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Fabregas comes to the rescue of Arsenal

Middlesbrough and West Bromwich post identical wins

— Photo: AFP

THE SAVIOUR: Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas spared Arsenal the blushes by scoring the equaliser in the dying minutes against Sunderland.

LONDON: Arsenal saved itself from a second straight embarrassing Premier League defeat with a last-gasp equaliser at Sunderland on Saturday.

Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas rescued the Gunners with an injury-time header in a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light just minutes after the host took the lead and seemed set for a shock victory.

Meanwhile, Middlesbrough won 1-0 at Wigan and West Bromwich beat visitor Fulham by the same scoreline.

Grant Leadbitter scored an 86th-minute goal for Sunderland, two minutes after replacing veteran Dwight Yorke. The 22-year-old midfielder crashed a shot which hit the Gunners’ crossbar before bouncing down over the line. Arsenal lost 2-1 at home to Hull last weekend and seemed set for a second defeat to lesser opposition.

But Fabregas salvaged a draw with an impressive header that left the Gunners on 13 points, one behind the leaders Chelsea and Liverpool ahead of Sunday’s matches.

Arsenal thought it should have taken the lead earlier when Theo Walcott cut the ball back for Robin van Persie to score, but the match officials ruled the ball had gone out of play.

At the JJB Stadium, former Gunners striker Jeremie Aliadiere scored a last-ditch goal of his own, his 89th-minute effort the only goal of the game as visitor Middlesbrough beat Wigan. Aliadiere got on the end of a Stuart Downing header and beat goalkeeper Ross Turnbull with a left-footed finish from the centre of the penalty area.

Bednar strikes

Meanwhile, Roman Bednar’s 61st-minute goal at the Hawthorns was enough to see off visitor Fulham.

The results: Sunderland 1 (Leadbitter 86) drew with Arsenal 1 (Fabregas 90+2); West Bromwich 1 (Bednar 61) beat Fulham 0; Wigan 0 lost to Middlesbrough 1 (Aliadiere 89). — Agencies

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