Arsenal suffers first defeat in EPL

December 9, 2007

LONDON -- Arsenal lost its first game of the Premier League season Sunday, falling at Middlesbrough 2-1 to leave the Gunners with a one-point lead in the standings.

Stewart Downing and Tuncay Sanli scored to give Middlesbrough its first win in any competition since Sept. 1. Tomas Rosicky scored in injury-time for Arsenal, giving the Gunners at least one goal in every Premier League match this season.

"We lost the game because we deserved to lose it," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "It's that simple. Middlesbrough were sharper in the fight."

Arsenal leads the league with 37 points, followed by Manchester United with 36 and Chelsea with 34.

Middlesbrough scored in the fourth minute with a penalty kick from Downing. The kick was awarded after Arsenal defender Kolo Toure brought down former teammate Jeremie Aliadiere in the penalty box.

In the 74th, Sanli scored into the corner with a rebound after Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia had pushed away a shot from Middlesbrough midfielder Gary O'Neil.

Arsenal had been the only unbeaten team in the Premier League after Liverpool lost to Reading 3-1 Saturday.

Bolton beat Wigan 4-1 for its biggest win this season, Tottenham defeated Manchester City 2-1 with a late goal from Jermain Defoe, and West Ham beat host Blackburn 1-0.

Netherlands
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley scored three goals to help SC Heerenveen beat FC Groningen 4-2 in the Dutch league.

Bradley, the son of U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley, scored his team's second goal in the seventh minute, shortly after Goran Lovre's own-goal gave the hosts the lead.

Erik Nevland then scored two goals for Groningen, but Bradley restored fourth-place Heerenveen's lead with a close-range strike in the 22nd. He got his hat trick in the 40th.

Feyenoord stayed in third place after a 0-0 tie at VVV Venlo.

The tie left the team two points behind first-place Ajax, which beat Willem II Tilburg 3-2 Saturday to improve to 31 points. PSV Eindhoven is second with 30 points.

Italy
ROME -- Inter Milan routed Torino 4-0 to extend its lead at the top of the Italian league to five points.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic converted a penalty kick in the 38th minute and Julio Ricardo Cruz, Luis Antonio Jimenez and Ivan Cordoba added second-half goals.

Torino controlled the opening half hour and Inter went ahead when Ibrahimovic was tripped by Gianluca Comotto, earning a penalty.

Second-place AS Roma was held to a 1-1 tie at Livorno, where Daniele De Rossi scored for Roma in the fifth minute before Diego Tristan scored a minute later.

Pavel Nedved scored his first goal of the season in the 86th minute to give third-place Juventus a 1-0 win over Atalanta.

Undefeated Inter leads the league with 37 points, followed by Roma with 32, Juventus with 29 and Udinese with 28.

Spain
MADRID, Spain -- Zaragoza rallied to hold Espanyol to a 3-3 draw in the Spanish league, getting two late goals from Ricardo Oliveira.

Oliveira scored after being alone in front of goal in the 86th and 90th minutes.

Raul Tamudo, Valmiro "Valdo" Lopez and Pablo Zapaleta all scored for Espanyol, while Diego Milito had given Zaragoza the lead in the sixth minute.

Germany
BERLIN -- Bayer Leverkusen stayed close to the Bundesliga leaders by beating Hansa Rostock 3-0.

Fanis Gekas scored his eighth goal of the season after Simon Rolfes and Paul Freier had given Leverkusen the lead.

Fourth-place Leverkusen closed within a point of Hamburg for the league's final Champions League berth. The team trails Werder Bremen by three points and leader Bayern Munich by five.

FC Nuremberg escaped the relegation zone by beating Hertha Berlin 2-1. Angelos Charisteas and Zvjezdan Misimovic scored for the winners.

Greece
ATHENS, Greece -- AEK Athens stayed in first place in the Greek league by beating Apollon 4-0.

Nikos Lymberopoulos scored two goals and Rivaldo and Ismael Blanco added the others for AEK, which leads the league with 27 points.

Panathinaikos stayed even with second-place Olympiakos by beating Iraklis 1-0. Tassos Katsabis scored an own-goal in the 27th minute.

France
PARIS -- Bordeaux moved into third place in the French league despite being held to a 1-1 tie by Nice.

Bakari Kone gave Nice the lead in the 12th minute, but Johan Micoud tied the score five minutes later.

Bordeaux has 29 points from 17 games and trails leader Lyon by eight points. Nice is in seventh with 25 points.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press