Man U trips Aston Villa in third round of FA Cup

January 7, 2007

LONDON -- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had the winning goal during injury time and Henrik Larsson scored in his debut for Manchester United, which beat Aston Villa 2-1 Sunday in the third round of the FA Cup.

Wayne Rooney set up both goals for United, which leads the Premier League by six points and is also in contention for the Champions League title. The Red Devils won all three trophies in 1999.

Larsson scored in the 55th minute but Milan Baros tied it in the 74th for Aston Villa, which is run by Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner. Solskjaer then sent a shot that went into the net off the body of Villa goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly.

"I think we deserved to win the game, because we made a host of chances," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "But you have to feel a bit for Villa, because they probably deserved a goal when they really started to become a threat to us."

Larsson is playing in England for 10 weeks during the Swedish league's winter break and seemed to have no trouble settling in.

The Swede worked well with his teammates in the opening exchanges and applied pressure on the Villa goal with a succession of chances, including a header in the 15th minute and another shot five minutes later. He scored early in the second half after Rooney set him up in the box.

"He can score in any league he chooses and he's gone and shown that," said Villa manager Martin O'Neill, who coached Larsson for four years at Celtic. "It's great news for Henrik and great news for Manchester United."

Villa could have tied it when Gareth Barry found Isaiah Osbourne in front of the goal, but it was Baros who finally scored in the 73rd.

After United failed to clear a corner, a pass from Gary Cahill fell to the feet of Baros, who poked it past United goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak from 10 yards. But Solskjaer, who replaced Larsson in the 79th, beat Kiraly at the near post after taking a pass from Rooney.

Blackburn beat Everton 4-1 and Manchester City tied 1-1 with League Championship team Sheffield Wednesday.

Matt Derbyshire, Morten Gamst Pedersen and Paul Gallagher each scored in the first half to put Blackburn in control at Everton. Andy Johnson got one back from the penalty spot in the 68th, but Benni McCarthy added a fourth for the visitors in the 90th.

Georgios Samaras put Man City ahead with a penalty in the 78th minute at Sheffield Wednesday. Steve MacLean then earned his team a replay with a tying goal 2 minutes later.

Tottenham and League Championship team Cardiff also will play again after their game finished 0-0. Michael Chopra nearly gave Cardiff a goal in the 14th minute, but he missed an open net after a poor back pass from Tottenham defender Lee Young-pyo.

Spain
MADRID, Spain -- A weakened FC Barcelona failed to move back into first place in the Spanish league after being held to a 1-1 tie by Getafe.

The defending champion, which needed a 70th-minute goal from Xavi Hernandez, stayed in second place, two points behind Sevilla but with a game in hand.

Barcelona played without eight regulars, including the suspended Ronaldinho and the injured Samuel Eto'o, for its opening game of 2007.

Getafe took the lead in the 54th minute when striker Daniel "Guiza" Gonzalez took advantage of defender Rafael Marquez's poor back pass. Xavi, taking a free kick in Ronaldinho's absence, tied the score by curling his shot in from the edge of the area.

Sevilla leads the league with 37 points and is followed by Barcelona (35), Real Madrid (32) and Zaragoza (30).

Real Madrid's first game of the New Year ended in a 2-0 defeat against Deportivo La Coruna. Joan Capdevila and Cristian Hidalgo scored a goal each to hand Madrid its second straight loss. Madrid again had David Beckham and Ronaldo on the bench to start, though Ronaldo came on as a substitute.

Rafael Sobis, who joined Betis from Copa Libertadores champion Internacional in the offseason, scored in the 60th to give Real Betis a 1-0 win over Celta Vigo.

Scotland
GLASGOW, Scotland -- Rangers was knocked out of the Scottish Cup, losing to Dunfermline 3-2.

Already 17 points behind Celtic in the Scottish Premier League, Rangers was ousted from the cup by a team that is last in the league.

Dunfermline took a 3-0 lead early in the second half with goals by Jim Hamilton (17th minute), Stephen Simmons (29th) and Philip McGuire (46th). Kris Boyd then scored for Rangers in the 54th and added a second with a header in the 68th.

Dunfermline, which had not scored a goal in a month, will next host defending champion Hearts in the fourth round.

Dundee United's game against St. Mirren was postponed because of a flu outbreak and is scheduled to be played Jan. 16.

Greek
ATHENS, Greece -- Olympiakos stretched its lead in the Greek league to six points despite playing to a 0-0 tie at Xanthi.

The defending champion has 40 points. AEK Athens, which lost at PAOK 2-0 Saturday, is tied for second with Panathinaikos, both with 34 points.

Vangelis Mantzios scored in the 80th minute for Panathinaikos in its 1-0 win over Egaleo.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press