Newcastle shock Man City Liverpool’s title chances get a boost

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 31 Jan 2019 11:52:44


New Castle,

Manchester City handed the advantage firmly to Liverpool in the Premier League title race as they surrendered the lead in a stunning 2-1 loss away to Newcastle United on Tuesday. Pep Guardiola’s second-placed side looked likely to keep the pressure on Jurgen Klopp’s leaders as Sergio Aguero got them off to an ideal start in the Spaniard’s 100th league game in charge by scoring the fastest goal of the season just seconds into the action at St James’ Park.
But Newcastle staged an unlikely comeback to ease their relegation fears thanks to Salomon Rondon’s 66th-minute equaliser, the first goal City had conceded for more than 10 hours, before Matt Ritchie struck the winner from the penalty spot with 10 minutes remaining after Fernandinho’s foul on youngster Sean Longstaff.

It means Liverpool, who could have been only a point ahead of their main rivals on their return to action, can extend their lead at the top to an imposing seven points with victory over Leicester at Anfield on Wednesday.
Such a scenario looked unlikely when Aguero continued his amazing scoring record against the Tyneside club with his 15th goal in 13 games against the Magpies, more than any player has scored against an opponent for a single club in the Premier League.

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez made no apologies for setting out to ‘park the bus’ against free-scoring opponents, even at home, but the Spaniard’s plans to frustrate Guardiola’s side were left in tatters when the visitors took the lead with their first attack.
United failed to deal with Raheem Sterling’s centre from the right, and although David Silva slipped as he met the cross at the far post, the midfielder did enough to redirect the ball into the path of the lurking Aguero, who found the net for the third successive match with a close-range finish past goalkeeper Martin Dubravka when there were just 24 seconds on the clock.

The Argentina international was denied a second inside opening 20 minutes when he deftly glanced home Kevin De Bruyne quickly-taken free-kick, only for play to be brought back as the midfielder was cautioned for curling in the set-piece before referee Paul Tierney had signalled play could recommence.

United hold Burnley: Manchester United preserved Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s unbeaten start as manager with two goals in the final five minutes of a dramatic 2-2 draw against Burnley on Tuesday.

The result ended Solskjaer’s perfect streak of eight successive victories since the Norwegian took over from the sacked Jose Mourinho before Christmas.
But Solskjaer remains unbloodied in his interim spell after Ashley Young sent over a 92nd-minute cross, Alexis Sanchez’s header was saved by Tom Heaton and defender Victor Lindelof pounced to net the last-gasp equaliser at Old Trafford.

Earlier, Solskjaer’s magical touch seemed to have deserted him when Andreas Pereira, handed just the third league start of his career by the manager, gifted Burnley an opening goal after 51 minutes when he received a pass from teammate Phil Jones and was immediately dispossessed by Burnley’s Jack Cork.
The midfielder’s through ball quickly played Ashley Barnes into space in the United area and his devastating shot gave David de Gea no chance as it soared into the roof of the net.

After 80 minutes, and the latest in a series of disappointing misses from Marcus Rashford, Burnley doubled their lead when Ashley Westwood was allowed space to cross from the right and the unmarked Chris Wood headed in from six yards.
United ensured a thrilling finale three minutes from time when Jeff Hendrick was judged to have brought down Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba stroked in the penalty. Pogba then produced a magnificent shot that appeared destined for the top corner until Heaton made a stunning save.
But United’s pressure was rewarded by Lindelof in the final moments. United stay sixth and sit two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who have a game in hand in the race to qualify for the Champions League.
Just nine minutes had gone when Pogba played through Rashford, who exchanged passes with Romelu Lukaku only to roll his shot well wide from a hugely promising position.
- Endeavour -

It looked like being the start of another successful outing for Solskjaer and his team, but Burnley, vastly improved in recent weeks under Sean Dyche, clearly had other ideas.
Jones was required to make a superbly-timed tackle to deny Barnes as he lined up a cross from Dwight McNeil.
And although United ended the first half looking in control, all too often, they ran out of ideas in the final third.
Pogba had the ball in the net after 38 minutes only for the goal to be ruled out for an obvious offside, while Juan Mata shot wide from long range.

Mata, again, tried his luck from just inside the area with an effort that was well saved by Heaton, who did likewise moments later from Pogba’s curling effort.
The shock of falling behind certainly did not dull United’s attacking endeavour, with Rashford first forcing Heaton into a parried save from 25 yards and then driving a low shot just wide of the post.

In what was becoming an open and entertaining affair, the impressive Burnley youngster McNeil responded with a spectacular 30-yard strike that brought an equally brilliant punched save from de Gea.

Solskjaer responded by sending on Lingard, another player the United manager had opted to rest, who replaced the hapless Pereira and was quickly followed by the introduction of Sanchez as United chased the game.
The pressure predictably mounted thereafter, with Heaton making a breathtaking save at the foot of his post after Lukaku had appeared to have flicked in Young’s near-post cross after 66 minutes.