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EPL PIX: Man United end City's run; Liverpool lose

Last updated on: March 08, 2021 09:35 IST
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Images from the English Premier League matches played on Sunday.

IMAGE: Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring Manchester United's first goal from the penalty during their Premier League match against Manchester City at Etihad Stadium in Manchester, on Sunday. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Manchester City's 21-match winning streak was ended by rivals Manchester United as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side enjoyed a 2-0 Premier League derby victory at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

 

United won thanks to an early penalty from Bruno Fernandes and a second-half strike from Luke Shaw with the result narrowing City's lead at the top of the table to 11 points over United with 10 games remaining. It was City's first defeat in all competitions since Nov. 21.

Pep Guardiola's side may prove to be uncatchable in the title race but United will take real belief for next season from a deserved victory.

Solskjaer is starting to become something of a nemesis for Guardiola -- this was the Norwegian's fourth derby victory since he took over at Old Trafford in December 2018.

City were stunned after 34 seconds when referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the penalty spot after Gabriel Jesus had brought down Anthony Martial just inside the box.

Fernandes took the penalty with Ederson getting his right hand to the shot which squeezed in the corner to give the visitors the lead.

Shaw had a great chance to double their advantage shortly after the opener but the fullback shot straight at Ederson from a good position in the box.

City had an appeal for a penalty turned down when Raheem Sterling tangled with Fred in the area and Riyad Mahrez went close just before the break.

After the interval, Rodri went closest to a leveller with a side-footed shot from the edge of the box which struck the top of the post.

Yet it was some smart thinking from United's goalkeeper Dean Henderson, deputising again for David De Gea, that undid City for the second goal.

Henderson threw a clever and fast ball out to Shaw on the left, who burst past two City defenders and, after a swift exchange with Marcus Rashford, drove into the bottom far-corner.

Martial should have made it 3-0 when he found himself clear on goal after good work from Scott McTominay but he shot straight at Ederson.

City had some moments in the final stages -- substitute Phil Foden's shot on the turn flashed wide and Sterling mis-kicked from close range -- but they never found the strutting dominance of their recent wins.

IMAGE: Luke Shaw, left, scores the second goal for Manchester United. Photograph: Dave Thompson - Pool/Getty Images

United were solid at the back and crucially closed down the space behind the front line, where City tend to dominate, with McTominay and Fred taking charge of that zone.

Yet Solskjaer's side, especially in the second half, also attacked with intensity and purpose with Martial delivering one of his most productive all-round performances.

"They are difficult on the ball and tough to play against. Today we did almost everything perfect," said Fernandes.

"Scoring in the first minute was perfect, we had more space to counter. We remained focused until the end of the game. When we defend well we know we'll have chances to score," he said.

As for the title race, Fernandes clearly has not given up hope just yet.

"The league is not a sprint. It's a marathon. We have to do our best and not think about others," he said.

Guardiola was generous in his assessment of his cross-city rivals.

"It was a fantastic game. United make incredibly high pressing and they are so fast on the counter. We played good. Unfortunately we couldn't be clinical up front so we congratulate United," he said.

"We will be the news because we lost. But the news is 21 victories in a row. There are still 30 points to play and we have to start to win again."

Kane and Bale fire Tottenham to 4-1 win over Palace

IMAGE: Gareth Bale scores the second goal for Tottenham Hotspur past Crystal Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Two goals apiece from Harry Kane and Gareth Bale helped a resurgent Tottenham Hotspur to beat Crystal Palace 4-1 and move into sixth spot in the Premier League on Sunday.

The on-loan Bale provided further evidence that he has rediscovered his former spark by scoring Tottenham's first and second goals either side of Christian Benteke's equaliser on the stroke of halftime.

But despite taking his tally to six goals in his last six appearances, Bale was outshone by the magnificent Kane who ended with two goals and two assists.

Kane's first goal, which put Tottenham 3-1 ahead shortly after halftime, was a sublime curler from distance and his second was a tap-in before he was substituted.

Tottenham's third successive league win lifted them above Liverpool and West Ham with 45 points from 27 games, two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea who play Everton on Monday.

Palace's first defeat in four games left them in 13th place with 34 points from 28 games, eight points above third-from-bottom Fulham.

When Bale returned on loan in September the thought of him playing in tandem with Kane was exciting but until recently the Welshman had struggled for fitness and form.

The pair, though, were unstoppable on Sunday.

"He's fantastic, an incredible striker. He showed that again tonight and he has been so consistent," Bale said.

"It was a fantastic performance again from him and we are lucky to have him here."

IMAGE: Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring Manchester United's first goal from the penalty during their Premier League match against Manchester City at Etihad Stadium in Manchester, on Sunday. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

In the 25th minute Lucas Moura worked hard to create a turnover on the edge of the Palace area and fed Kane whose ball across the area was perfect for Bale to tap home.

Tottenham were in control but they were pegged back just before halftime when Luka Milivojevic's pinpoint cross saw Benteke bullet a header past Hugo Lloris.

