Sunday Tribune

Spurs,Villa squander chances to close in

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LONDON: Tottenham, Aston Villa and Sunderland all missed good chances to close on the leading teams at the top of the Premier League yesterday.

Tottenham could have climbed level on points with leaders Manchester United with a victory, but stayed at third after suffering a 1-0 loss to visiting Stoke, while Aston Villa drew 1-1 at lowly Wolves.

Sunderland were hoping to move into the top four, but lost 2-1 at Birmingham.

With Manchester United at fierce rival Liverpool playing today, Chelsea were well placed to overtake the defending champions if they beat visiting Blackburn in later action.

Spurs dominated visiting Stoke at White Hart Lane, but played the last 13 minutes with 10 men after an injury to winger Aaron Lennon, and conceded a goal with four minutes left.

Ricardo Fuller burst down the right and cut a pass back to substitute Glenn Whelan, who smashed a shot past goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.

Lennon limped off following a challenge from behind that went unpunished by the referee and Spurs had already introduced Michael Dawson, Pavlyuchen­ko and Jermaine Jenas as its three substitute­s.

The latter were tactical, but Woodgate had to be replaced 14 minutes into his first appearance of the season after a blow to the head.

Tottenham’s third loss of the season left them on 19 points and likely to be overtaken by Arsenal and Manchester City today.

The fourth-placed Gunners tackle West Ham, while fifthplace­d Manchester City host Fulham. Bolton hosts Everton in today’s other match.

Aston Villa – two points behind Spurs – took the lead in the 79th minute at Wolves through Gabriel Agbonlahor’s sixth goal of the season, but Sylvan Ebanks-Blake equal- ised four minutes later with a penalty after a foul by Steve Sidwell.

Liam Ridgewell and James McFadden gave Birmingham victory over Sunderland, who scored only in the 82nd minute via an own goal.

Hugo Rodallega scored twice to lead Wigan to a 3-1 win at Burnley, while Portsmouth and Hull stayed in the bottom three after a 0-0 draw at KC Stadium.

In Scotland, Rangers missed the chance to pull clear of Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premier League when they were held to a 1-1 draw by visiting Hibernian.

Rangers led via Scotland striker Kris Boyd, but Hibernian equalised midway though the second half via Anthony Stokes. Hibernian moved level with second-placed Celtic on 17 points, two less than defending champions Rangers.

Celtic could take over at the top with a win at lowly Hamilton today. – Sapa-AP

 ?? Picture: AP ?? ALMOST THERE: Tottenham Hotspur’s Jonathan Woodgate, left, and Stoke City’s James Beattie collide as they go for the ball during their English Premier League match at White Hart Lane in London yesterday. Stoke scored a late goal to win 1-0.
Picture: AP ALMOST THERE: Tottenham Hotspur’s Jonathan Woodgate, left, and Stoke City’s James Beattie collide as they go for the ball during their English Premier League match at White Hart Lane in London yesterday. Stoke scored a late goal to win 1-0.

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