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United survive scare to extend lead at summit

Published: Tuesday 25 January 2011, 23.46CET
Manchester United FC came from 2-0 down to preserve their unbeaten Premier League record this season on a night of cup joy for Arsenal FC, FC Schalke 04 and US Città di Palermo.
United survive scare to extend lead at summit
Dimitar Berbatov celebrates after completing Manchester United's comeback ©Getty Images

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Published: Tuesday 25 January 2011, 23.46CET

United survive scare to extend lead at summit

Manchester United FC came from 2-0 down to preserve their unbeaten Premier League record this season on a night of cup joy for Arsenal FC, FC Schalke 04 and US Città di Palermo.

Manchester United FC, unbeaten in the league this season, mounted an imperious second-half comeback to beat Blackpool FC 3-2 and go five points clear of Arsenal FC at the summit.

Promoted Blackpool made a blistering start and were 2-0 up by half-time. Charlie Adam corners were turned in by former United youngster Craig Cathcart and DJ Campbell on 15 and 43 minutes, with the latter going close inbetween. Luke Varney was also denied, while Edwin van der Sar had to be alert after Nemanja Vidić inadvertently diverted the ball towards his own goal.

The second half was a different story, though. Dimitar Berbatov bundled in Darren Fletcher's cross from close range on 72 minutes and substitute Javier Hernández finished clinically soon after to level matters. Berbatov completed the turnaround two minutes from time with his 19th league goal this term.

While Aston Villa FC beat Wigan Athletic FC 2-1 in the day's other league game, Arsenal made it through to the League Cup final. One down to second-tier Ipswich Town FC after the first leg of their last-four tie, goals from Nicklas Bendtner, Laurent Koscielny and Cesc Fàbregas booked a showpiece meeting against West Ham United FC or Birmingham City FC on 27 February.

In the German Cup quarter-finals, meanwhile, FC Schalke 04 progressed courtesy of 17-year-old Julian Draxler's winner in the penultimate minute of extra time. Visitors 1. FC Nürnberg led twice through Julian Schieber, but were pegged back on both occasions by Mario Gavranović and Ivan Rakitić. With penalties looming, Draxler unleashed a fearsome strike into the top corner just moments after coming off the bench.

Nothing could separate US Città di Palermo and Parma FC in the Coppa Italia, however. After 120 minutes of their last-eight meeting it was still goalless but Palermo prevailed 5-4 in the ensuing penalty shoot-out, Daniel Jara Martínez converting the decisive spot kick in sudden death. The Rosanero will face the winners of Wednesday's game between UC Sampdoria and AC Milan.

Last updated: 25/01/11 23.52CET

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