Spurs throw race wide open
Tottenham Hotspur breathed fresh life into the English Premier League title race with a 2-1 win over leaders Chelsea on a dramatic day of top-flight action in England on Saturday.
Spurs's win in front of their White Hart Lane faithful cut Chelsea's lead over champions Manchester United to just a point with three games left to play. And to make matters worse for Chelsea, they finished the match against their London rivals down to 10 men after captain John Terry was sent-off for two bookable offences
"The title is still in our hands, we don't have to be afraid, we just have to look to the next game against Stoke," said a defiant Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti after the match, before adding: "We didn't do so good but Tottenham played very well."
Tottenham's victory meant Harry Redknapp's side, who last weekend lost an FA Cup semi-final to Portsmouth before bouncing back in Wednesday's north London derby against Arsenal, moved into fourth place.
That left them two points clear of Manchester City in the race for the final Champions League spot on offer to English clubs. "They've been fantastic," said Redknapp of his team. "After the disappointment of last Sunday to come back with these two wins is top class. We were even better today than we were against Arsenal, in the first 30 minutes we completely dominated."
Jermain Defoe put Spurs ahead from the penalty spot in the 15th minute after England defender Terry handled in the box and Gareth Bale, on target in the 2-1 midweek north London derby win over Arsenal, doubled Spurs' lead a minute before half-time when he beat Petr Cech at the goalkeeper's near post.
Terry, already booked for a foul on Roman Pavlyuchenko, was sent off for a second yellow card offence by referee Phil Dowd after he went to ground and brought down Wales international Bale in the 67th minute. Spurs, who wasted numerous chances to kill the game off, saw Chelsea pull a goal back in stoppage time through England midfielder Frank Lampard.
United find dramatic equaliser
Earlier, veteran midfielder Paul Scholes kept champions Manchester United's Premier League title ambitions alive with a stoppage-time goal in a 1-0 derby win away to Manchester City on Saturday.
There were barely 20 seconds left in the three minutes of added-on time at the end of the match when Scholes headed in Patrice Evra's cross to the despair of home fans at Eastlands. Victory saw second-placed United close to within a point of leaders Chelsea, with three games left, and dented City's bid for Champions League football.
But Chelsea will restore their four-point advantage if they win away to London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in Saturday's late kick-off. However, victory for Tottenham would see them leapfrog City into fourth place and the final qualifying spot on offer to English clubs for next season's Champions League.
"We deserved to win the game but I couldn't see a goal coming," United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports. "Towards the end, City made a bit of a charge, it got a bit open, the game, and I decided to push Scholesy forward a bit and it paid off."
City boss Roberto Mancini, while disappointed by defeat, insisted his side's bid for Champions League was still on course. "The crucial match will be against Tottenham here [on May 5]," the Italian said. "We have four games left and we must try to win them."
Brave Blackburn denied by Everton
Elsewhere, Sunderland edged Burnley nearer relegation with a 2-1 home win while second-bottom Hull remained in the drop zone after a goalless draw away to Birmingham. Australia international Tim Cahill's 10th goal of the season boosted Everton's European hopes as he scored the winner in a 3-2 victory away to Blackburn Rovers.
Bolton all but assured themselves of Premier League football next season after two goals in the final five minutes from Matt Taylor saw them come from behind to beat Stoke 2-1. Wolves inched nearer safety with a goalless draw away to Europa League finalists Fulham.
Darren Bent and Alan Hutton set up Frazier Campbell's 25th minute opener for Sunderland. Campbell returned the favour when, five minutes before half-time, his header was volleyed in by England striker Bent. Steven Thompson gave Burnley hope with an 82nd minute goal.
Everton took the lead at Ewood Park through Mikel Arteta's fourth minute penalty after the Spaniard was brought down by New Zealand's Ryan Nelsen. But Rovers levelled after Steven Nzonzi let fly with a swerving 30-yard shot in the 69th minute.
Substitutes then scored for both sides, Everton forward Yakubu heading the visitors 2-1 up less than 30 seconds after coming on before Rovers striker Jason Roberts equalised nine minutes from time. Yakubu then turned provider for Cahill's 90th minute winner, the midfielder scoring with his foot rather than his head for a change.
At the Britannia Stadium, Stoke striker Dave Kitson fired the hosts into a 13th minute lead. Bolton equalised through Taylor's free-kick five minutes from time before, in the 88th minute, he turned in Vladimir Weiss's cross.
Wigan, still not yet assured of Premier League survival are at home to Arsenal on Sunday with the Gunners looking to bounce back from their midweek derby defeat by Tottenham. Meanwhile, already-relegated Portsmouth are at home to Aston Villa. Liverpool, on the market after US co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett put the club up for sale on Friday, face strugglers West Ham at Anfield on Monday.