Chelsea chips away

SOCCER ROUNDUP, SUN WIRE SERVICES

, Last Updated: 7:43 AM ET

Portsmouth held on to beat Manchester United 2-1 yesterday in the Premier League and help Chelsea move within three points of first place.

United's John O'Shea scored in the 90th minute, a minute after fellow defender Rio Ferdinand had scored in his own net. Matthew Taylor gave Portsmouth the lead in the 30th by knocking in a rebound.

United, which had won seven straight games in the league, leads with 78 points, only three more than Chelsea, which beat Tottenham 1-0 on Ricardo Carvalho's 52nd-minute goal.

Chelsea had been frustrated by a stubborn Tottenham defence during the first half, but Carvalho scored from a 25-yard shot in the second half after a pass from John Obi Mikel.

Both United and Chelsea have six games left and play each other in their penultimate Premier League match at Stamford Bridge on May 9. The two also play Champions League and FA Cup matches over the next week.

Liverpool beat Reading 2-1 to secure third place, and Arsenal lost its first league game at Emirates Stadium, falling 1-0 to relegation-threatened West Ham.

Liverpool has 60 points, followed by Arsenal with 55, Bolton with 53 and Everton, which beat Fulham 4-1 Friday, with 50.

Also yesterday, it was: Blackburn 1, Aston Villa 2; Middlesbrough 4, Watford 1; Sheffield United 1, Newcastle 2; and Wigan 1, Bolton 3.

Chelsea had been frustrated by a stubborn Tottenham defence during the first half, but Carvalho scored from a 25-yard shot in the second half after a pass from John Obi Mikel.

ITALY

Ronaldo and Alberto Gilardino scored first-half goals and AC Milan beat Empoli 3-1 to keep alive its hopes of a berth in next season's European Champions League.

Ronaldo's goal in the 12th minute and Gilardino's in 44th gave Milan a 2-1 half-time lead. Giuseppe Favalli added an insurance goal in the 78th.

The victory moved Milan into fifth place in Serie A with 47 points, including an eight-point penalty for its involvement in the Italian match-fixing scandal.

The top two teams earn guaranteed berths in the Champions League, while the next two receive berths in the qualifying phase. Milan climbed within one point of fourth-place Palermo, which lost 3-1 at home to Cagliari.

Also yesterday: AS Roma 2 Catania 0; Inter 0, Reggina 0; Atalanta 1, Chievo Verona 0; Fiorentina 4, Ascoli 0; Parma 1, Livorno 0; Sampdoria 1, Torino 0; and Siena 2, Udinese 2.

SCOTLAND

Derek Riordan came off the bench and scored yesterday to lead Celtic to a 1-0 win over Motherwell in the Scottish Premier League.

The defending champions can retain their title if second-place Rangers loses to St. Mirren today.

The win was Celtic's first in four matches.

Also yesterday, it was: Aberdeen 2, Dundee United 4; Dunfermline 1, Hibernian 0; Hearts 1, Kilmarnock 0; and Inverness 1, Falkirk 1.

SPAIN

David Beckham will miss his fourth straight game for Real Madrid with a sprained right knee ligament. Beckham trained with teammates yesterday but wasn't included in Madrid's 20-man squad for the Spanish league game against Osasuna today. The 31-year-old was hurt March 4 when he ran into the advertising signs behind the goal.


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