Man United's burden grows after defeat at Stoke

LONDON (AP) -- Manchester United lost 2-1 at relegation-threatened Stoke in the Premier League on Saturday, leaving the defending champions with a huge task to finish in position for the Champions League.

United entered the game buoyed by the arrival of Juan Mata. Instead, the seventh-place club was sent to its eighth defeat of the season. Liverpool holds the fourth and final Champions League place and could go nine points ahead of its fierce rival by beating West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

Charlie Adam scored both of Stoke's goals at Britannia Stadium. Robin van Persie had tied the score for United.

United's day was complicated by first-half injuries to Jonny Evans and Phil Jones, forcing them to leave. This was Stoke's first win over United in the Premier League and first since 1984.

''I don't know what we have to do to win,'' United manager David Moyes said.

Everton rallied past Aston Villa 2-1 and climbed to fifth above Tottenham, which drew 1-1 at Hull.

Cardiff pulled out of last place by scoring two goals in 73 seconds at the start of the second half to defeat Norwich 2-1. That left Fulham, which was overwhelmed 3-0 at home to Southampton, two points behind in last place.

West Ham completes the bottom three even though it beat Swansea 2-0. Sunderland earned a second straight 3-0 win at Newcastle.


MADRID (AP) - Barcelona stumbled to a 3-2 home loss against Valencia, giving Atletico Madrid a chance to move into sole possession of first place in the Spanish league.

Barcelona's decision not to sign a defender during the January transfer window may have backfired after Valencia took advantage of a lethargic effort by its hosts at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona led through Alexis Sanchez's eighth-minute goal but Dani Parejo tied it for Valencia before the break. Pablo Piatti's header put Valencia in front before Lionel Messi's penalty kick - and first league goal since September - evened it again. But Barcelona's defense let Sofiane Feghouli burst free into the area to set up Paco Alcacer's 59th-minute winner.

Barcelona played with 10 men from the 78th after Jodi Alba's second yellow card.

Former Spain coach Luis Aragones, who once coached Barcelona and died Saturday, was honored at the game.

The defeat means Atletico can take over sole possession of first for the first time this season if it does not lose at home to Real Sociedad on Sunday. Real Madrid can also overtake its greatest rival with a victory at fourth-place Athletic Bilbao.

Atletico and Barcelona have 54 points while Madrid has 53.


BERLIN (AP) - Kevin-Prince Boateng scored in the 81st minute for Schalke, which beat Wolfsburg 2-1 and moved into fourth place in the Bundesliga. Hamburger SV's troubles grew with a 3-0 loss at Hoffenheim.

Boateng's goal restored the home team's lead after Maximilian Arnold tied it for 10-man Wolfsburg in the 65th. Felipe Santana opened the scoring in the ninth minute.

Bayer Leverkusen came from behind and downed Stuttgart 2-1 to consolidate second place. Mainz defeated Freiburg 2-0, and Augsburg beat 10-man Werder Bremen 3-1.


PARIS (AP) - Monaco scored a late goal to draw 2-2 at Lorient but lost ground to Paris Saint-Germain in the French title race.

Monaco slipped five points behind PSG, which beat Bordeaux 2-0 on Friday. Substitute Layvin Kurzawa rescued a point for Monaco with a low strike with three minutes left.

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