Dempsey salvages a tie for Fulham

December 22, 2007

LONDON -- Manuel Almunia saved a penalty kick to help Arsenal beat Tottenham 2-1 Saturday and extend its Premier League lead over defending champion Manchester United.

At the other end of the standings, Clint Dempsey's tying goal lifted Fulham out of the relegation zone in a 1-1 draw with next-to-last Wigan.

Tottenham offset a 48th-minute goal by Emmanuel Adebayor with a score by Dimitar Berbatov in the 66th. It had a chance to go ahead when Gunners defender Kolo Toure sent the Bulgarian striker tumbling.

But Almunia, who is keeping German World Cup veteran Jens Lehmann from the starting lineup, dived to his right to block Robbie Keane's penalty kick in the 74th. Two minutes later, substitute Niklas Bendtner rose to head home a corner by Cesc Fabregas and head the winner with his first touch of the ball.

Arsenal has a four-point advantage over Man United, which on Sunday faces an Everton team with 11 wins and two draws in its last 13 league and cup games.

Third-place Chelsea visits Blackburn on Sunday and Manchester City held on to fourth place by drawing 1-1 at Aston Villa even though Sven-Goran Eriksson's team squandered the lead.

Arsenal has 43 points from 18 games and Manchester United 39 from 17. Chelsea remains third with 34 from 17, Manchester City has 34 from 18 and Liverpool 33 from 17.

Italy
MILAN, Italy -- Francesco Totti scored twice to help AS Roma beat 10-man Sampdoria 2-0 and move within four points of Italian league leader Inter Milan.

Totti converted a penalty kick in the 18th minute and tapped in Marco Cassetti's goalmouth assist in the 90th. It was Totti's first domestic game in more than a month following a foot injury.

Inter Milan leads Serie A with 40 points, followed by Roma (36), Juventus (32) and Udinese (28). Sampdoria has 21 points, while Genoa has 19 and Parma 18. Inter can restore its seven-point lead if it beats city rival AC Milan on Sunday.

Earlier, Marco Borriello converted a 43rd-minute penalty kick to lead Genoa over Parma 1-0 for its first league victory since October.

Spain
MADRID, Spain -- David Silva and substitute Nikola Zigic scored to help Valencia overcome its goalkeeping errors and rally for a 2-2 draw at Zaragoza in the Spanish league.

Silva ran onto Joaquin Sanchez's short pass and scored in the 82nd with a curling shot.

Zigic headed home Javier Arizmendi's cross in the 76th for his first league goal since his $26 million transfer from Racing Santander in the summer. Arizmendi hit the post during injury time.

Elsewhere, Getafe snapped a two-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory at Almeria.

France
PARIS -- Second-place Nancy held first-place Lyon to a 1-1 draw in the French league.

Francis Malonga Ntsayi scored the tying goal in the 87th minute. The ball bounced off defender Francois Clerc's back and Lyon goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre.

Czech star Milan Baros had given six-time defending champion Lyon the lead in the 79th when he collected a pass from Hatem Ben Arfa and chipped the ball past Nancy goalkeeper Gennaro Bracigliano.

Netherlands
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Kenneth Perez scored twice, leading defending champion PSV Eindhoven past FC Utrecht 4-1 and into first place in the Dutch league.

PSV 33 points, two more than Ajax. Ajax could reclaim the lead with a victory Sunday at Exelsior Rotterdam.

Third-place Feyenoord, which plays at Nijmegen on Sunday, has 29 points. Ajax and PSV have played one game less, along with Feyenoord and AZ Alkmaar, after their games last weekend were postponed because of a police strike.

Scotland
GLASGOW, Scotland -- Celtic was held to a 1-1 tie at home by Hibernian, giving Rangers a great chance to take over first place in the Scottish Premier League.

David Murphy put Hibs ahead after 20 minutes at Celtic Park. Jiri Jarosik replied for the defending champions in the 78th.

Gordon Strachan's team has won one of its last six domestic league and cup games. Rangers go to Aberdeen on Sunday only three points behind with three games in hand.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press