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Newcastle, Liverpool Waste Chances

February 29, 2004

LONDON (AP) _ Premier League teams Newcastle and Liverpool wasted chances Sunday in their bids for fourth place, the final qualifying spot for next season’s Champions League.

Liverpool tied last-place Leeds 2-2, and Newcastle tied Portsmouth 1-1. In the League Cup final, Middlesbrough won its first major title in its 128-year history, defeating Bolton 2-1 in Cardiff, Wales.

Newcastle remained in fourth place but failed to strengthen its position. Undefeated Arsenal leads with 67 points followed by Chelsea and Manchester United with 58. Newcastle improved to 42, with Charlton at 40 and Liverpool at 39.

Middlesbrough won the League Cup after three straight losses in recent cup finals _ 1997 in the FA Cup and in ’97 and ’98 in League Cup. Bolton last won a major trophy in 1958.

The League Cup is England’s No. 2 cup competition behind the FA Cup, with the winner assured a place next season in the UEFA Cup. Many of England’s bigger teams regard the tournament lightly, preferring to focus on the FA Cup, the league and European competitions.

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