United win hot-tempered battle

Published: Monday | September 24, 2012 Comments 0
Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny (bottom centre) celebrates with jubilant teammates after scoring against Manchester City during their English Premier League soccer match at The Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England, yesterday. - AP
Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny (bottom centre) celebrates with jubilant teammates after scoring against Manchester City during their English Premier League soccer match at The Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England, yesterday. - AP
Referee Mark Halsey (right) gives Liverpool's Jonjo Shelvey (second left) a red card during their English Premier League soccer match at Anfield in Liverpool, England, yesterday. - AP
Referee Mark Halsey (right) gives Liverpool's Jonjo Shelvey (second left) a red card during their English Premier League soccer match at Anfield in Liverpool, England, yesterday. - AP

Arsenal earn draw at City

LONDON (AP):

Robin van Persie ended Manchester United's five-year wait for a win at Liverpool yesterday; and Arsenal maintained their unbeaten start to the Premier League season with a draw at Manchester City.

Van Persie converted a late penalty kick to clinch a 2-1 victory at Anfield after both teams had paid tribute to the victims of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster before the game.

United were a man up from the 39th minute when Jonjo Shelvey was sent off, but Steven Gerrard managed to give Liverpool the lead with a volley at the start of the second half - only for Rafael da Silva to equalise.

And Van Persie's winner prolonged Liverpool's worst start to a season in more than a century, while lifting United to second.

City are three points further back after Joleon Lescott headed the champions ahead in the first half, but then failed to clear a late corner, allowing Laurent Koscielny to recover a 1-1 draw for Arsenal.

Also yesterday, Jermain Defoe's winner gave Tottenham a 2-1 win against Queens Park Rangers and Demba Ba gave Newcastle a 1-0 victory over Norwich.

The day's action began with an emotionally charged meeting of English football's fiercest rivals as Liverpool played at Anfield for the first time since the release of a report into the Hillsborough tragedy that exposed the police cover-up and exonerated Reds fans.

In a show of unity before kickoff, Liverpool and United players wore tracksuit tops featuring the number 96 - the amount of Reds fans crushed to death 23 years ago.

Reformed suarez

Luis Suarez even shook hands with Patrick Evra, with no repeat of the snub that followed the Liverpool striker being banned for racially abusing the United defender in the Anfield fixture last October.

But by the end of the game there had been chants from a small number of Liverpool fans about the 1958 Munich disaster which killed eight United players. And, despite prematch appeals from manager Alex Ferguson, there were taunts from United fans directed at the home support.

The usual hostilities had started to rage after Shelvey was sent off for launching himself at Jonny Evans, who Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers felt should also have been dismissed.

"I think both players' feet are off the floor," he said.

There was also a heated exchange of words between Shelvey and Ferguson, who later said: "He was trying to blame me."

There was an apology - of sorts - from Shelvey later.

"I have also apologised to Sir Alex, just where I come from people don't grass people up to get someone sent off," Shelvey wrote on Twitter.

Gerrard put Liverpool in front within 50 seconds of the second half, after smoothly bringing the ball down with his chest before volleying into the net.

But within five minutes, Shinji Kagawa fed Rafael to curl the ball beyond goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

Pleased with victory

And with 10 minutes to go, United winger Antonio Valencia was brought down by Glen Johnson in the penalty area and Van Persie netted despite Reina getting a touch to the spot kick.

"With the occasion and the emotions involved, we just wanted to come here, get the job done and get out with the three points," Ferguson said. "We have done that so, we are well pleased. You can get really involved and sometimes the emotion of the occasion can affect you."

At City, David Silva's corner was headed past goalkeeper Vito Mannone, playing in place of the injured Wojciech Szczesny, five minutes before half-time by Lescott.

Santi Cazorla had only just given City goalkeeper Joe Hart his first meaningful save to make when he took the corner that Lescott diverted to Koscielny, who blasted in the leveller in the 82nd.

"I don't know if we lost our concentration, but it's strange," City manager Roberto Mancini said. "We had the game under control."

