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Soccer: Own goal helps United move closer to title

Sunderland's John O'Shea (R) challenges Manchester United's Antonio Valencia during their English Premier League soccer match in Sunderland,
Sunderland's John O'Shea (R) challenges Manchester United's Antonio Valencia during their English Premier League soccer match in Sunderland,

By Mike Collett

LONDON (Reuters) - A Titus Bramble own goal helped Manchester United edge closer to their 20th league title when they won 1-0 at Sunderland on Saturday to stay 15 points clear of champions Manchester City with only eight Premier League games left to play.

City, whose manager Roberto Mancini conceded the title race was over on Thursday, beat Newcastle United 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium with goals from Carlos Tevez, David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure after they started the match 18 points behind United who kicked off earlier in the day.

United have 77 points from their 30 matches, with City in second on 62. The race for the other two Champions League places hotted up with Tottenham Hotspur winning 2-1 at Swansea City to leapfrog Chelsea into third place after they lost 2-1 at Southampton.

Spurs have 57 points, two ahead of Chelsea on 55 with Arsenal, who beat Reading 4-1, on 53.

Arsenal's win meant Reading, who had new manager Nigel Adkins in charge for the first time, dropped to the bottom of the table below Queens Park Rangers, who play Fulham on Monday, on goal difference.

Wigan Athletic beat Norwich City 1-0 to move out of the relegation zone, at least until Aston Villa, who are 18th, play Liverpool on Sunday.

The decisive goal in United's win at Sunderland came after 27 minutes when Robin van Persie ended a jinking run on the left with a shot that took a deflection off Bramble's thigh leaving Black Cats keeper Simon Mignolet stranded.

(Editing by Toby Davis)

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