Work in Sports
Joy in Manchester
City tops Blackburn, earns promotion to Premier League
Posted: Sunday May 07, 2000 03:40 PM
LONDON (AP) -- The day after Manchester United collected the Premier League trophy for the sixth time in eight seasons, Manchester United made it a double celebration on Sunday by gaining promotion and joining the Reds in the top flight.
Joe Royle's team did it the long way round, falling behind to Blackburn which then hit the post and bar four times, before hitting back for a 4-1 victory. But the result meant it had gained promotion two seasons in a row having spent its first ever spell in division two last term.
City only needed a point at Ewood Park to join division one champion Charlton as the two automatically promoted teams. But, when Blackburn led through Matt Janzen's first half goal and Ipswich was ahead against struggling Walsall, it looked as if George Burley's Ipswich was headed for the top flight instead.
But second half goals by Shaun Goater, Mark Kennedy and Paul Dickov and an own goal by Blackburn's Scottish international defender Christian Dailly triggered a field invasion by the thousands of the City fans who had made it to Ewood Park.
Despite beating Walsall 2-0, which sent the Saddlers back to division two, Ipswich will have to go to the playoffs for the fourth season in a row to gain a place in the Premier League and Burley hopes it's fourth time lucky.
Ipswich joins Barnsley, Birmingham and Bolton in the playoffs, which will determine the third promoted team. Bolton gained sixth place by beating Norwich 1-0 and replaced Huddersfield, which lost 3-0 at Fulham.
Walsall's loss at Portman Road meant survival for West Bromwich Albion, although the Baggies made sure of another season in division by beating champion Charlton 2-0 with second half strikes by Dutch midfielder Richard Sneekes and veteran striker Bob Taylor.
In Sunday's only Premier League game, Liverpool was held to a 0-0 tie by lowly Southampton yet still managed to climb into third place. After failing to win or score in three games in a row, Gerard Houllier's team is not likely to stay there because Leeds should jump back into third -- a Champions League spot -- by beating Everton on Monday.
Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier said his team did not play to its potential.
"We probably ran out of ideas in front of their box," he said. "We knew they would try to hit us on the break and defend deep. They made problems for us but we were not able to solve them today."
Houllier defended his decision to leave striker Michael Owen out of the lineup.
"He's played five games in 25 days and I decided to rest him and not risk an injury at this stage of the season," he said.
"On the whole though it's been a tremendous season. We're in the UEFA Cup, despite a lot of injury problems, so stepping back into Europe proves that our young side has made a lot of progress."
Southampton boss Glenn Hoddle said his team's performance was its best under his guidance.
"We've let ourselves down in the last three games and we got our pride back today -- I thought we dominated the game," he said.
On Saturday, Manchester United romped to a 3-1 win over Tottenham, the highlight being a stunning 25-yard strike by David Beckham. It was United's 27th win in 37 league games and the crowd of 61,629 ensured that he Reds beat its own all-time record average crowd for a season and took it past 58,000.
Arsenal strengthened its hold on second place with a 2-1 victory over Chelsea with two strikes by Thierry Henry who now has 26 goals this season.
In Scotland, confirmed titlist Rangers scored a 2-0 victory at Kilmarnock with strikes by American midfielder Claudio Reyna and German midfielder Jorg Albertz.
Reuters contributed to this report.