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Learning English - Words in the News
12 May, 2008 - Published 11:30 GMT
Exciting end to football season
Manchester United, Premier League winners
Manchester United celebrate their victory

There's been an exciting end to the Barclays Premier League football season in England, with Manchester United holding off the title challenge from their rivals in London, Chelsea. Here's Mike Sanders:

Listen to the story

It was all square between Manchester United and Chelsea going into the last day of the season, but with their vastly superior goal difference, the title was United's to lose. To secure it, they had to avoid any slip-ups on their short trip down the road to Wigan, a team that has never taken a Premiership point from them. England's footballer of the year Cristiano Ronaldo got United on the right track with a thirty-third minute penalty:

(Match commentary)
Ronaldo is ready, the United fans hope. He scores, sends Kirkland the wrong way, Manchester United lead one-nil, could that be the title-winning goal?

Back in London, Chelsea were struggling to make headway against a stubborn Bolton Wanderers side, until the much-criticised Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko made the breakthrough just after the hour mark. A Wigan equaliser against Manchester United at that point could have handed the title to Chelsea. But United veteran Ryan Giggs had other ideas:

(Match commentary)
Into the area and to the unmarked Ryan Giggs, can finish off, oh what a story, what a story, Ryan Giggs has won the title for Manchester United here, on what is his seven-hundred-and-fifty-eighth appearance, equalling Sir Bobby Charlton's club record, Sir Alex Ferguson dances down the touchline, and of all the players he would have liked to have scored that second goal, surely it has to be Ryan Giggs.

Chelsea then fluffed their lines by allowing Bolton a late equaliser, putting them two points behind United. It's Sir Alex Ferguson's tenth title in his twenty-one seasons managing the club.

At the other end of the table, Fulham, who looked dead and buried a month ago, saved their skins with a one-nil victory away at Portsmouth, the third of three back-to-back away wins. It condemned Reading and Birmingham to life in the Championship next season, even though both scored four goals to bow out with impressive but ultimately fruitless wins.

Mike Sanders, BBC

Listen to the words

all square

vastly superior goal difference
the positive difference between the goals Manchester United had scored and the goals they had conceded was much higher than Chelsea's


on the right track
in the right direction towards victory

struggling to make headway
finding it difficult

a goal which makes the scores level

fluffed their lines
made a mistake and didn't do what they were expected to do

looked dead and buried
seemed not to have any chance

three back-to-back away wins
won three times in a row when playing away from their home ground

It condemned Reading and Birmingham to life in the Championship next season
It meant that the teams Reading and Birmingham will have to play in the lower competition, the Championship, next season

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