London: Wayne Rooney sent Manchester United 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League on Saturday by scoring in a 1-0 victory over Reading. The win, while far from convincing, effectively ends the title race as it came after second-placed Manchester City lost 0-2 at Everton.
Rooney struck United’s winner in the 21st minute at Old Trafford with a shot that deflected off Alex Pearce.
There are nine games remaining for United to wrap up a record-extending 20th English title.
Reading are only off the bottom of the standings because they have so far out-scored bottom-place Queens Park Rangers.
City’s fingertip hold on their Premier League title was loosened further after a demoralising 0-2 defeat at Everton left them hoping for a miracle.
Leon Osman’s swerving 32nd-minute shot put Everton in front at Goodison Park and even though the home team were reduced to 10 men when Steven Pienaar was sent off after 61 minutes, City could not reply.
Substitute Nikica Jelavic sealed victory for Everton.
Everton briefly went above Arsenal into the fifth spot but the Gunners responded with a 2-0 victory at mid-table Swansea City to come close within two points of fourth-placed Chelsea .
Liverpool were beaten 3-1 at Southampton, virtually extinguishing their top-four hopes while handing the Saints a major boost in their bid to steer clear of relegation trouble.
QPR’s revival was brought to an end with a 3-2 defeat in a relegation battle at Aston Villa.(Reuters)