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EPL PIX: Wolves beat Manchester United again

April 03, 2019 09:39 IST

IMAGES from the English Premier League matches played on Tuesday

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Diogo Jota celebrates with teammate Raul Jimenez after scoring his team's first goal during their English Premier League match at Molineux in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, on Tuesday

IMAGE: Wolverhampton Wanderers' Diogo Jota celebrates with teammate Raul Jimenez after scoring his team's first goal during their English Premier League match at Molineux in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, on Tuesday. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Wolverhampton Wanderers repeated their FA Cup defeat of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United thanks to a Chris Smalling own goal that gave them a 2-1 comeback win in a pulsating Premier League game on Tuesday.

 

The result left United, who were reduced to 10 men in the second half, fifth on 61 points, behind Tottenham Hotspur on goal difference, denting their hopes of ending the season in the top four and qualifying for next year's Champions League.

The result also gave them plenty to ponder before next week's Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona.

"We created our own downfall really ... But for their keeper, we should have won this game," rued Solskjaer.

Manchester United's Chris Smalling scores an own goal for Wolverhampton Wanderers' second goal 

IMAGE: Manchester United's Chris Smalling scores an own goal for Wolverhampton Wanderers' second goal. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Indeed, United, who went down to 10 men from the 57th minute after Ashley Young was sent off for a second yellow card, had begun brightly.

Romelu Lukaku saw a point-blank header saved by Rui Patricio, before Scottish midfielder Scott McTominay swept home a low 13th-minute shot from outside the box to make it 1-0. It was his first goal in 41 appearances for the club in all competitions.

Undaunted and fielding a strong team despite the distraction of an FA Cup semi-final against Watford on Sunday, Wolves quickly settled down on a cold and raucous night at Molineux and began creating plenty of chances of their own. 

Portuguese striker Diogo Jota hit a deserved equaliser from close range in the 25th minute after a nervy-looking Fred had lost control and Raul Jimenez threaded the ball into the area.

Manchester United's Ashley Young is shown the red card by referee Mike Dean 

IMAGE: Manchester United's Ashley Young is shown the red card by referee Mike Dean. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

But the game turned on right back Young's sending off for a second yellow card after a reckless hack on Jota. That enabled Wolves to pour forward, and in the 77th minute they got the winner when Smalling inadvertently prodded the ball over his own line after a goalmouth scramble.

"To do it twice against such an amazing team … I'm pleased for the fans and the boys," said Wolves' jubilant coach Nuno Espirito Santo who celebrated with the crowd, pumping his fist, at the end.

"United began the game very well ... We reacted well ... It's not easy to play against Man United. There's no secret. Work."

Wolves, who came up from the Championship last year, are seventh in the Premier League on 47 points, a dream position for their fans.

Fulham relegated after Watford thrashing

Fulham's Calum Chambers and Maxime Le Marchand wear a dejected look after their team were relegated after a 4-1 loss to Watford FC at Vicarage Road in Watford

IMAGE: Fulham's Calum Chambers and Maxime Le Marchand wear a dejected look after their team were relegated after a 4-1 loss to Watford FC at Vicarage Road in Watford. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Fulham were relegated from the Premier League after collapsing to a 4-1 defeat at Watford on Tuesday, a result which left them 16 points adrift of the safety zone with five games remaining.

The West London side, owned by American businessman Shahid Khan, return to the second-tier Championship just a season after winning the promotion playoffs.

They go down with HuddersfieldTown, who on Saturday became only the second team to be relegated from the Premier League before the end of March.

The third relegation spot is currently occupied by CardiffCity but Burnley, Southampton and Brighton & Hove Albion are all just five points above the Welsh side.

Fulham went into the game knowing they had to avoid defeat to extend their battle against the drop but Abdoulaye Doucoure put Watford ahead in the 23rd minute with a superb left-foot strike from the edge of the box after bursting from midfield.

Fulham, who have not won away all season, fought back to score through Ryan Babel 10 minutes later, the Dutchman latching on to a pass from Ryan Sessegnon and rounding keeper Ben Foster before slotting home.

But after Will Hughes restored Watford's lead in the 63rd minute with a thundering volley from the edge of the box, Fulham fell to pieces.

Troy Deeney made it 3-1 with a tap-in six minutes later and Kiko Femenia added the fourth in the 75th to complete Fulham's misery.

Fulham were promoted to the top flight after beating Aston Vila in the playoff final but despite Khan investing an estimated 100 million pounds ($131.32 million) in new players, the biggest spend by any promoted club, they struggled from the outset with manager Slavisa Jokanovic sacked in mid-November.

Italian Claudio Ranieri was brought in but failed to turn things around for the West London club and was also sacked, on Feb. 28, with former player Scott Parker taking over.

"Obviously bitterly disappointed, devastated for the football club and fans," Parker told the BBC.

"We always knew it was a tough ask. It's the way we lost the game which was most disappointing for me."

Asked where the season had gone wrong, 38-year-old former England midfielder Parker was reluctant to offer an explanation.

"I think in the initial reaction - I have ideas of (where it went wrong) but it's not the time to broadcast it. When a club gets relegated you know there are some serious issues.

"At this moment in time, I'm not thinking anything. Just pure disappointment," he said.

But Fulham's US defender Tim Ream slammed their approach.

"We haven't shown a togetherness, unity, desire, passion. We've shown it in bits and pieces in the first half then go dead and flat.

"What we do in the match is a product of what we do between Monday to Friday," he said

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