Manchester City supporters ended a bad week by finding old enemy Manchester United closing to within two points of them at the top of the English Premier League after a 3-2 victory at Southampton on Sunday.
A week ago, City were five points clear of their neighbors, having not even conceded a goal in five matches, and the bookmakers were slashing their title odds.
Then, after a hugely disappointing home defeat by Juventus in the UEFA Champions League, they were shocked by West Ham United’s 2-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium, which ended a 100 percent league record.
United rubbed salt into east Manchester wounds when they resisted Southampton’s late rally thanks to some fine saves from goalkeeper David de Gea, who had seemed certain to leave in the recent transfer window.
Instead, a deal with Real Madrid broke down on the last day of the window, when United also brought in Anthony Martial from AS Monaco as the world’s most expensive teenage signing at ￡36.3 million (US$56.39 million).
Having scored as a substitute on his Premier League debut against Liverpool, he added two more goals at Southampton, both expertly taken.
Graziano Pelle put Southampton ahead in the 13th minute. Martial equalized 10 minutes before halftime, with United’s first shot on target, although Juan Mata should have been given offside, and the 19-year-old Frenchman put United in front following a dreadful back pass by Southampton’s Japanese defender Maya Yoshida.
Mata added United’s third midway through the second half before De Gea denied Jose Fonte and Pelle gave his team late hope by heading in Sadio Mane’s cross.
“I have to make a lot of compliments to my players,” United coach Louis van Gaal told reporters. “Anthony Martial is already special because we paid a lot of money for him. A lot of people are thinking he is a great star, but he is a boy of 19.”
Defeat put Southampton fifth from bottom with one win from six games and left coach Ronald Koeman ruing Yoshida’s error.
“We lost by ourselves,” Koeman said. “The first 30 minutes we played perfect.”
Liverpool’s hopes of joining the title chase look forlorn after promoted Norwich City held them 1-1 at Anfield.
Despite having few chances in a dull first half, the home side went ahead with a goal by Danny Ings, only three minutes after he appeared as a halftime substitute for Christian Benteke.
However, Norwich’s central defender Russell Martin scored his third goal of the season to equalize after a mistake by goalkeeper Simon Mignolet at a corner.
Liverpool had started the game in the bottom six and a single point lifted them only two places to 13th, seven points behind the leaders.
“It was important that we got some flow in our game and our intensity in the second half was much better,” Liverpool coach Brendan Rodgers said. “In terms of numbers, it is not so good, but for me it is all about the performance.”
In the early match, Son Heung-min scored on his home Premier League debut for Tottenham Hotspur, who beat Crystal Palace 1-0 to continue their climb up the table to ninth place.
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino was delighted with Son, who joined the London club from Bayer Leverkusen for ￡22 million last month.
“His performance was fantastic and the energy he showed was amazing,” Pochettino told reporters.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two