Man Utd survive Blackburn scare

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Tevez equalized two minutes from the end for Manchester United to draw 1-1 at Blackburn and stay three points ahead of Chelsea in the Premier League.

Updated: April 20, 2008 06:56 IST
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Carlos Tevez equalized two minutes from the end for Manchester United to draw 1-1 at Blackburn and stay three points ahead of Chelsea in the Premier League title race.

Roque Santa Cruz put Blackburn ahead in the 21st minute at Ewood Park and Rovers threatened to throw the title race wide open.

After Rovers goalkeeper Brad Friedel had made a series of top quality saves, Tevez leveled in the 88th minute when he headed home a flick-on from Paul Scholes.

United now has 81 points and Chelsea has 78 with the two teams meeting at Stamford Bridge next Saturday. United has a far superior goal difference of 54 against Chelsea's 36.

Chelsea was idle after beating Everton 1-0 on Thursday.

Blackburn unsettled United's defense and was rewarded with Santa Cruz's 20th goal of the season. Both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic missed the ball as Morten Gamst Pedersen's throw in found its way to Santa Cruz's feet.

Friedel thwarted free kicks and a header from United winger Cristiano Ronaldo, who was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when he was clipped in the box by Johann Vogel from behind. The ball fell to Tevez, who thought he had leveled.

Friedel watched in desperation as he palmed Tevez's low shot back into his goal, but the ball came to a halt on the line.

United had another penalty claim dismissed when Pedersen appeared to handle in the 86th. Then, Nani released Wayne Rooney in the 86th only for Friedel to divert the shot wide.

After Friedel produced another save to deny John O'Shea's header, Tevez nodded home at the far post to level after Scholes flicked on Nani's corner.

Emmanuel Adebayor scored his 21st league goal of the season and Arsenal beat relegation-threatened Reading 2-0.

In Saturday's other games, fourth place Liverpool won 2-0 at Fulham to push the Cottagers closer to relegation. Although manager Rafa Benitez rested several front-line players ahead of Tuesday's Champions League game against Chelsea, goals by Jermaine Pennant and Peter Crouch gave Liverpool an easy victory at Craven Cottage.

Bolton climbed two places -- and out of the relegation zone -- by winning 1-0 at Middlesbrough after a rare goal by Gavin McCann.

West Ham edged already relegated and last-place Derby 2-1, while Wigan and Tottenham drew 1-1.

On Sunday, it's: Aston Villa vs Birmingham, Newcastle vs Sunderland; and Manchester City vs Portsmouth.

Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva had his first goal of the campaign to make it 2-0 at halftime, and the Gunners twice hit the bar and missed several more chances at Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal's second victory in nine league games put the club within four points of second-place Chelsea and lifted some of the depression hanging over the club after last week's loss at Man United put the team realistically out of the title race.

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