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Premiership title wide open

Premiership title wide open

Premiership title wide open

Middlesbrough 2-2 Manchester United
Two goals from Brazilian striker Afonso Alves gave Middlesbrough a well earned 2-2 draw against Premiership champions Man Utd at the Riverside on Sunday. The draw leaves the title race wide open as Chelsea are now within three points of the league leaders.

All talk prior to the game of Afonso Alves was just how poorly he has settled into life in the Premiership. However, the Brazilian proved just why Middlesbrough paid a fortune for his signature in January from Heerenveen.

Quick, mobile and strong; Alves made difficult work for Manchester United's defence, scoring two well taken goals against the Reds.

Cristiano Ronaldo got United off to a great start with a goal in the 10th minute, his 37th goal of the season. Good work from Michael Carrick sent the ball through to Ronaldo, who sent the ball home.

Boro should've equalised in the 23rd minute, but Jeremie Aliadiere took the ball wide.

United continued to pressure for most of the first half, until Alves brought Middlesbrough back into the match with an equaliser. Aliadiere flicked on the ball from a Gary O'Neill cross, and the Brazilian striker thumped the ball past Edwin van der Sar.

Things could've been worse just before the end, as Stewart Downing had a great effort blocked by the Dutch keeper.

Into the second half, and the game continued to open up, and Alves showed exactly why he has such a lofty reputation as a prolific goalscorer, as he shocked United and put Boro 2-1 up.

As if things were bad enough for Man United, Rio Ferdinand was brought off with an injury that will certainly keep him out for a few games including the crucial Champions League second leg with Roma at Old Trafford.

When Man United then looked like they would tumble, up stepped Wayne Rooney who scored an absolute cracker with 15 minutes to go.

The game was anyones for the taking, and the best chance was for Sanli Tuncay in the 94th minute who had the goal at his mercy but a fantastic stop from Edwin van der Sar kept him out.

The league table very much proves that United could have thrown away two crucial points; as Chelsea are now within only three of the Champions.