United stay in hunt for top 4, Cardiff close to relegation

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Manchester United's Fred vies for the ball with West Ham's Michail Antonio, right, during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Saturday, April 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Manchester United’s Fred vies for the ball with West Ham’s Michail Antonio, right, during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Saturday, April 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

London (AP) — Paul Pogba’s calm nerves and David De Gea’s quick reflexes kept Manchester United in the hunt for a top-four finish in the Premier League on Saturday.

Pogba scored two penalties to give United a 2-1 victory over West Ham at Old Trafford, the second coming shortly after De Gea had denied West Ham a potential winner by palming away a header from Michail Antonio with a superb one-handed save.

It was a much-needed win for United, but it wasn’t a convincing performance as the hosts were outplayed for large spells and benefited from two disputed refereeing decisions. West Ham had a goal disallowed for offside in the first half before the hosts were awarded a soft penalty as Robert Snodgrass was judged to have fouled Juan Mata when the two collided in the area.

“We got away with it, to put it that way,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said. “They deserved to get their goals. But then, it’s allowed to have a good goalkeeper, isn’t it?”

The win ended a run of four losses in five games in all competitions for United and kept Solskjaer’s team two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

Tottenham remained three points ahead of United in third place by beating already relegated Huddersfield 4-0, with Lucas Moura scoring a hat trick.

At the other end of the table, Burnley and Southampton took big steps toward avoiding relegation with crucial victories, while Cardiff inched closer to the drop after a third straight loss.

Chris Wood may well have secured another season in the top flight for Burnley by scoring both goals in a 2-0 home win over Cardiff, a result that leaves the Welsh club five points from safety in 18th place.

Burnley now look safe on 39 points, 11 ahead of Cardiff, while Southampton boosted their chances of staying up by beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-1.

Brighton, though, are still in trouble after being hammered 5-0 at home by Bournemouth to drop to 17th place.

Fulham, who have also been relegated with Huddersfield, earned their first win since January by beating Everton 2-0.