Sun, February 01, 2009
Sports > Soccer

Ronaldo penalty helps Man Utd extend lead

2009-02-01 00:43:18 GMT2009-02-01 08:43:18 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo (R) celebrates after scoring during their English Premier League soccer match against Everton in Manchester, northern England, Jan. 31, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo (L) challenges Everton's Joleon Lescott (C) and Tim Howard (R) during their English Premier League soccer match in Manchester, northern England, Jan. 31, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Manchester United's Park Ji-Sung (top) is challenged by Everton's Leighton Baines during their English Premier League soccer match in Manchester, northern England, Jan. 31, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

LONDON, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Manchester United moved five points clear at the top of English Premier League as Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty kick gave them a 1-0 win over Everton at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Ronaldo scored in the 44th minute the only goal of the game, which saw United secure their record 12th successive clean sheet.

The champions' victory turned up the pressure on challengers Chelsea and Liverpool, joint second on 48 points with Aston Villa, who will meet at Anfield on Sunday.

Villa and Arsenal missed the chance to take closer order in the title race as both were held to goalless draws.

Villa could have moved into second place but they were unable to find a way beyond Wigan's defence. Arsene Wenger's side were increasingly frustrated as their draw with West Ham left them still five points away from a top-four finish.

Ten-men Stoke City lifted themselves out of the drop zone after beating Manchester City 1-0 thanks to James Beattie's header while a late winner from Kevin Davies gifted Bolton a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

Fulham increased Portsmouth's woes with a 3-1 victory at Craven Cottage, Hull and West Brom shared the points in a 2-2 tie at the KC Stadium and Middlesbrough's home meeting with Blackburn ended in a third 0-0 stalemate of a busy afternoon.

Everton held United at bay until one minute from half-time when Mikel Arteta brought down Michael Carrick on the edge of the box and Ronaldo stroke home the penalty.

Sir Alex Ferguson's men could have scored earlier but the post came to Everton's rescue on 26 minutes as Ronaldo's toe-poke came back off the upright and Carlos Tevez was offside as he tried to tuck home the rebound.

In the record-breaking game, United keeper Edwin van der Sar eclipsed the previous league record of 1,104 minutes without conceding a goal, which had stood for 30 years.

Arsenal's Champions League hopes suffered a dent while West Ham stretched their unbeaten run to eight games.

Neither side managed a chance on target in a dire first half dominated by Arsenal.

After the break Arsenal were all over West Ham but Emmanuel Adebayor wasted the game's two best chances with a shot wide and header straight at the keeper.

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