Soccer-Gallas strikes late as Arsenal hold United

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LONDON, Nov 3 (Reuters) William Gallas scored a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser to give Arsenal a 2-2 draw with Manchester United today that kept his side top of the Premier League.

The French defender, who had given United the lead with an own goal in first-half stoppage time, rescued an Arsenal side who were heading for defeat after Cristiano Ronaldo put the champions 2-1 up from close range eight minutes from time.

Arsenal, who were rewarded for persevering in a tense encounter, stay top of the table with 27 points from their 11 matches. United remain second on 27 points from 12 games, having scored fewer goals.

The draw at the Emirates Stadium was Arsenal's 25th match in all competitions without defeat, a club record.

United made the better start and went ahead at the very end of the first half when Gallas turned the ball past his own goalkeeper Manuel Almunia as he tried to block a close-range shot from England striker Wayne Rooney.

Arsenal were level however within three minutes of the second half with Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas scoring his 11th goal of the season.

United's Dutch keeper Edwin van der Sar appeared to have done enough to block a shot from Emmanuel Adebayor, but the ball ran free to right back Bacary Sagna whose quick ball gave Fabregas time and space to pick his spot in the bottom corner.

Ronaldo then looked to have won it for United with a cool finish after a sweet passing move involving substitute Louis Saha and Patrice Evra split the Arsenal defence wide open.

But Gallas made up for his own goal in stoppage time, with the captain steering the ball across the line and getting the goal awarded, despite the ball being whipped back.

REUTERS RAR AS2115

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