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United slip into quarter finals

London: Manchester United avoided a potential banana skin against Burnley but Sunderland suffered English League Cup embarrassment at the hands of first division Sheffield United on Tuesday.

Goals in each half by strikers Diego Forlan and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave Manchester United a 2-0 win in their fourth-round tie against first division Burnley.

Sunderland, third from bottom in the Premier League, were sunk 0-2 at Bramall Lane, with Shaun Murphy and Wayne Allison scoring Sheffield United’s goals.

Also through to the quarter finals were first division Crystal Palace. Tommy Black’s double clinched 10-man Palace a 2-0 victory over second division Oldham Athletic at Selhurst Park.

Striker Gareth Taylor missed several first-half chances for Burnley at Turf Moor against a relatively strong Manchester United eleven in the first meeting between the two clubs since 1984.

But the home side were undone after 35 minutes when Uruguayan striker Forlan, scorer of two goals against Liverpool on Sunday, raced on to John O’Shea’s pass and calmly beat goalkeeper Marlon Beresford with Burnley’s offside trap in tatters. Substitute Solskjaer then smashed home their second after 65 minutes.

Sunderland manager Howard Wilkinson fielded an inexperienced team in Sheffield and the home side took advantage with two quickfire goals at the start of the second half.

Murphy scrambled in the first after 54 minutes and Allison’s header made it 2-0 soon after as Sheffield United added another Premier League scalp to their tally, having beaten Leeds United in round three.

Black’s looping header gave Palace an 11th-minute lead against Oldham before Palace midfielder Danny Granville was red-carded just before halftime for a two-footed tackle.

But the Londoners defended capably in the second half and the diminutive striker scored a second 16 minutes from time to see off Oldham.

Minnows’ day in Italy

Serie B side Ancona held mighty AC Milan to a 1-1 draw in a second round, first-leg Italian Cup match.

Former Fiorentina striker Anselmo Robbiati scored on a long shot from outside the area in the fifth minute for Ancona and Brazilian Leonardo drew Milan even in the 45th minute on Tuesday.

Leonardo, who was making his return to Milan’s lineup after re-signing with the club in October, received a pass from countryman Serginho and kicked into an open net as his teammate had drawn the goalkeeper out of position.

Earlier in the day, Serie B leader Sampdoria played to a 1-1 draw with Serie A’s Perugia.

Perugia striker Fabrizio Miccoli, the shortest player in Serie A at 168 centimetres, headed in a corner kick in the 39th minute. Sampdoria drew even on a 67th-minute penalty.

Rostock surprised

Amateurs SpVgg Unterhaching extended their impressive German Cup run with a 3-2 victory over first division Hansa Rostock in a third-round match.

Two goals from Angelo Vaccaro and one from Francisco Copado enabled the former first division club, now playing in the equivalent of the third division, to reach the quarter finals for the first time in their history.

The club from a Munich suburb, who had knocked out second division clubs FSV Mainz and Union Berlin in the previous rounds, are the only remaining amateur side in the competition.

Rostock had gone ahead through Magnus Arvidsson after 15 minutes and the Swedish striker also had them level at 2-2 after 63 minutes before Vaccaro’s 70th-minute winner.

A first-half goal from Germany midfielder Paul Freier gave VfL Bochum a 1-0 victory at Hamburg SV in Tuesday’s only clash between first division clubs.

Bayer Leverkusen, last season’s losing finalists, and TSV 1860 Munich went through with 2-1 victories over second division opponents, Waldhof Mannheim and Rot-Weiss Oberhausen respectively.

Nice back on top

Nice reclaimed provisional top spot in the French first division with a comfortable 3-0 home win over lowly AC Ajaccio.

With 33 points from 18 games, Nice are two points ahead of reigning champions Olympique Lyon, who travel to struggling Paris St Germain on Wednesday.

Defeat for PSG could mean the end of the line for coach Luis Fernandez, whose team have lost four and drawn one of their last five games.

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