Mon, May 01, 2017 - Page 11 News List

United’s top four hopes crushed

UNBEATEN:Manchester set a club record for the longest unbeaten run in a top-division season with 25 games, but were denied a Champions League guarantee


Swansea City’s Tom Carroll, left, Gylfi Sigurdsson, center, and Martin Olsson celebrate after scoring their first goal yesterday against Manchester United at Old Trafford in Manchester, England.

Photo: Reuters

A sublime free-kick by Icelandic international Gylfi Sigurdsson yesterday gained English Premier League strugglers Swansea City a deserved point in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United, dealing a blow to United’s Champions League hopes.

Sigurdsson’s 10th goal of the season, but first in 11 matches, canceled out veteran Wayne Rooney’s contentious penalty in time added on in the first half when Marcus Rashford made the most out of minimal contact with Swans goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

The point saw United move level on points with city rivals Manchester City, but remained fifth, a place outside the automatic spots for the Champions League, because of a poorer goal difference.

It will be of little consolation to manager Jose Mourinho that it extended their unbeaten run to 25 and have not been defeated at Old Trafford since September 10th last year.

City could open up a three-point gap as they take on second from bottom Middlesbrough, while Arsenal too could gain ground on United if they beat title-chasing Tottenham Hotspur.

Spurs, though, will be aiming to keep the pressure on table-toppers Chelsea, who have a tricky match at Goodison Park against Everton, who are on a streak of eight successive home wins.

For Swansea — who play Everton next — it inched them to within two points of fourth from bottom Hull with three matches remaining.

Fabianski was harshly adjudged to have brought down Rashford by referee Neil Swarbrick with the United youngster making the most of it in a half Swansea had dominated.

Rooney converted the penalty for his first goal at Old Trafford since May last year and his seventh of the season.

However, it was the English veteran’s foul on Martin Olsson that provided Sigurdsson with the opportunity which he seized brilliantly — helped also by David de Gea urging Ander Herrera to leave the post unguarded and move into the wall to leave Fernando Llorente offside.

Llorente should have added to his team-leading 12 goals this season as the game moved into time added on, but with just de Gea to beat instead of heading the ball he tried to sidefoot it home and made a mess of it.


Reuters, ROME

AS Roma’s Serie A title challenge all but fizzled out yesterday when they lost 3-1 to archrivals SS Lazio, despite being awarded a hugely controversial penalty which overshadowed the game.

Referee Daniele Orsato pointed to the spot after Kevin Strootman went down in the Lazio penalty area, but replays showed that the Dutchman was not touched by any Lazio player.

Strootman touched the ball once, turned and then went down in the penalty area although it was not clear whether it was a deliberate dive or he was just trying to get out the way of a tackle from Lazio’s Wallace.

Daniele De Rossi converted the spot-kick in the 45th minute to cancel out Keita Balde Diao’s 12th minute opener for Lazio amid furious protests.

Fourth-placed Lazio restored what they saw as justice when Dusan Basta scored with a deflected shot five minutes after the restart and Keita finished off a deadly counterattack to complete the win with his second goal of the game.

Second-placed Roma’s defeat left them nine points behind leaders Juventus with only four matches left to play.

It was Lazio’s first league win over Roma since November 2012, a run of seven matches.

Roma brought on 40-year-old Francesco Totti for the last 20 minutes for what could be stalwart’s last derby, if he does not renew his contract at the end of the season.

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