LONDON: Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney were both sent off as Manchester United slumped to a sensational 2-0 defeat at Fulham that has blown the English Premier League title race wide open.

A Danny Murphy penalty and Zoltan Gera’s late strike sealed the points for Fulham.

But United played as great a role in its own downfall, with Scholes ordered off after only 18 minutes for the goalline handball that allowed Murphy to open the scoring.

Rooney, who only came on as a second-half substitute, was given his marching orders moments after Gera’s 87th-minute strike, earning his second yellow card for petulantly protesting a decision.

Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat at Tottenham ensured the damage from the defeat was not as great as it might have been.

United’s slip-up ensured that Chelsea’s first defeat under temporary manager Guus Hiddink was particularly frustrating.

Luka Modric made the difference, finishing off Aaron Lennon’s clever cutback five minutes after half-time.

Elsewhere, Peter Crouch dealt a severe blow to Everton’s prospects of mounting a late challenge for a top four finish with both goals as Portsmouth came from behind to secure a precious 2-1 win.

The results: Blackburn Rovers 1 (Keith Andrews 51) drew with West Ham United 1 (Mark Noble 35); Fulham 2 (Danny Murphy 18-pen, Zoltan Gera 87) bt Manchester United 0; Stoke City 1 (Ryan Shawcross 84) bt Middlesbrough 0; West Bromwich Albion 1 (Danny Shittu 82og) drew with Bolton Wanderers 1 (Matthew Taylor 67); Portsmouth 2 (Peter Crouch 22, 75) bt Everton 1 (Leighton Baines 4); Tottenham 1 (Modric 50) bt Chelsea 0. — Agencies

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