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Rediff.com  » Sports » Spurs edge closer to Champions League qualifiers

Spurs edge closer to Champions League qualifiers

April 09, 2006 09:02 IST

Midfielder Michael Carrick guided Tottenham Hotspur to a 2-1 victory over Manchester City that tightened their grip on a place in the Champions League qualifiers on Saturday.

Canadian defender Paul Stalteri put the hosts in front a minute before halftime at White Hart Lane and Carrick made it 2-0 before Greek forward Georgios Samaras pulled one back for City in the 52nd minute.

Down at the wrong end of the table, Portsmouth snatched a 2-2 draw with Blackburn Rovers, now fifth, while fellow relegation battlers Birmingham City drew 1-1 at Wigan Athletic.

Charlton Athletic were held to a 0-0 home draw by Everton and snow denied Fulham a likely first away win of the season at Sunderland. U.S. striker Brian McBride put Fulham ahead before referee Mike Riley called the game off after 21 minutes.

Victory for Spurs strengthened their hold on fourth place, England's second slot in the final Champions League qualifying round, by moving them on to 58 points from 33 games.

Blackburn, on 54 points from 33 games, may yet rue the points dropped at Fratton Park because they have now played two games more than Arsenal, who have 53 points and face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Having inflicted a fifth consecutive league defeat on Manchester City, Spurs manager Martin Jol played down the pressure on his side in the Champions League race.

"If Arsenal win all their games then maybe we could have a problem," he told Sky Sports.

"But we don't focus on other teams, we will see what we do between now and the end of the season.

SPURS CHANCE

"Everybody who is below us would like to swap with us. The next game is against Everton and all games are finals for us, but if we put in the same effort again as we did today we are in with a good chance."

City manager Stuart Pearce said: "I think the one thing missing from us at the moment is confidence -- and when that goes people make elementary mistakes. I think that's costing us at the moment. But I can't fault their effort."

Charlton and Everton remain mid-table and Portsmouth edged closer to survival after their Bulgarian substitute Svetoslav Todorov headed a 78th minute equaliser.

Pompey manager Harry Redknapp, whose team had won their previous three games, said: "We showed character and we came back twice. A couple of months ago, if we went one down it was game over.

"If we continue to play as well as that, we'll certainly win more than we'll lose between now and the end of the season."

Three clubs are battling for one place in the Premier League next season.

Sunderland's cause is all but hopeless on 11 points but a dogfight looms between West Bromwich Albion (27 points), Portsmouth (28) and Birmingham (29), who are a point clear of the drop zone but have a played a game more.

Champions Chelsea play fellow Londoners West Ham United in one of Sunday's three derbies, with Aston Villa hosting West Brom in the Midlands and Newcastle United at Middlesbrough in the northeast.

Source:
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