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Rediff.com  » Sports » Macheda is Man Utd hero again with late winner

Macheda is Man Utd hero again with late winner

Last updated on: April 12, 2009 09:41 IST

Federico Macheda saved Manchester United for the second week running on Saturday. The 17-year-old Italian got the decider in a 2-1 win at Sunderland with his first touch seconds after coming on.

Macheda, whose brilliant debut goal in stoppage time secured a 3-2 win over Aston Villa last weekend, made another enormous contribution to the Premier League title race in the 76th minute after Kenwyne Jones had cancelled out Paul Scholes's opener.

Liverpool had earlier piled on the pressure with a 4-0 home win over Blackburn Rovers, helped by two from Fernando Torres, and Chelsea also led Bolton Wanderers 4-0 but ended up hanging on for a 4-3 win.

United, who have a game in hand on the chasing pack, remain top on 71 points with Liverpool second on 70. Chelsea are third on 67 with Arsenal fourth on 61 after they came from behind to win 4-1 at Wigan Athletic.

Newcastle United secured their first point under temporary boss Alan Shearer with a 1-1 draw at Stoke City while Middlesbrough claimed only their second win in 20 league games by beating Hull City 3-1.

Both north-east clubs remain in the relegation zone, however, with six games remaining.

Manchester United, who had lost to Liverpool and Fulham before their late recovery against Villa, were below their best again despite leading through Scholes's early glancing header.

FRAGILE DEFENCE

Sunderland sensed the defensive uncertainty and got the equaliser their efforts deserved 10 minutes after halftime.

United hit back though as Macheda, on for Dimitar Berbatov, stuck out a foot to divert a Michael Carrick shot into the net.

"As soon as the ball came to him he opened his foot on it and that's the instinct of a striker," manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports.

"He's got an eye for goal, he's got a change of pace. He involved himself today, he wasn't shy about being involved with such good players all around him," he said of the young striker signed from Lazio as a 15-year-old.

Chelsea, fresh from their 3-1 Champions League win at Liverpool, were on fire again at Stamford Bridge as Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba with two and a Frank Lampard penalty seemed to have settled the game after an hour.

However, their defence then crumbled under the weight of an aerial bombardment, conceded three goals in nine minutes to Andy O'Brien, Chris Basham and Matt Taylor and ended the game desperately keeping out a series of Bolton corners.

"We got rather sloppy all over the pitch and let them have three goals, that's impossible at this level," Hiddink said.

"We were not defending well, in midfield and up front - it's a good lesson."

Liverpool had a stroll in the spring sunshine on an emotional day at Anfield where next Wednesday's 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster was marked with a minute's silence.

The hosts took the lead spectacularly after five minutes when Torres chested down a long ball before hooking in a fierce shot and the Spaniard headed the second in the 33rd.

A 25-metre drive by Daniel Agger and a David Ngog header late on completed the easy win.

Fifth-placed Aston Villa host Everton, sixth, on Sunday.

Mitch Phillips
Source:
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