goalkeeper Petr Cech had failed to gather a high ball but paid a heavy price for missing further chances.
Jose Mourinho made two changes at halftime and it paid immediate dividends as Chelsea equalised with a typical surging charge from Frank Lampard [Images] in the 47th minute and secured their second successive win with a nicely-curled effort by Didier Drogba two minutes later.
"At halftime we were a little disappointed just to be 1-0 up," said Reading coach Steve Coppell.
"I knew they would make changes at halftime, it gave a different complexion to their play and for five minutes we fell asleep."