22 Mar 2009

Champions humbled for first time in 45 years at Fulham

9:22 am on 22 March 2009

The English Premier League football title race has opened up after the champions Manchester United were beaten 2-0 by Fulham in London.

United imploded when Paul Scholes was sent off after an early handball to deny a goalscoring opportunity.

Wayne Rooney was also sent off late in the game.

The result blew the title race wide open as the champions suffered their first loss at Craven Cottage for 45 years.

After last week's 4-1 drubbing at home to Liverpool, United have now suffered back-to-back defeats in the Premier League for the first time since 2005.

In other games Tottenham Hotspur beat Chelsea 1-0, Portsmouth beat Everton 2- 1, Stoke beat Middlesbrough 1-0 and Blackburn drew 1-1 with West Ham, as did West Bromwich Albion and Bolton.

Arsenal consolidated fourth place with a 3-1 victory at Newcastle United that left the home side in the drop zone. The north London side have 55 points from 30 games.

United lead the table with 65 points from 29 games while Chelsea have 61, having played a match more. Liverpool also have 61 points from 29 games played.