Reading slides towards relegation zone

February 9, 2008

LONDON -- Phil Jagielka scored his first Premier League goal for Everton on Saturday in a 1-0 victory over Reading that strengthened his team's hold on fourth place.

With the top three teams not playing, Jagielka's 62nd-minute header lifted Everton to within seven points of third-place Chelsea. Aston Villa moved up to fifth after John Carew scored a hat trick in a 4-1 win over Newcastle.

Everton has 47 points, three more than Villa and 13 fewer than leader Arsenal, which hosts Blackburn on Monday. Liverpool, with 43, could retake fifth place at Chelsea on Sunday, when defending champion Manchester United hosts Manchester City.

Everton's Andrew Johnson forced his team's first clear chance with a shot that American goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann saved. Tim Cahill then shot wide from Leon Osman's cross.

"It wasn't that pretty; it was extremely ugly," Everton manager David Moyes said. "Reading are fighting hard to stay in the division and they made it extremely hard for us."

Reading dropped into the relegation zone after its seventh straight Premier League loss.

Despite Michael Owen scoring for a second straight game, Newcastle is now winless in five matches since Kevin Keegan returned as manager.

Portsmouth won 1-0 at Bolton to jump ahead of Manchester City into seventh place, but City's match at Old Trafford on Sunday represents more than a chance to regain its position.

The Manchester rivals are to wear 1950s-style shirts and observe a minute's silence to honor the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster. The crash, on Feb. 6, 1958, killed 23 people, including eight Manchester United players and a former City goalkeeper.

Germany
BERLIN -- Hamburger SV and Bayer Leverkusen played to a 1-1 tie in a game that did little for either team's chances of winning the Bundesliga.

Netherlands captain Rafael van der Vaart put Hamburg ahead with a 27th-minute volley, and Leverkusen tied it through Manuel Friedrich in the 60th with a header but stayed winless against the top five teams in the standings.

Bayern Munich leads with 39 points and faces second-place Werder Bremen on Sunday. Bremen is three points back, while Leverkusen and Hamburg each have 34.

Leverkusen came into Saturday's game with six wins in seven games, stirring talk that the club's mix of young stars and veterans could emulate last year's surprise champion Stuttgart.

But Van der Vaart sprinted forward to get his foot on Piotr Trochowski's cross and stunned the home team with a a goal against the flow of play.

Stuttgart coach Armin Veh wrote off his team's season after a 3-1 loss to Hertha Berlin dropped it into 10th place.

"We just have to let go," Stuttgart coach Armin Veh said. "We can't do it, European play, with a performance like this."

Scotland
GLASGOW, Scotland -- Rangers won their eighth straight Scottish league game by beating Falkirk 2-0 on goals by Kris Boyd and Steven Naismith.

Rangers, unbeaten in 16 league and Scottish Cup games, are seven points ahead of second-place Celtic, which plays at Aberdeen on Sunday.

Boyd scored his 15th goal of the season with a free kick in the 23rd minute. Naismith, who had come on as a 66th-minute replacement for Boyd, made it 2-0 in the 89th when he scored from close range.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press