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Manchester United beat West Brom 2-0 to maintain their advantage

Published on Dec 30, 2012 1:28 AM
Manchester United's Robin van Persie (C) celebrates his goal against West Bromwich Albion with Chris Smalling (L) and Danny Welbeck during their English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford in Manchester, northern England Dec 29, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Manchester United preserved their seven-point lead over Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday, defeating West Bromwich Albion 2-0 as the champions scraped a 4-3 win at Norwich City.

United manager Alex Ferguson was the centre of pre-match attention at Old Trafford for an outspoken attack on Newcastle United counterpart Alan Pardew, but his side got down to business quickly and went ahead in the ninth minute.

The scorer wore a blue and white shirt, however, with West Brom defender Gareth McAuley inadvertently shinning the ball into his own goal after Ashley Young drove a low cross across the face of goal.

Former United goalkeeper Ben Foster tipped a Young shot onto the crossbar, but United were not able to breathe easily until substitute Robin van Persie curled a glorious shot into the top-left corner in the last minute.