At White Hart Lane, former Tottenham striker Bobby Zamora gave QPR a half-time lead, but Alejandro Faurlin's own goal on the hour handed the initiative to the hosts.

Inside a minute, Defoe tapped in eighth-place Tottenham's winner.

Tottenham are level on points with Newcastle, which relied on Ba's third goal in two games to ensure Norwich are still yet to win this season.

CHELSEA 1 STOKE CITY 0

GOAL: CHELSEA: COLE 85th.

Ashley Cole was the unlikely hero as Chelsea scored a dramatic late winner to breach Stoke's resistance. The England defender stole in with five minutes left to prod in Juan Mata's flick and keep Chelsea three points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

Stoke threatened to cause an upset when Jonathan Walters headed onto Cech's crossbar before half-time.

SOUTHAMPTON 4 ASTON VILLA 1

GOALS: SOUTHAMPTON: LAMBERT 58th, 90th PEN, CLYNE 63rd CLARK 72nd OG. ASTON VILLA: BENT 36th.

Southampton secured their first league victory of the season, thanks to four second-half goals against Aston Villa. Villa, looking for a first away win since January, took the lead through a Darren Bent toe poke from two yards. Rickie Lambert levelled when he found the bottom corner and Nathaniel Clyne put Saints ahead by neatly finishing a fine Gaston Ramirez pass.

Jason Puncheon's effort went in via defender Ciaran Clark and Lambert then added the fourth from the penalty spot - his 26th conversion from 26 penalty kicks for Southampton.

SWANSEA CITY 0 EVERTON 3

GOALS: EVERTON: ANICHEBE 21st, MIRALLAS 43rd, FELLAINI 82nd.

Everton ended Swansea City's unbeaten home record with a dominant display of power and precision in South Wales. Victor Anichebe gave Everton a controversial opener when he volleyed home after a suspicion of handball from Marouane Fellaini in the build-up.

Kevin Mirallas finished a sweeping move on the second attempt to double the lead in a one-sided first half. Fellaini headed a third after Nathan Dyer's red card.

WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1

READING 0

GOAL: WBA: LUKAKU 71st.

Romelu Lukaku struck on his full debut as West Brom deservedly continued their excellent start to the season at the expense of struggling Reading. Lukaku collected Shane Long's knock down before beating Alex McCarthy from 18 yards with 14 minutes remaining. Jonas Olsson had earlier hit the post and McCarthy twice denied James Morrison as West Brom dominated.

WEST HAM UNITED 1

SUNDERLAND 1

GOALS: WEST HAM: NOLAN 90th. SUNDERLAND: FLETCHER 9th.

Sunderland's run without a win in the Barclays Premier League was extended to 12 after Kevin Nolan dramatically rescued a draw for West Ham with a goal in added time.

Steven Fletcher had put the visitors ahead when he angled home a powerful shot. West Ham piled on the pressure, but were denied when Nolan's volley was impressively saved by Simon Mignolet.

WIGAN ATHLETIC 1 FULHAM 2

GOALS: WIGAN: KONE 90th. FULHAM: RODALLEGA 31st; DUFF 68th.

Hugo Rodallega scored against his old club to help Fulham to a well-deserved victory at Wigan and confirmed the Cottagers' best start to a season for 10 years.

The 27-year-old Colombian headed in his first goal for the London side from strike partner Dimitar Berbatov's superb cross on the half-hour mark. Damien Duff doubled Fulham's lead with a fierce strike on 68 minutes. Arouna Kone managed to pull one back for Wigan late on as he slid the ball home, but Fulham held firm to secure their first away points of the season.

POINTS STANDINGS

LONDON (AP):

Standings in English Premier League football after yesterday's games:

TeamGPWDLGFGAPts
Chelsea54109213
Everton53119510
West Brom53117410
Fulham53021279
Man United43011059
Arsenal4220818
Man City4220968
West Ham5221548
Swansea52121077
Tottenham4121655
Newcastle4121565
Sunderland4040444
Stoke5041454
Aston Villa5113594
Wigan51135104
Norwich4031273
Southampton 51049153
Liverpool4022382
Queens Park4022292
Reading4013491

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