The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dudek gifts United victory
- Ballack brace ensures victory for Bayern over Hertha Berlin

Liverpool: Another costly slip by Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek gifted Manchester United a 2-1 victory at Anfield on Sunday, throwing the Premier League title chase wide open.

United striker Diego Forlan capitalised on 64 minutes when the Polish ’keeper somehow spilled Jamie Carragher’s back header at the Uruguayan’s feet.

Dudek was beaten again on his near post three minutes later as Forlan completed his first double in English first team football to seal a vital victory.

Dudek recently received the backing of manager Gerard Houllier following similar costly fumbles at Middlesbrough and Fulham, which both led to Premier League defeats.

But following the latest mistake, Houllier is now sure to come under increasing pressure to drop Dudek in favour of English back-up goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.

Captain Sami Hyypia threw the home side a lifeline with eight minutes remaining, crashing home a loose ball in a crowded penalty area.

The win left United, who had a disappointing start to the season, just two points behind Liverpool and six behind leaders Arsenal, who they play at Old Trafford next weekend.

In Saturday’s games, Arsenal beat Aston Villa 3-1 to open up a four-point lead at the top of the League.

Thierry Henry curled in a trademark free kick and then coolly converted a penalty to settle an entertaining clash at Highbury after Robert Pires had given them the lead.

Champions Arsenal now have 35 points, four more than second-placed Liverpool.

Chelsea jumped to third on 30 points after a 3-0 victory over Sunderland, while there were also valuable wins for Manchester City, who beat Bolton Wanderers 2-0, and fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion, 1-0 winners over Middlesbrough.

Fulham were left kicking themselves after their 1-2 defeat against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

Dwight Yorke gave the home side the lead but France striker Steve Marlet equalised in the second half and then had a penalty saved by Rovers’ American goalkeeper Brad Friedel.

Blackburn grabbed all the points when unfortunate Fulham defender Rufus Brevett deflected the ball past his own goalkeeper 13 minutes from the end.

Nice sink

Leaders Nice suffered their third defeat of the season on Saturday as Sedan’s Senegalese striker Henri Camara scored a goal in each half and Alain Liri completed a 3-0 win with a sensational late effort.

Nice stay top since Olympique Marseille were beaten 0-2 at Bastia thanks to two second-half goals from 18-year-old striker Choukri Ben Saada, his first in the league.

Nice have 30 points from 17 games, Lyon 28 from 16 and Marseille 28 from 17. Sochaux are fourth on 27 points after beating Troyes 1-0.

Nice’s defence was by far the best in the league at the start of play, having conceded just seven goals, but they had no answer to Camara who reacted first to a cross from the right to flick the ball past goalkeeper Damien Gregorini on 34 minutes.

More slack defending allowed him to add another early in the second half, Gregorini suffering the embarrassment of thinking he had saved the ball but finding himself lying behind the goalline.

At the other end of the table striker Frederic Piquionne scored a hattrick for Stade Rennes in an extraordinary 5-1 win over Lille.

But they stay bottom because Le Havre won 2-1 at AC Ajaccio, after falling behind just before halftime.

Monaco’s Shabani Nonda scored twice and Rafael Marquez added another as they clinched a 3-1 win over Paris St Germain, after Brazilian striker Ronaldinho had put the Parisians ahead.

In other games Nantes beat Montpellier 3-1 and Sochaux overcame Troyes 1-0.

Bayern win 2-0

A double strike by Bayern Munich’s star midfielder Michael Ballack earned a 2-0 home victory over Hertha Berlin Saturday to extend their Bundesliga lead to eight points. German international midfielder Ballack found the net five minutes before the break and from a 71st minute penalty to ease the pent-up aggression which has led to punch-ups within Ottmar Hitzfeld’s squad in recent days.

Meanwhile Borussia dortmund jumped from fourth to second spot with a 2-1 comeback win at Nuremberg. 1860 Munich won 4-3 at lowly Energie Cottbus and SV Hamburg won 3-2 at Bayer Leverkusen in a mid-table battle in the day’s highest-scoring contests.

In other matches, Arminia Bielefeld won 3-0 at VfL Bochum, Hansa Rostock had a 3-1 home victory over Borussia Monchengladbach and Kaise Slautern beat VfL Wolfsburg 2-0.

Atletico go down

A spectacular right-foot strike from Argentine forward Rivero gave Osasuna a 1-0 win at home to Atletico Madrid in an untidy Spanish first division game Saturday.

Rivero beat Atletico goalkeeper Esteban at his near post with a thunderbolt from the right of the area 63 minutes into a game that was otherwise short of quality.

The result took Osasuna clear of the relegation zone and dashed Atletico’s hopes of moving up into the Champions League qualification places.

With 12 games played, Atletico stay fifth on 18 points, five behind leaders Real Sociedad. Osasuna move up from 18th to 13th, ahead of Alaves on goal difference.

Chievo hold Reggina

Fifth-placed Chievo fought back for a 1-1 draw at lowly Reggina in Saturday’s Serie A game after a goal from Nicola Lagrottaglie just after the break cancelled out Shunsuke Nakamura’s penalty.

Reggina took the game to Chievo from the start and Brazilian midfielder Mozart forced an excellent save from goalkeeper Cristiano Lupatelli in the 12th minute.

But David di Michele helped create the penalty when another of his efforts was handled by Lagrottaglie in the 23rd minute.

Japan’s Nakamura kept his cool with the spot kick and Reggina almost extended their lead just before the break when a Di Michele volley flashed just wide.

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