LONDON: Sir Alex Ferguson was involved in yet another scrap with officials as Premier League leaders Manchester United hit back three times from a goal behind to win 4-3 at home to Newcastle.
Ferguson, at the centre of controversy last weekend after his comments about Swansea’s Ashley Williams, was furious that referee Mike Dean changed his mind to award Newcastle a goal which put the Magpies 2-1 ahead at half-time.
James Perch opened the scoring forNewcastleand Jonny Evans equalised before the 28th-minute flashpoint.
Initially Dean clearly believed that the ball had been put into the net by Papiss Cisse who had been offside. However, after Newcastle protests and a consultation with his assistant, Dean changed his mind and ruled that Jonny Evans had put the ball into his own net.
Newcastle thus led 2-1 at half-time and a clearly angry Ferguson – who doubtless gave his own players the famed ‘hairdryer treatment’ at the interval – had words with Dean, his assistant and the fourth official as the teams re-emerged for the second half.
United hit back to draw level through Patrice Evra, Cisse gave Newcastle the lead for the third time then Robin Van Persie levelled again at 3-3. Chicharito Hernandez scored the winner in stoppage time.
United, whowill miss Wayne Rooney for up to a month with a knee ligament injury, thus moved seven points clear of second-placed Manchester City.
The champions lost 1-0 at Sunderland who eased relegation fears with a 53rd-minute goal from City old boy Adam Johnson. City’s England keeper Joe Hart was at fault for letting the shot spin out of his grasp.
Third-placed Chelsea maintained their steady improvement under Rafa Benitez with a 1-0 win at Norwich on a first-half goal from the brilliant Juan Mata. That was their 14th goal in their last three games in a week.
Everton continued to sit fourth after a 2-1 home win over Wigan while Tottenham overtook Arsenal to go fifth courtesy of a Gareth Bale hat-trick in a 4-0 win away to a battle-weary Aston Villa still suffering a hangover from their eight-goal weekend thrashing at Chelsea.
Jermain Defoe scored the other goal for a Spurs’ team taking advantage of the postponement of Arsenal’s home derby against West Ham.
The last game of a busy and exciting matchday saw Liverpool lead after 90seconds through a Steven Gerrard before succumbing 3-1 at Stoke.
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