United step up title challenge

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MANCHESTER UNITED took a significant step towards the Premier League championship with a startling 5-0 win over Coventry City in the bank holiday football programme.

With their 19-year-old prodigy, Ryan Giggs, putting them in front after six minutes, United made up ground on the leaders, Norwich, who missed a penalty in a goalless draw against the champions, Leeds United. Aston Villa moved up to third, level on points with United, as Dean Saunders' penalty gave them a 1-0 victory over Arsenal.

England's cricketers, meanwhile, flew out for their three-month tour of India on the day that Pakistan's fast bowler, Aqib Javed, became the first player to be suspended for dissent in an international game. Aqib, who swore at the New Zealand umpire Brian Aldridge after having an appeal rejected in the one-day international against New Zealand at Napier, received a one-match ban.

Martin Pipe, the champion National Hunt trainer, saddled the first four horses home in the day's big race, the Welsh National at Chepstow. It was the biggest single-handed success in a major race since Michael Dickinson sent out the first five home in the 1983 Cheltenham Gold Cup.