Tue, Mar 17, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Chelsea held, Rooney delivers knockout blow

AFP, LONDON

Southampton’s Sadio Mane, center, hits an overhead-kick while surrounded by Chelsea players during their Premier League match at Stamford Bridge in London on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

Chelsea endured more Stamford Bridge frustration as Southampton held the Premier League leaders to a 1-1 draw, while Wayne Rooney delivered the knockout blow in Manchester United’s 3-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho’s side would have moved eight points clear of second-placed Manchester City if they had beaten Southampton, but instead they had to settle for a share of the spoils in west London.

Diego Costa’s 11th minute header ended the Spain striker’s seven-match goal drought.

Yet Chelsea failed to press home their advantage and Southampton equalized eight minutes later when Dusan Tadic converted a penalty awarded for a Nemanja Matic foul on Sadio Mane.

The Blues laid siege to the Southampton goal in the closing stages, but Oscar, Juan Cuadrado and John Terry all wasted chances to seal a victory that would have left them well on course to win the English title for the first time since 2010.

Chelsea have now drawn their last three home matches in all competitions, but Mourinho was still relatively happy to see his side move six points clear of City.

“I agree Chelsea not winning at home is not a good result, but yesterday we had five points more than City, now we have six points more and one fewer match to play,” he said.

“It makes our situation better than before the game. It’s positive rather than negative,” he added.

At Old Trafford, Rooney was firmly in the spotlight as fourth-placed United produced a rare heavyweight display in a spluttering campaign to move within one point of third-placed Arsenal.

Louis van Gaal’s side made the perfect start as they took the lead in the ninth minute when Marouane Fellaini, played in by Michael Carrick’s fine pass, kept his composure to beat Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris with a low left-footed shot.

Carrick went from provider to scorer 10 minutes later when United’s former Tottenham midfielder looped a header past Lloris after Fellaini’s initial effort had only been half cleared.

It was Carrick’s first goal since February last year, but Rooney ensured the match would be remembered mostly for his contribution in the 34th minute.

Earlier on Sunday, video footage emerged of Rooney being knocked out by Stoke City defender Phil Bardsley during a supposedly friendly sparring session, with both men wearing boxing gloves, in the England striker’s kitchen last month.

Rooney seized the opportunity to poke fun at himself after he rampaged through the Tottenham defense to fire home following Nabil Bentaleb’s mistake.

With all eyes on him, Rooney celebrated by miming a series of punches and then falling onto his back as if having been knocked out.

Asked about Rooney’s boxing antics, a less than amused Van Gaal launched a scathing attack on the media coverage.

“In what a world we live that we are talking about such a thing — that a newspaper paid a lot for a video and I am answering questions about that,” he said. “What is this world, twisted? I don’t want to answer questions about such things.”

Elsewhere, Everton eased their relegation fears with a 3-0 stroll against Newcastle United at Goodison Park.

Roberto Martinez’s team started the day only three points above the bottom three, but they went in front after 20 minutes when Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy scored his first goal of the season with a long-range drive that deceived Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul.

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