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Red Devils bury Boro to go six clear

GOALS from Ryan Giggs and Park Ji-sung gave Manchester United a comfortable 2-0 win at Middlesbrough yesterday to extend its lead in the English Premier League to six points with four games remaining.

The champion was unruffled by a Boro side which offered surprisingly little fight considering it is in grave danger of being relegated.

Giggs, voted England's Player of the Year by his peers in the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) last week, fired United in front after 25 minutes with a sweet strike from the edge of the area and South Korean Park made sure of the points early in the second half after a clever pass from Wayne Rooney.

United has 80 points from 34 matches with Liverpool, which was playing at home to Newcastle United today, on 74 from 34.

Elsewhere, American businessman Stan Kroenke became Arsenal's biggest shareholder by increasing his stake in the club to 28.3 percent on Friday, putting him in a stronger position to mount a takeover.

Already a director at the Gunners, Kroenke is closer to the 30-percent threshold that triggers a mandatory offer for the remaining shares.

The 61-year-old Kroenke lifted his holding from 20.5 percent by buying out the 4,839 shares held by the Carr family. Richard Carr will remain a director of the club.

The next largest shareholder is Uzbekistan-born billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who owns more than 25 percent of the club through investment vehicle Red and White Holdings.

New Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis has previously implied that he would welcome a buyout from Kroenke, describing him as a "model owner" while being far less flattering about Usmanov.

Kroenke also owns the NBA's Denver Nuggets, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche and the Colorado Rapids in Major League Soccer.

In Scotland, Scott McDonald scored twice as Celtic came from behind to win 3-1 at Aberdeen yesterday to stay top of the Scottish Premier League.

Although Chris Maguire gave Aberdeen a 22nd-minute lead at Pittodrie, Celtic defender Gary Caldwell leveled a minute before halftime.

McDonald put defending champion Celtic up 2-1 in the 72nd and the Australian scored again in the final minute.

Celtic is four points ahead of Rangers, which hosts Hearts today, meaning Gordon Strachan's team will be ahead of its traditional Glasgow rival before they meet next weekend.

In Germany, Hannover won 2-0 at VfL Bochum for its first Bundesliga win on the road this season and all but made sure of avoiding relegation on Friday.

Arnold Bruggink and Hanno Balitsch scored in the first half.

The win put Hannover in 11th place at 35 points, 10 points away from the relegation zone with four games remaining.

Bochum stayed 14th at 28, three points away from safety.

Jacek Krzynowek won the ball and charged down the flank to set up Bruggink with a perfect header in the 12th.

Bruggink set up the second goal with a corner. With Bochum goalkeeper Daniel Fernandes mistiming his exit, Balitsch headed in from close range in the 32nd.

Substitute Vahid Hashemian hit the post for Bochum in 69th.

Hannover and Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke made several outstanding saves.


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