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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 April, 2003, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Man Utd close in on title
Scholes and Van Nistelrooy's joy
Spurs 0-2 Man Utd

Manchester United took a giant stride towards regaining the championship as a priceless win at Spurs opened up a five-point gap at the Premiership summit.

Paul Scholes set Sir Alex Ferguson's side on the way to a richly-deserved victory and crowned an impressive display at White Hart Lane.

And Ruud van Nistelrooy scored his 40th goal of the season to seal the win in style in injury time and pile the pressure on Arsenal.

The double strike came as a massive relief to United as Spurs goalkeeper Kasey Keller delivered a brilliant performance that single-handedly threatened to deny them the triumph.

Van Nistelrooy suffered most at Keller's hands - but Scholes was the arch-opportunist again to put United within touching distance of the title.

And Van Nistelrooy had the last word as United established a stranglehold over arch-rivals Arsenal.

Race for the title
Man Utd: P36 Pts 77
Arsenal: P35 Pts 72

Ferguson restored David Beckham to the starting line-up after he was axed against Real Madrid - but Fabien Barthez was axed after his uncertain Champions League display.

Roy Carroll was recalled, only to be little more than a spectator as his opposite number Keller fought out a personal battle with Van Nistelrooy.

It started after only 20 seconds when the United striker skipped past Dean Richards, but Keller saved well.

Van Nistelrooy was the danger man again after 20 minutes when Giggs opened up the Spurs defence, but the Dutch striker turned a close range effort inches wide.

Beckham battles for possession at Spurs

All United's chances were falling to Van Nistelrooy, and it was Keller to the rescue again when Roy Keane's through pass sent him in, but again the Spurs goalkeeper was the hero.

Keller's best save came after 31 minutes when Van Nistelrooy was on the end of a trademark Beckham cross only to see his header acrobatically turned over.

Van Nistelrooy was guilty of hesitation as the interval approached, taking one touch too many in front of goal to allow Keller to deny him again.

68 mins: Scholes head Manchester United in front
90 mins: Van Nistelrooy wraps up Manchester United's victory

It was one way traffic as the second half started, with Keller saving well from Ole Gunnar Solksjaer within seconds of the re-start.

And United were inches away from breaking the deadlock on the hour when Ryan Giggs finally beat Keller, but watched his shot drift agonisingly wide.

Beckham was next on the firing range from a 25-yard free-kick, but once again Keller came out on top.

United were laying siege to Spurs, and Van Nistelrooy was left holding his head in disbeliefe as another shot was narrowly off target after 66 minutes.

Spurs' resistance was finally - and deservedly - broken two minutes later through arch-predator Scholes.

Scholes flicked a header to Giggs, and was in position to head the return cross beyond the brave Keller.

Gus Poyet gave United a scare with a header that was just wide - but Van Nistelrooy finally hit the target with seconds left to clinch the three points.

Tottenham: Keller, Carr, Taricco, King, Richards (Gardner 31), Davies, Poyet, Toda (Iversen 78), Etherington (Bunjevcevic 79), Sheringham, Keane. Subs not used: Sullivan, Acimovic.

Man Utd: Carroll, Brown (Gary Neville 54), O'Shea, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, van Nistelrooy, Solskjaer (Fortune 72). Subs not used: Blanc, Ricardo, Forlan.

Attendance: 36,073.

Referee: J Winter (Cleveland).

BBC Five Live's Mike Ingham
"This time next week the championship could be over"

Man Utd skipper Roy Keane
"A few months ago we'd been written off"

Is the title Man Utd's?
30771 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion



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