Manchester United getting close to Premier league title

LONDON: Manchester United moved to within touching distance of a third consecutive Premier League title after staging a stunning second-half rally to beat Tottenham 5-2 on Saturday.

Trailing 2-0 at the interval, the champions built on a controversial penalty decision to floor Spurs and reclaim a three-point lead over Liverpool, who had kept up the pressure with a 3-1 win at Hull earlier in the day.

With the added advantage of a game in hand, United now know that, even if their closest rivals win all their remaining matches, ten points from their final five games will be enough to equal Liverpool''s record of 18 English league titles.

United looked unstoppable by the end but their comeback was launched by a hotly-debated penalty, Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes having got his fingers to the ball before his dive floored Michael Carrick.

Cristiano Ronaldo converted the resulting spot-kick and United added another three in the space of 15 minutes.

Rooney fired in an equaliser that Gomes might have saved then delivered the cross which saw Ronaldo claim his second with a diving header. Rooney then claimed his second before Dimitar Berbatov bundled in the fifth against his former club.

Liverpool had done their job with a comfortable win at Hull, courtesy of Xabi Alonso''s first-half strike and a second-half double from Dirk Kuyt on his 100th Premier League appearance.

Chelsea left big guns Michael Essien, Michael Ballack and Didier Drogba on the bench for their trip to West Ham with one eye on Tuesday''s trip to Barcelona for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.

Salomon Kalou''s 55th-minute strike gave Guus Hiddink''s men the lead but the Ivory Coast striker blotted his copybook by pulling down Herita Ilunga in the box to hand West Ham the opportunity to equalise.

Mark Noble''s spot-kick was directed firmly towards the corner but Cech threw himself to his left to touch it round the post.

Manchester City gave their chances of securing a European place for next season a boost with a 2-1 win at Everton.

Goals from Robinho and midfielder Stephen Ireland gave Mark Hughes''s side only their second away win of the campaign and lifted them into within three points of seventh place and a place in next season''s Europa League, the successor to the UEFA Cup. Dan Gosling scored a late consolation effort for Everton.

Fulham leapfrogged West Ham into seventh place after leaving Stoke City sweating over their top flight status with a 1-0 win at Craven Cottage.