Manchester United’s English Premier League clash against Liverpool on Sunday was postponed after furious United fans stormed Old Trafford in protest at the club’s owners, while Gareth Bale scored a hat-trick as Tottenham Hotspur thrashed Sheffield United 4-0.
Manchester City would have been crowned champions for the third time in four seasons if second-placed United had lost to Liverpool, but Pep Guardiola’s side saw their hopes of a title party put on hold after the biggest game in English soccer was postponed amid chaotic scenes.
The Glazer family, already unpopular for their leveraged buyout of the club 16 years ago that saddled United with huge debt repayments, were widely criticized for their leading role in the failed breakaway European Super League project.
That prompted United fans to call for a demonstration before the Liverpool game and about 200 protesters made their way onto the pitch, where they waved anti-Glazer banners and set off green and yellow flares — the colors of original club Newton Heath.
Supporters are hoping to pressure the Glazers into selling the club.
Some supporters also blockaded the entrance to the Lowry Hotel, where the United players and staff were staying.
A line of riot police, backed by horses, eventually pushed the crowds away from the stadium.
The scheduled 4:30pm kickoff was delayed while Premier League chiefs discussed the situation, with United eventually announcing the postponement at 5:40pm.
“Our fans are passionate about Manchester United, and we completely acknowledge the right to free expression and peaceful protest,” a United statement said. “However, we regret the disruption to the team and actions which put other fans, staff, and the police in danger.”
“We understand and respect the strength of feeling but condemn all acts of violence, criminal damage and trespass, especially given the associated COVID-19 breaches,” a Premier League statement added.
Liverpool said that they were in “full agreement” with the decision to postpone the match, as the safety of their players could not be guaranteed.
Tottenham took advantage of Liverpool’s inactivity to move up to fifth in the table thanks to Bale’s first Premier League hat-trick.
The Welshman was a peripheral figure under Jose Mourinho in his season-long loan from Real Madrid, but has now struck four times in three games since Ryan Mason replaced the sacked Portuguese coach.
Bale flicked home from close range to break the deadlock nine minutes before halftime.
A blistering counterattack from a Sheffield United corner then saw Son Heung-min tee up Bale for an emphatic finish into the top corner.
Bale’s low drive into the bottom corner completed his hat-trick, before Son added a fourth.
Spurs are now five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with four games remaining.
Earlier, Arsenal beat Newcastle United 2-0 to end a four-game winless streak thanks to Mohamed Elneny’s first Premier League goal and a superb strike from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Fourth-from-bottom Newcastle remain nine points clear of the relegation zone, while the victory moved Arsenal up to ninth.
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FURIOUS FANS: The biggest game in English soccer was postponed amid chaotic scenes after about 200 protesters made their way onto the pitch and set off flares Manchester United’s English Premier League clash against Liverpool on Sunday was postponed after furious United fans stormed Old Trafford in protest at the club’s owners, while Gareth Bale scored a hat-trick as Tottenham Hotspur thrashed Sheffield United 4-0. Manchester City would have been crowned champions for the third time in four seasons if second-placed United had lost to Liverpool, but Pep Guardiola’s side saw their hopes of a title party put on hold after the biggest game in English soccer was postponed amid chaotic scenes. The Glazer family, already unpopular for their leveraged buyout of the club 16 years ago that saddled
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