TOPSHOT - Manchester United players celebrate
TOPSHOT - Manchester United players celebrate

United early blitz buries Reds, big night for Socceroos

AN ugly win for Manchester United. An even uglier loss for West Ham.

United scored twice through Marcus Rashford in the opening 24 minutes then produced a gritty, ultra-defensive display to grind out a 2-1 win over fierce rival Liverpool and strengthen second place in the Premier League.

"It was perfect, in relation to what the game gave us," said United manager Jose Mourinho, who won the tactical battle over rival manager Juergen Klopp.

There was as much action in the stands as on the field at West Ham, where home fans invaded the field on two separate occasions to confront players and gathered below the directors' box to force the club's owners to be escorted out in the second half of the 3-0 loss to Burnley.

Young fans were pictured taking refuge in Burnley's dug-out amid the disorder.

"It's well known fans haven't been happy for a long time," said West Ham captain Mark Noble, who grabbed one of the pitch invaders and threw him to the ground in one exchange.

"I'm a human being. I know I'm out on the pitch, under scrutiny, but if someone approaches me I will protect myself."

West Ham stayed just above the relegation zone with its latest heavy defeat - a week after losing 4-1 at fellow relegation rival Swansea - but its Premier League plight is nothing compared to West Bromwich Albion's.

A 4-1 home loss to Leicester left West Brom in last place on 20 points, seven from safety with eight games left.

Maty Ryan produced a world class penalty save to stop Wayne Rooney, but Everton were 2-0 up against Brighton & Hove Albion, while in great news for Bert van Marwijk, Aaron Mooy was back in Huddersfield colours after returning from a knee injury.

Huddersfield Town's Aaron Mooy, left, and Swansea City's Jordan Ayew
Huddersfield Town's Aaron Mooy, left, and Swansea City's Jordan Ayew


Liverpool's players failed to recover from a first half where they were bullied by United and failed to deal with the hosts' direct and aggressive approach. The source of both goals was long clearances by United goalkeeper David De Gea to Romelu Lukaku, whose power and athleticism was too much for marker Dejan Lovren.

Lukaku's flick-on was seized by Rashford, who drove in the first goal in the 14th minute. Then Lovren fell to the ground in an aerial challenge with Lukaku, whose pass into the area was intercepted only for Rashford to sidefoot home the loose ball.

United packed its defense, with wingers Juan Mata and Rashford playing as auxiliary full backs and central midfielders Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay patrolling in front of the defense. Liverpool's top scorer Mohamed Salah had a quiet day, and was thrown to the ground by Chris Smalling at one point. Liverpool dominated possession but could only muster one goal, a spectacular miscued volley by United defender Eric Bailly into his own net in the 66th. United moved five points clear of third-place Liverpool and stayed nine points ahead of Chelsea.


Chelsea prepared for its Champions League trip to Barcelona by beating Crystal Palace 2-1 on Saturday to close the gap on the English Premier League top four to two points.

Palace defender Martin Kelly had an inadvertent hand in both goals. Willian's opener in the 25th minute took a deflection off Kelly. Then an attempt to clear Davide Zappacosta's shot in the 32nd hit goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and came off Kelly again before going over the line.

Former Chelsea academy graduate Patrick van Aanholt pulled one back in the 90th but it was too late for Palace to stave off a fourth successive loss. The south London club remains winless in its last seven games and lodged in the relegation zone.

The struggle for Chelsea is to secure one of the four Champions League places. Tottenham, which plays Bournemouth on Sunday, is two points ahead of Chelsea in fourth place.

Chelsea's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League could rest on winning the competition for a second time. Antonio Conte's side is locked with Barcelona at 1-1 heading into the second leg on Wednesday.


One of the more bizarre scenes during a chaotic second half at the Olympic Stadium was the sight of a man running toward the center circle while holding aloft a corner flag.

More worrying was Noble, clearly enraged, grappling with another pitch invader with no stewards anywhere in range.

It was a return of the crowd disorder that marked the team's first few weeks in the stadium, where it moved in the summer of 2016 on a rented basis after leaving its Upton Park home of 112 years.

West Ham has called an emergency meeting and said it was "committed to taking decisive and appropriate action" after launching a "full and thorough investigation" into the disorder.

The problems started after Ashley Barnes gave Burnley the lead in the 66th minute. Chris Wood added two further goals as West Ham collapsed to be only three points above the relegation zone with eight games left.


West Brom manager Alan Pardew will hold talks with the club's owners after a seventh straight loss in all competitions left the team destined for the second tier.

"They might think a change is a better thing for the club, I don't know," said Pardew.

West Brom took the lead through Salomon Rondon.

Jamie Vardy equalized before Leicester scored second-half goals through Riyad Mahrez, Kelechi Iheanacho and Vicente Iborra.

It is West Brom's worst run of results in 15 years.


Everton eased its relegation concerns by beating 10-man Brighton 2-0 in the English Premier League on Saturday, despite Wayne Rooney missing a penalty.

The hosts took the lead on the hour mark through Gaetan Bong's own goal before Cenk Tosun smashed in a shot off the bar in the 76th minute, the striker's second goal in as many games.

Brighton was reduced to 10 men in the 80th when Anthony Knockaert was given a straight red card for a wild tackle on Leighton Baines.

Rooney had the chance to make it 3-0 with an 88th-minute penalty, but Mathew Ryan saved the spot kick.

Everton moved up to ninth in the Premier League with a third straight win at Goodison Park, and should be safe for another season.

Brighton's five-match unbeaten run ended and it dropped a place to 11th.


Swansea survived with 10 men from the 11th minute to eke out a 0-0 draw with Huddersfield and inch further clear of the Premier League's relegation zone on Saturday.

Jordan Ayew was handed a straight red card for a studs-up lunge on Jonathan Hogg, leaving Swansea a huge task to take anything from John Smith's Stadium. Expectation among the home fans gave way to frustration, however, as the visitors repelled wave after wave of attacks from Huddersfield, whose striker Steve Mounie forced a brilliant reaction save out of Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

Huddersfield Town's Aaron Mooy, left, and Swansea City's Jordan Ayew
Huddersfield Town's Aaron Mooy, left, and Swansea City's Jordan Ayew

Huddersfield winger Tom Ince headed a last-minute chance against a post. Swansea has been beaten only once in its last 14 matches and climbed to 14th, four points above the bottom three. The Welsh club is ahead of Huddersfield on goal difference.



Newcastle boosted their survival bid and kept Southampton in trouble with a 3-0 win at St James' Park, the goals coming from Kenedy's brace and a Matt Ritchie strike.