Manchester United extended their lead at the English Premier League summit to seven points following a controversial and thrilling 4-3 victory over Newcastle at Old Trafford.
Javier Hernandez struck a 91st-minute half-volley to snatch all three points after second-half goals from Patrice Evra and Robin van Persie twice pulled the Red Devils level.
James Perch’s fifth-minute opener for Newcastle, scored following poor keeping from David de Gea, was cancelled out when Jonny Evans stabbed home from close range.
Confusion shrouded Newcastle’s second, which was initially disallowed for offside against Papiss Cisse after Evans had directed the ball into his own net. But having ruled out the goal, referee Mike Dean overturned his own decision after consulting the linesman as Cisse had not connected with the ball.
Furious United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, believing that Cisse had interfered with play due to his positioning, demonstrated to the officials before the second half began, but was soon comforted by Evra’s equaliser.
City slip further
Champions Manchester City slipped back in the title race after losing 1-0 at Sunderland. Adam Johnson was on target against his former club, helped by a weak save from Joe Hart, who was overshadowed by the heroics of Simon Mignolet in Sunderland’s goal.
QPR slipped to the second defeat of Harry Redknapp’s reign with their 2-1 loss to West Brom dumping them at the foot of the table. Chris Brunt was on target from 30 yards with a first-time shot to nudge the Baggies ahead in a delayed kick-off at Loftus Road before keeper Rob Green tipped the ball into his own net while under pressure from Marc-Antoine Fortune.
Chelsea close in
Chelsea capitalised on the ground lost by City by dispatching Norwich 1-0 at Carrow Road thanks to a superb finish from Juan Mata with Oscar supplying the ammunition. The Blues, in third place, now trail City by just four points.
Stephane Mbia set up Djibril Cisse as QPR pulled one back and they should have had an injury-time penalty when Liam Ridgewell handled the ball as they dominated the closing minutes. Rickie Lambert struck an 86th-minute penalty to secure Southampton a vital point in a 1-1 draw with Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Dimitar Berbatov gave Fulham the lead in a tight match after pouncing from close range when Kelvin Davis failed to deal with a cross by Sascha Riether. But Chris Baird then handled the ball and Lambert rifled an unstoppable spot-kick past Mark Schwarzer.
Everton 2-1 Wigan
Fulham 1-1 Southampton
Man Utd 4-3 Newcastle
Sunderland 1-0 Man City
Norwich 0-1 Chelsea
QPR 1-2 West Brom
Reading 0-0 Swansea
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