United, City both win in Premier League

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Manchester United\'s Robin van Persie celebrates scoring against Sunderland during the English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford, Manchester, England, Saturday Dec. 15, 2012. Manchester United won the match 3-1. (AP Photo/PA, Martin Rickett) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE


LONDON (AP) — Manchester United maintained a six-point lead over Manchester City in the English Premier League by beating Sunderland 3-1 Saturday on goals by Robin van Persie, Tom Cleverley and Wayne Rooney.

Van Persie put United (14-3) ahead in the 16th minute with his 12th league goal of the season, Cleverley doubled the lead in the 19th and Rooney made it 3-0 in the 79th with his seventh league goal. Fraizer Campbell scored in the 72nd for visiting Sunderland (3-7-7).

Coming off a 3-2 loss to United last week, City (10-1-6) won 3-1 at Newcastle (4-8-5). Goals by Sergio Aguero in the 10th minute and Javi Garcia in the 39th built a 2-0 lead. After Demba Ba cut the Magpies' deficit in the 51st, Yaya Toure scored for the visitors in the 78th.

United ensured it will be in first place on Christmas — the Christmas leader has gone on to win the title in the past three seasons.

"Some of our football was very good and we could have scored lots of goals," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "We will try and keep the momentum going and consistency going."

Liverpool's resurgence was ended with a 3-1 home loss to Aston Villa (4-7-6), which got goals from Christian Benteke in the 29th, Andreas Weimann in the 40th and Christian Benteke in the 51st. With Liverpool (5-5-7) trailing 3-0, Steven Gerrard beat American goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the 87th.

Everton tied 1-1 at Stoke in a match marred by an apparent head butt by midfielder Marouane Fellaini on Ryan Shawcross, whose own goal put the Toffees ahead in the 36th. Kenwyne Jones scored foe the hosts in the 52nd.

Queens Park Rangers (1-9-7) won 2-1 against visiting Fulham (5-7-5) on a pair of second-half goals by Adel Taarabt for its first league victory since May 6. Mladen Petric scored late for the Cottagers.

Reading (1-9-6) dropped into last place heading into its home game against Arsenal on Monday.

Norwich beat Wigan 2-1 on goals by Anthony Pilkington and Wesley Hoolahan for its fifth straight home win, while Shaun Maloney scored for the visitors.


American forward Jozy Altidore scored twice in the first half as AZ Alkmaar beat PEC Zwolle 2-1 for its first win since Oct. 28.

Altidore's goals in the second and 34th minutes built a 2-0 lead before Denni Avdic scored for the hosts in the 56th.

Altidore has 11 league goals this season and 14 overall.


BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Athletic Bilbao rebounded from its embarrassing elimination to a third-tier team in the Copa del Rey by winning 1-0 at Mallorca in the Spanish league on Aritz Aduriz's 11th-minute goal.

Getafe drew 1-1 with Osasuna earlier Saturday.


MILAN (AP) — Miroslav Klose scored in the 82nd minute, giving Lazio a 1-0 win over Inter Milan in the Italian league that extended the hosts unbeaten streak to nine in all competitions.

Fredy Guarin and Antonio Cassano hit the host in the second half for Inter.

Lazio (10-4-3) and Napoli (10-3-3) each have 33 points, one behind Inter (11-5-1) and five behind first-place Juventus (12-2-2), which hosts Atalanta on Sunday.

Earlier, Antonio Di Natale scored in the 89th minute, giving Udinese a 1-1 tie against visiting Palermo. Josip Ilicic put Palermo ahead in the 33rd minute. Udinese finished a man short after was ejected in the 61st for his second yellow card.


BERLIN (AP) — Stefan Kiessling scored twice and set up a goal to lead Bayer Leverkusen over Hamburg 3-0 in the Bundesliga.

Kiessling scored from close range in the 26th minute, set up Andre Schuerrle's goal in the 36 and added his league-leading 12th goal of the season in the 66th. Hamburg goalkeeper Rene Adler was playing his first match at Leverkusen since he left after 12 seasons.

On the final weekend before the winter break, second-place Leverkusen (10-4-3) closed within nine points of Bayern Munich (13-1-3).

Freiburg won 3-1 at Schalke, Eintracht Frankfurt won 2-0 at Wolfsburg, Mainz came from behind to beat Stuttgart 3-1, and Greuther Fuerth and Augsburg tied 1-1. Fortuna Duesseldorf beat visiting Hannover 2-1.


PARIS (AP) — Andre-Pierre Gignac entered at the start of the second half and scored on a curling shot in the 68th minute, giving Marseille a 1-0 win at Toulouse in the French league.

Toulouse finished two men short following the ejections of Cheikh M'Bengue in the 27th and

Franck Tabanou in the 45th. Andre Ayew's 40th-minute penalty kick was saved by Ali Ahamada after younger brother Jordan Ayew was fouled by Tabanou.

Marseille (11-5-2) trails first-place Lyon (10-2-5) on goal difference. Third-place Paris Saint-Germain hosts Lyon on Sunday.