United on title brink as Chelsea downed


MANCHESTER, England, May 8 – Manchester United defeated Chelsea 2-1 at Old Trafford here Sunday to leave themselves on the brink of a record 19th Premier League title.

First-half goals from Javier Hernandez and captain Nemanja Vidic clinched a superb victory which means United need just one point from their remaining games against Blackburn and Blackpool to clinch the title.

Chelsea, whose lone goal came from the boot of Frank Lampard, had clawed back a 15-point deficit to leave themselves only three points behind United heading into Sunday’s heavyweight showdown.

But the reigning champions were blown away in a devastating opening period which saw United take a 2-0 lead within 23 minutes, Hernandez scoring after only 37 seconds to spark delirium at Old Trafford.

South Korean international Park Ji-Sung surged into space from midfield before sliding a pass through to the young Mexican, who nipped in behind David Luiz and slotted past Petr Cech.

It got better for United in the 23rd minute, when a short corner routine saw Park feed Giggs, who jinked past Salomon Kalou before whipping over a cross for Vidic, who shrugged off Branislav Ivanovic to nod home.

The double strike left Chelsea reeling although the Londoners did have their chances to get back in the game, Edwin van der Sar blocking Kalou’s close-range header superbly.

The veteran Dutch keeper was pressed into action again soon afterwards, blocking a long-range Luiz shot with his midriff.

Lampard gave Chelsea hope on 68 minutes, prodding in from close range after Ivanovic knocked down a deflected Ramires cross, but United were not to be denied.