Manchester United takes 5-point lead
BLACKBURN, England -- Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young scored late goals to lead Manchester United over Blackburn 2-0 Monday night and open a season-high, five-point lead in the Premier League over Manchester City with seven games left.
Valencia cut in from the right wing and sent a swerving shot from a tight angle past goalkeeper Paul Robinson and into the far corner in the 81st minute. Young scored on a low shot in the 86th.
Martin: Valencia Proves a Real Gamer
Forget Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez. Winger Antonio Valencia is Man United's MVP this season, as he proved again against Blackburn, writes James Martin. Blog
"It was a long night. We had to persevere and persevere," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "We weren't making any clear-cut chances for a long time. But it was an important win, and it typifies the history of the club."
Blackburn, fighting to avoid relegation, had a goal disallowed when Morten Gamst Pedersen's 63rd-minute effort was ruled out because the ball went out of play in the buildup.
Defending champion United (24-3-4) has 76 points, while second-place Manchester City (22-4-5) has 71 following a 1-1-2 skid.
City, seeking its first league title since 1968, hosts United on April 30. United is trying to extend its record for English league titles to 20.
Blackburn (7-17-7) dropped below Queens Park Rangers into 18th place and the relegation zone.
"We are just a little bit frustrated, because we felt if we could have held on for another five minutes we could have really frustrated them," Blackburn manager Steve Kean said.
Alvaro Negredo, Manu del Moral and Jesus Navas scored second-half goals to give Sevilla a 3-1 win over Mallorca in the Spanish league that moved it within a point of sixth-place Osasuna for the last Europa League place.
Negredo scored in the 51st minute off Navas' corner kick, and Del Moral doubled the lead in the 62nd. Jose Antonio Reyes sliced a pass through the defense that Navas tapped in for a three-goal lead in the 68th.
Mallorca substitute Tomer Hemed scored in the 78th.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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