Real overtake Barca atop league

MADRID: Real Madrid battled back from 2-0 down to beat Sevilla 3-2 on Saturday and go top of the Spanish League with Rafael Van der Vaart grabbing a dramatic stoppage time winner.

After 10-man Barcelona were held 2-2 by Almeria, the incentive was on Real who had the chance to go ahead of the Catalans on goal difference, and they managed it in dramatic fashion at the Bernabeu. They slumped two-goals down an own-goal from Xabi Alonso and a Ivica Dragutinovic free-kick which caught out Real keeper Iker Casillas. But Real piled on the pressure with Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos drawing their side level. It appeared as though Real would have to settle for a draw before a grandstand finish saw Van der Vaart slot home from close range.

A brace from Leo Messi rescued a point for Barcelona at Almeria. Domingo Cisma put the home side in front after he beat Carles Puyol in the air to head past keeper Victor Valdes. Messi equalised, though, after a contentious free-kick was awarded for a foul on Zlatan Ibrahimovic. An own-goal from Puyol and then the expulsion of Ibrahimovic for kicking out put Almeria firmly in the driving seat but Messi was Barca's saviour, scoring his second from close range mid-way through the second half.

Earlier, a fine strike from Jose Guardado helped Deportivo la Coruna come from behind to beat Tenerife 3-1. Deportivo had plenty of early possession but poor defending saw Juanlu Hens give Tenerife the lead. Juan Rodriguez headed Deportivo level and while they continued to press forward it was Tenerife that went nearer to scoring again when Juan Nino saw a close-range shot saved by keeper Daniel Aranzubia shortly before half time. A powerful left-footed drive from Guardado found the corner after 55 minutes and from there Deportivo never looked back with Diego Colotto adding to their lead.


London: Veteran midfielder Paul Scholes scored his 100th Premier League goal as reigning champions Manchester United returned to the top of the table with a 1-0 win at gritty strugglers Wolves on Saturday.

Scholes found the target in the 73rd minute when he was first to react after Nani's cross came off Christophe Berra. The victory allowed United to open a two-point gap on both Chelsea and Arsenal although Sam Vokes could have equalised in stoppage-time for Wolves, but he blasted over the top.

Earlier, Arsenal maintained their title push with a 3-1 win at home to Burnley. Arsenal took the lead at the Emirates Stadium with a typically stylish goal 11 minutes before half-time. Cesc Fabregas played the ball to Samir Nasri and continued his run into the box before receiving a superb return pass.

Spain international Fabregas then hit a first-time shot past Clarets goalkeeper Brian Jensen. Five minutes later Fabregas went off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury and was replaced by Abou Diaby. Arsenal squandered several chances to double their lead and were made to pay in the 50th minute when Burnley striker David Nugent lifted the ball over Gunners goalkeeper Manuel Almunia.

However, 20-year-old Arsenal winger Theo Walcott got the second goal. After being played in by Nicklas Bendtner, he curled a shot inside the far post. Andrey Arshavin sealed Arsenal's victory in the closing seconds. Wenger said club captain Fabregas's fitness ahead of Arsenal's Champions League last 16 second leg tie against Porto on Tuesday was a concern.

Bolton moved further away from the drop zone with a 2-1 win away to West Ham in a match where they played the final 18 minutes a man down after midfielder Tamir Cohen was sent-off for a second bookable offence. South Korean midfielder Lee Chung-yong set up Bolton's opener when he crossed for striker Kevin Davies to head in his eighth goal in 10 appearances against the Hammers in the 10th minute. Bolton did not have long to wait for a second goal when, six minutes later, Davies crossed to Cohen, who headed the ball back for midfielder Jack Wilshere to volley in his first Bolton goal.

But Alessando Diamanti ensured a nervous finish for

the Lancashire side when

he pulled a goal back for West Ham two minutes from time and the Londoners then missed out on a draw when Junior Stanislas hit the crossbar. Victory left Bolton five points above the bottom three.