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International Soccer

Dzeko's goal helps City reach summit

Manchester, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Manchester City climbed to the top of the Premier League on Saturday as Edin Dzeko's 66th-minute goal propelled the club to a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium.

The result lifts City two points clear of second-place Arsenal, which can regain the league lead on Sunday with a win at Newcastle.

Palace sits in 17th place and just out of the relegation zone on goal difference following a third loss in four matches.

Some determined defending and a few key saves from goalkeeper Julian Speroni kept Palace even at 0-0 when the match reached halftime, with Speroni's best effort coming on a header from Fernandinho that the netminder tipped over the crossbar.

City goalkeeper Joe Hart was called upon to make his first real save after the break, but he did well to tip a 25-yard shot from Jason Puncheon past the post.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini brought on both Samir Nasri and Alvaro Negredo to add some punch to the City attack, and the hosts took the lead in the 66th minute when Jesus Navas cut the ball back for Dzeko to fire home with a first- time effort.

Hart then preserved the victory with a fine stop on Joel Ward's volley, giving City 10 wins from its last 10 home matches.

Manchester United 1, Norwich City 0

Norwich, England - A second-half goal from substitute Danny Welbeck was enough as Manchester United claimed its sixth successive victory in all competitions, topping Norwich City, 1-0, on Saturday at Carrow Road.

United traveled to Norwich without injured forwards Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney and the Red Devils clearly struggled in the offensive third in the opening half.

Norwich had the better of the play in the first 45 minutes and nearly went in front when Russell Martin got into the penalty area on the right and forced goalkeeper David De Gea into a fine diving stop.

Welbeck was introduced at halftime and he took advantage of a fortunate bounce in the 57th minute to put United in front.

Norwich defender Ryan Bennett attempted to clear the ball, but Welbeck blocked the effort and chased it down inside the penalty area before rounding goalkeeper John Ruddy and slotting his shot home.

The win moves United into sixth place in the league table, while Norwich resides three points above the drop zone.

West Ham 3, West Bromwich 3

London, England - Nicolas Anelka scored twice in the first half for West Bromwich but the Baggies had to settle for a 3-3 draw against West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday.

Joe Cole had the home side in front after four minutes with his third goal of the campaign, but Anelka scored two in reply before halftime.

The first came in the 40th minute after a well-weighted through ball from Chris Brunt that released the Frenchman in behind the West Ham defense, allowing him to beat onrushing goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Anelka added a second goal in first-half stoppage time when West Ham's Carlton Cole blocked a goal-bound header from Jonas Olsson, leaving Anelka to fire home the rebound.

Modibo Maiga equalized for the home side in the 65th minute, while Kevin Nolan put the Hammers ahead two minutes later when he scored from close range following a headed pass from Maiga.

But West Brom was back on level terms in the 69th with a curling effort from Saido Berahino, who nearly snatched a win in the closing minutes for his team when his free kick struck the post.

Aston Villa 1, Swansea City 1

Birmingham, England - Aston Villa and Swansea City battled to a 1-1 draw at Villa Park on Saturday, leaving both sides in the bottom half of the Premier League.

Villa entered the contest on a run of four successive defeats, while Swansea wasn't in much better form having gone winless in its previous five contests.

Gabriel Agbonlahor got the hosts off to a bright start when he found the net in the seventh minute after being played in on goal by Andreas Weimann.

But Swansea turned up the pressure on the Villa defense and was rewarded in the 36th minute when a left-wing cross from Pablo Hernandez picked out Roland Lamah at the back post for a close-range header that left goalkeeper Brad Guzan with little chance.

Swansea was the more dangerous side over the final 45 minutes, but Guzan's net wasn't seriously troubled and the Swans remain one point clear of Villa.

Hull City 6, Fulham 0

Hull, England - Hull City moved seven points clear of the relegation places on Saturday while heaping more pressure on Fulham as the Tigers scored six goals in the second half of a 6-0 drubbing at the KC Stadium.

A rather drab first half was brought to life in the 49th minute when Ahmed Elmohamady pounced on a loose ball inside the penalty area following a corner kick and fired a shot into the top corner.

That goal opened the door for a barrage by Hull over the final 30 minutes that saw the Tigers add five more goals against a hapless Fulham side.

Yannick Sagbo's pinpoint cross set up Robert Koren's first goal of the match, while George Boyd and Tom Huddlestone scored in quick succession to make it 4-0.

Substitute Matty Fryatt scored a few minutes after entering the game, and Koren capped the win with his second tally of the contest six minutes from time.

The result leaves Fulham with three losses from the last four games and in 18th place.

Cardiff City 2, Sunderland 2

Cardiff, Wales - Jack Colback's goal in the dying seconds helped Sunderland secure a 2-2 draw at Cardiff City on Saturday after the Black Cats fell behind by two goals in the opening hour.

A deflected shot from Jordon Mutch after six minutes found its way past Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone and gave the hosts a great start.

The Black Cats squandered a good opportunity to get back on level terms before halftime when Jozy Altidore failed to put a rebound chance on target from a few yards.

Mutch then played provider on a Fraizer Campbell goal shortly before the hour mark and it looked like Cardiff was well on its way to three points.

But Sunderland battled back in the 83rd when Steven Fletcher stabbed home Emanuele Giaccherini's cross from inside the six-yard box, setting up a nervy finish for the hosts.

And with one of the final kicks of the game, substitute Colback fired a shot toward goal from 14 yards that took a wicked deflection and flew into the top corner of the net.

12/28 14:38:29 ET

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