MANCHESTER, England (AP):
Javier Hernandez sent Manchester United seven points clear at the English Premier League summit by pouncing in the 90th minute to clinch a 4-3 victory over Newcastle, as second-place Manchester City lost at Sunderland yesterday.
At the season's halfway point, United had to come from behind three times in a tumultuous, incident-filled match at Old Trafford, before Hernandez buried the decisive goal.
"Once again they have proved their courage, never gave in - down three times and came back three times and eventually deserved to win the game," United manager Alex Ferguson said.
"Never mind where we are at this moment in time, this was a championship performance."
As United bounced back from Sunday's draw at Swansea, City's three-match winning run came to an end after their former winger, Adam Johnson, gave Sunderland a 1-0 victory over the champions.
Chelsea are now only four points behind City with a game in hand after Juan Mata clinched a 1-0 victory at Norwich.
Tottenham, Everton and West Bromwich Albion are all two points behind Chelsea.
Tottenham moved into the fourth Champions League spot as Gareth Bale scored a second-half hat-trick in a 4-0 rout of Aston Villa. Everton beat Wigan 2-1 and West Brom won by the same score at Queens Park Rangers, which sunk back to the bottom.
Reading moved ahead of QPR on goal difference by holding Swansea 0-0, while Southampton remained out the drop zone ahead of Wigan by drawing 1-1 at Fulham.
Newcastle looked like producing their first win at Old Trafford since 1972, but United's fighting spirit can rarely be supressed.
For the eighth time this season in the league, Alex Ferguson's players came from behind to win and keep a 20th English title in their sights. But there will be lingering concerns about a defence that has now conceded 28 goals in 19 games, compared with 33 in the whole of last season.
United's defence was breached after just four minutes after Michael Carrick gave away possession inside his own half, and goalkeeper David De Gea then parried Demba Ba's strike only for James Perch to put Newcastle in front.
Evans levelled for United in the 25th, sliding the ball into an empty net after Hernandez's shot from Robin van Persie's free-kick was only half-blocked by goalkeeper Tim Krul.
But Evans then scored at the other end three minutes later, inadvertently turning a shot from former United team-mate Danny Simpson into the net.
The goal was initially disallowed by the referee's assistant because Papiss Cisse appeared to be offside, but the decision was over-ruled by referee Mike Dean.