Palace were boosted by the arrival of Wilfried Zaha as a halftime substitute, after he missed a month with a hamstring injury, but Tottenham, rather than being deflated, began the second half in devastating fashion.

A flowing move in which Bale was twice involved ended with Kane heading a cross back across goal for Bale to nod past Vicente Guaita.

Three minutes later Kane produced an astonishing finish from Matt Doherty's pass, hitting an outswinging right-footer into the far top corner from outside the area.

Zaha hit the post for Palace but Kane then grabbed his 16th goal of the season with a close-range header after an unselfish volleyed assist by Son Heung-min from a chipped pass by substitute Erik Lamela.

Liverpool slump to home defeat by Fulham

IMAGE: Fulham's players celebrate winning their match against Liverpool at Anfield, on Sunday. Photograph: Phil Noble - Pool/Getty Images

Liverpool slumped to a club-record extending sixth consecutive home league defeat as they lost 1-0 to Fulham after a first-half goal by Mario Lemina in the Premier League on Sunday.

The defeat by the relegation-threatened visitors marks the first time since the 1953-54 season that the Reds have lost six games at Anfield in a league campaign.

Liverpool stay seventh on 43 points, four points off fourth-placed Chelsea having played a game more. Fulham remain in the bottom three on 26 points after 28 games but now only trail 17th-placed Brighton & Hove Albion on goal difference.

Juergen Klopp made seven changes to the Liverpool side that lost 1-0 at home to Chelsea on Thursday but it made little difference as Lemina outmuscled Mohamed Salah on the edge of the box to take possession before lashing home in the 45th minute.

Liverpool's fortunes were summed up when unmarked substitute Sadio Mane had a great opportunity to equalise in the 80th but mistimed his downward header and the opening came to nothing.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp reacts 

IMAGE: Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp reacts. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Pool via Reuters

Klopp dismissed suggestions Fulham were more up for the game than his reigning champions, who have looked a shadow of the team that romped to the title last season.

"The winner is always right. My boys wanted it. It's easy to judge, they (Fulham) have won it, so wanted it more. I don’t think that’s the problem," he told Sky Sports before giving a more damning assessment in the post-match media conference.

"It was not good enough. We conceded a goal, didn't score, lost the game, it was not good enough," he added.

Liverpool had the lion's share of the ball but yet again failed to convert possession into chacnes as Fulham's defence worked hard to prevent the home side from penetrating.

As Liverpool poured forward late on, Joachim Andersen threw himself to block a late Andy Robertson cross and, though the Reds earned a number of set pieces, Scott Parker's side held on to grab three valuable points in the battle against relegation.

"The second half, you don't plan it to go like that, but we showed another side to us - character, resilience and doggedness. I'm very proud of the team today," Parker told Sky Sports.

Struggling West Brom held by Newcastle

West Bromwich Albion's Conor Gallagher and Newcastle United's Joseph Willock in an aerial battle

IMAGE: West Bromwich Albion's Conor Gallagher and Newcastle United's Joseph Willock in an aerial battle for possession during their match at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich. Photograph: Nick Potts/Pool via Reuters

West Bromwich Albion's hopes of avoiding relegation were dented as they missed several chances in a 0-0 draw at home to fellow strugglers Newcastle United in the Premier League on Sunday.

The result left West Brom second-bottom on 18 points from 28 games, eight from the safety area, while Newcastle stayed four points above the drop zone in 16th on 27 from as many matches.

West Brom's defiant boss Sam Allardyce urged his team to keep battling as he praised their newly-found defensive grit, although he conceded they lacked edge up front.

"The players need to keep their chins up and play like they are playing," he told the BBC. "The only thing missing is converting the chances we create. We have got the defensive side of it spot on now.

"The players have to keep doing what they are doing and try and be determined enough to try and change the scoreline themselves by putting the ball in the back of the net.

"We certainly had enough chances to accumulate 12 points in the last few games and not just four."

Newcastle had the upper hand early on as they staged several fast breaks and only a superb clearance by Darnell Furlong from a Joelinton cross denied Ryan Fraser a close-range tap in.

Jonjo Shelvey also came close for the visitors in the 30th minute when Sam Johnstone had to keep out his deflected shot from inside the penalty area with a reflex save.

The hosts then spurned a pair of sitters either side of halftime as Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka tipped away Mbaye Diagne's header before Matthew Phillips blazed a shot over the bar from eight metres.

Home keeper Johnstone then turned Joe Willock's shot around the post on the hour before the pace dropped in the closing stages, with Newcastle holding out comfortably as West Brom applied some late pressure.

Visiting under-pressure manager Steve Bruce was confident his side would stay in the top flight.

"Eleven games to go, we've done OK," he said. "The last five or six games there's only been Chelsea and Manchester United that have beaten us. We will take a point and move on.

"I was delighted with their attitude and spirit. We showed a real desire to get something out of the game. In terms of the problems we've had, it was important."

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