Hargreaves free kick sinks Gunners

London, April 14:

Owen Hargreaves curled home a free kick and Manchester United beat Arsenal 2-1 on Sunday to move a big step closer to another Premier League title and push the Gunners virtually out of contention.

After Cristiano Ronaldo’s 54th-minute penalty had canceled out a strike six minutes earlier by Emmanuel Adebayor, Hargreaves sent a free kick past Gunners goalkeeper Jens Lehmann in the 72nd. United’s 25th victory of the campaign puts the team six points ahead of second-place Chelsea. Arsenal is now nine points behind the leaders.

Adebayor put the Gunners ahead soon after halftime.

Gallas handled the ball blocked a pass from Michael Carrick with his hand and Ronaldo stepped up to score from the spot for United. It

was Ronaldo’s 28th league goal of the season and 38th in all competition.

The second goal came after Gallas needlessly fouled French countryman Patrice Evra a few yards outside the Arsenal area and Hargreaves curled the free kick inside the near post with Lehmann making no move.

Spanish La Liga

MADRID: Wesley Sneijder’s 59th-minute goal handed Real Madrid a 1-0 win against Murcia on Sunday and opened up a nine-point lead over FC Barcelona in the Spanish league. Sneijder controlled the ball inside the area before sending a shot into the top right corner of the net. Madrid took advantage of Barcelona’s 2-2 draw on Saturday to stretch the gap to their Catalan rival with six games to play. Madrid has 69 points while Barcelona has 60. Villarreal failed to keep pace with either after losing 1-0 at Almeria to stay at 59.

Villarreal goalkeeper Diego Lopez was ejected in the 17th for tripping Albert Crusat inside the box and backup Juan Carlos came in and watched Alvaro Negredo sky the ensuing penalty over goal. Santiago Acasiete scored the winner in the 84th for Almeria.

Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid reclaimed fourth place despite drawing 1-1 at Valladolid. The draw moved Atletico one point clear of Racing Santander for the final Champions League qualifying place.

Renato, Frederic Kanoute and Daniel Alves scored to lead Sevilla over Mallorca 3-2 to stay sixth with 51 points. Daniel Guiza and Achille Webo scored for Mallorca. Also Sunday, it was: Real Betis 0, Levante 1; Deportivo La Coruna 3, Athletic Bilbao 0; Espanyol 0, Osasuna 1; and Getafe 0, Zaragoza 0.