Man U, Chelsea rely on strokes of fortune
LIVERPOOL, England (AP):
Manchester United and Chelsea needed fortunate goals to maintain their status as the closest challengers to rampant leader Manchester City in the English Premier League yesterday.
Ashley Young's long-range shot looped up off a defender and spun into the far corner to earn second-place United a 1-0 win over Brighton, for their eighth consecutive victory at Old Trafford.
Chelsea claimed only a point from a 1-1 draw at Liverpool in the day's standout game, and again there was luck involved, substitute Willian's attempted cross to the far post soaring into the top corner for an 85th-minute equaliser.
Still, it was another good day for City, even though the leaders were not playing until Sunday at Huddersfield.
United might have moved five points behind, but the Anfield draw saw two more possible title rivals drop points, while Tottenham's travails at Wembley Stadium continued with a 1-1 draw against lowly West Bromwich Albion.
There were also wins for Watford and Crystal Palace.
With United struggling to break through Brighton's defence, they found inspiration from an unlikely source in left back Young. The utility player picked up a clearance on the edge of the box and shot into the top corner, via the sprawling Lewis Dunk.
"It's taken a deflection," said Young, who disagreed with the award of an own goal. "You know, it was going on target, so I'll be claiming that."
Brighton, who had been undefeated in their previous five league games, gave United one of their toughest challenges this season and were punished for failing to take their chances.
"I want to be honest and give them what they deserve, for me probably they deserve more than the result they got," United manager JosÈ Mourinho said.
For United, the 39th home game in all competitions without defeat set a club record. The last loss at home was in September 2016 to Manchester City.
SALAH SCORES AGAIN
Chelsea were nearly left embarrassed by another former player.
Two months ago, it was Kevin De Bruyne discarded prematurely by then-Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho in 2014 scoring the winner against the Blues for Manchester City.
Mo Salah was at Chelsea around the same period and made just six league starts before being sent on loan by Mourinho to Fiorentina and then Roma, which he eventually joined on a permanent deal. Chelsea might be regretting it.
Salah scored his 15th goal of the season, in just 20 appearances, when he ran into Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's pass and slotted home in the 65th. He is the league's top scorer on 10 goals and must go down as the signing of the summer.
Results: Crystal Palace 2 Stoke City 1; Manchester United 1 Brighton 0; Newcastle 0 Watford 3; Swansea City 0 Bournemouth 0; Tottenham 1 West Brom 1; Liverpool 1 Chelsea 1.