English Soccer: Benayoun scores two in 3-3 draw

17-year-old Ben Sahar makes his third substitute appearance in as many games in Chelsea's 4-0 drubbing of Wigan.

benayoun 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
benayoun 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Yossi Benayoun scored two goals for West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday, but the Hammers twice lost the lead and could only draw 3-3 in a London derby with Fulham, staying in the relegation zone as a result. After Tomasz Radzinski had given Fulham the lead at Upton Park, Bobby Zamora equalized. Benayoun scored a great chip in the 46th minute to make it 2-1 to the Hammers, before USA international Brian McBride leveled. Benayoun scored again in the 64th, beating the keeper before finishing from a tight angle, but after Zamora was sent off for two yellow cards, Philippe Christanval equalized in the 90th. Moments before Fulham's equalizer, Benayoun made a vital intervention at the other end, expertly clearing the ball off the Hammers' goal line. Benayoun was not the only Israeli making an impact in the English Premiership this weekend. Seventeen-year-old striker Ben Sahar made his third substitute appearance in as many games, and his first English Premier League appearance, in Chelsea's 4-0 drubbing of Wigan. Although he did not get on the score sheet, the youngster has clearly become part of Jose Mourinho's plans for the London club. Chelsea's victory was its first league win in four games. Sahar came on for Arjen Robben with eight minutes to go. Frank Lampard, Robben and Didier Drogba scored, while Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland conceded an own goal. Meanwhile, Idan Tal and Tal Ben-Haim both started for Bolton Wanderers in the 0-0 draw with Manchester City at the Reebok Stadium. Manchester United scored three first-half goals to beat Aston Villa 3-1 and stay six points ahead of Chelsea and Arsenal won 2-0 at Blackburn with goals by Kolo Toure and Thierry Henry despite the 13th-minute ejection of Gilberto Silva for kicking out at Robbie Savage. Park Ji-sung, Michael Carrick and Cristiano Ronaldo scored at Old Trafford as Man United beat Villa for the 11th straight time. Henrik Larsson made his league debut for United, partnering Wayne Rooney in attack. But it was Park who scored in the 11th minute and then set up Carrick's first goal for United two minutes later. Carrick then provided the cross for Ronaldo to head his 13th goal of the season, before Gabriel Agbonlahor scored a consolation goal for Villa. "I'm not saying it's going to plan," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "But they are playing with great expression in their game, with great determination, and there's marvelous team spirit there. "There are still 15 games to go and we are in a good position." Beaten 3-1 in the FA Cup and then 6-3 in the League Cup by the Gunners at Anfield in the past week, Liverpool played a 3-4-3 formation and had two goals from Peter Crouch and one from Craig Bellamy in a 3-0 win over Watford at Vicarage Road. "I am convinced this team is more consistent now and is focused on the league," Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said. "We have to play Chelsea and we will see if we can catch them. We will have confidence and it will be difficult but it is possible." Next-to-last Charlton stayed on 16 points despite taking the lead through Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink at The Valley against Middlesborough, one of his former clubs. Middlesborough hit back with goals by Lee Cattermole, Julio Arca and Aiyegbeni Yakubu to win 3-1, climb to 13th place and away from the relegation zone. In the 34th minute at Vicarage Road, a shot by Crouch was blocked by goalkeeper Ben Foster and Steve Finnan passed the ball square for Bellamy to score his eighth goal of the season. Six minutes later, a clearance by Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina was headed on by Dirk Kuyt, and although Foster saved Bellamy's subsequent shot, Crouch headed in the rebound. Crouch scored the third in the 48th on a Liverpool counterattack. Bellamy made a fast break down the left and pulled the ball back for the unmarked Crouch to turn the ball into the net. The Hornets are last after only one victory in 21 league games and have 12 points. Manager Jose Mourinho's future at Chelsea is in doubt after a reported rift with owner Roman Abramovich. "My future is not important," Mourinho said. "My future is tomorrow. My future is the next game and Chelsea is important, not me. "I think people are trying to guess things. People are writing a few truths, that's for sure, but generally most of the things are completely nonsense. We just have to carry on, concentrate on what we have to do. We are alive in four competitions and that is a good situation for us."