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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cole Is King as Man United Stays Top

LONDON -- Striker Andy Cole reaffirmed his return to form by scoring one goal and creating another as Manchester United beat Arsenal 2-1 to stay top of the English premier league Wednesday night.

Cole put United ahead after 18 minutes in his first full league game of a frustrating season that has seen him stuck on the substitutes' bench and sidelined with a cracked shin bone.

He set up Norway's Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for United's second 14 minutes later, and although Dutch striker Dennis Bergkamp scored for Arsenal after the break the Londoners could not find an equalizer.

Both United's goals came from counterattacks.

For the first, Cole latched onto a long ball out of defense from Gary Neville and waltzed past Arsenal goalkeeper John Lukic before guiding the ball into an empty net.

The second goal came as United broke with devastating speed from its own penalty area following an Arsenal corner.

Ryan Giggs sped down the left wing and flicked the ball inside to Karel Poborsky, who in turn found Cole. He laid off a perfectly weighted pass to Solskjaer, who drilled a left foot shot past Lukic.

Arsenal marksman Ian Wright was lucky not to be sent off after a reckless two-footed challenge on Peter Schmeichel that left the United goalkeeper writhing in agony on the edge of his penalty area.

Wright claimed the Dane was play-acting, and as the players left the pitch after the final whistle he had to be restrained by stewards as he tried to confront Schmeichel.

United's victory kept them a point clear of Liverpool, who spoilt Ian Rush's return to Anfield by beating Leeds 4-0.

Rush started as a substitute but came on with 17 minutes remaining to a thunderous reception from an ever-generous Anfield crowd.

By then, though, Leeds was doomed. Robbie Fowler put Liverpool ahead with a typical close range effort after 21 minutes, and striking partner Stan Collymore scored twice in two minutes to wrap up the points before halftime.

England midfielder Jamie Redknapp scored Liverpool's fourth goal three minutes from the final whistle.


Anderlecht's former chairman paid hush money for years to a soccer agent who threatened to publicize allegations that Belgium's most prestigious club had bribed its way into the 1984 UEFA Cup final, officials said Thursday.

Anderlecht manager Michel Verschueren said then-chairman Constant Vanden Stock was blackmailed by the soccer agent after Anderlecht staged a major comeback in the UEFA Cup semifinal with a controversial 3-0 over England's Nottingham Forest after losing the away leg 2-0.

Verschueren denied Anderlecht ever paid bribes to fix the match, adding that the chairman paid the sums to keep Anderlecht out of the negative spotlight.

The agent, Verschueren said in an interview, "succeeded in scaring the boss who paid sums of money to safeguard the image of the club."

(For other results, see Scorecard.)