Manchester United FC kept alive their hopes of automatic UEFA Champions League qualification by defeating ten-man Charlton Athletic FC 4-0 at the Valley.
Paul Scholes opened the scoring when he reacted quickest after Charlton goalkeeper Stephan Andersen had parried Wayne Rooney's low drive. Darren Fletcher doubled United's lead just before the interval and Alan Smith made it three on 62 minutes.
Rooney, who had earlier struck the woodwork, completed the scoring by lifting the ball over the advancing Andersen midway through the second half. The home side finished the game with ten men after Chris Perry was dismissed for a professional foul five minutes from time. The win moves United to within a point of second place, currently occupied by Arsenal FC, who visit relegation-threatened West Bromwich Albion FC on Monday.
In Sunday’s other game, Tottenham Hotspur FC leapfrogged Middlesbrough FC into the final UEFA Cup berth by sweeping aside Aston Villa FC 5-1. A first-half double from Frédéric Kanoute, either side of a Ledley King strike, handed Martin Jol’s team a three-goal lead inside the first 30 minutes.
Gareth Barry gave Villa hope when he converted a penalty on the stroke of half-time after Michael Dawson handled in the area. But Tottenham were not finished and after Republic of Ireland international Andy Reid scored his first goal for the north London club with a superb 20-metre effort midway through the second half, compatriot Stephen Kelly made it five in the last minute.
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