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Man City fires Hughes, Man U loses in England

LONDON - LONDON (AP) — Manchester City fired manager Mark Hughes, Fulham defeated Manchester United 3-0 and last-place Portsmouth beat Liverpool 2-0 on a day of surprises Saturday in the Premier League.

Man City downed Sunderland 4-3 to climb to sixth place, then announced less than two hours after the game that Hughes had been dismissed and replaced by former Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini. He will be introduced on Monday.

"A return of two wins in 11 Premier League games is clearly not in line with the targets that were agreed and set," chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said in a statement.

City, which lost 3-0 at Tottenham on Wednesday, has 29 points from 17 games. First-place Chelsea has 40 points and visits West Ham on Sunday.

Danny Murphy, Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff punished United's makeshift defense at Fulham. United's fifth loss of the season could now leave the team six points off the pace if Chelsea wins on Sunday.

Nadir Belhadj and Frederic Piquionne fired home angled shots as Portsmouth stunned 10-man Liverpool to put more pressure on manager Rafa Benitez. Liverpool's Javier Mascherano was sent off for an especially hard foul just before halftime.

It was Liverpool's seventh league loss from 18 games and the defeat pushed the Reds further out of title contention. Asked if he worried about losing his job, Benitez replied: "I'm worried about winning the next game."

With goals by Denilson, Eduardo da Silva and Abou Diaby, Arsenal outplayed Hull 3-0 to stay in third place and move within two points of Man United with a game in hand. Hull's Geovanni missed a penalty kick with his team down 1-0.

Two goals by Peter Crouch steered Tottenham to a 2-0 victory at Blackburn and substitute John Carew gave Aston Villa a 1-0 victory over Stoke. Villa has won five straight and is even on points with Arsenal.


FRANKFURT (AP) — Bayer Leverkusen beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 3-2 and will spend the winter break at the top of the Bundesliga.

Toni Kroos scored twice as Leverkusen rallied from a 2-1 deficit at home to capture the symbolic midseason title with 35 points from 17 matches, one more than Schalke.

Bayern Munich collected its sixth straight victory and fourth in the Bundesliga with a 5-2 win at home over last-place Hertha Berlin. Bayern has 33 points and is in third place.


GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — U.S. midfielder DaMarcus Beasley scored one of five goals for first-place Rangers in the second half in a 6-1 rout of Motherwell in the Scottish Premier League. Kenny Miller scored twice, giving him four goals in two games.

Rangers won for the third game in a row and lead the standings with 37 points. Second-place Celtic is four points behind but can close the gap when it plays at Hearts on Sunday.


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