Lukaku makes dream debut; Shelvey dismissal sparks Spurs

Manchester United's Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, right, jumps to head the ball and score his team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on Sunday. (AFP)
Updated 13 August 2017
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Lukaku makes dream debut; Shelvey dismissal sparks Spurs

LONDON: Romelu Lukaku enjoyed a dream Premier League debut for Manchester United as the Belgian’s brace inspired a 4-0 rout of West Ham, while Jonjo Shelvey’s dismissal was the pivotal moment in Tottenham’s 2-0 win at Newcastle on Sunday.
United manager Jose Mourinho paid a British record £75 million ($96 million, €82 million) to sign Lukaku from Everton in the close-season and the 24-year-old needed just 33 minutes to get off the mark for his new club.
Accelerating on Marcus Rashford’s pass, Lukaku drilled a powerful strike in off the post to put United ahead in their Premier League opener at Old Trafford.
Lukaku was virtually unplayable at times and he doubled United’s advantage in the 53rd minute with a bullet header from Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s free-kick.
Substitute Anthony Martial added United’s, slotting past Joe Hart in the 87th minute, before Paul Pogba’s 90th minute strike sent Mourinho’s men to the top of the table above Huddersfield on goal difference.
Once sold by Mourinho when the pair were at Chelsea together, Lukaku could be the catalyst for a first serious title challenge from United since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
Lukaku was not the only impressive United debutant, with Nemanja Matic delivering a solid display that underlined why Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was so miffed his club sanctioned the £40 million sale of the Serbia midfielder to a title rival.
At St. James’ Park, Shelvey was sent off early in the second half for deliberately treading on Tottenham star Dele Alli, who was on the ground only yards from referee Andre Marriner.
Alli got his revenge by firing Tottenham ahead in the 61st minute with a cool close-strike from Christian Eriksen’s superb lofted pass.
Following Tottenham’s Danny Rose had ranted about the club’s failure to sign quality players during the close-season, it was fitting that the injured left-back’s replacement Ben Davies was the man to increase his side’s lead in the 70th minute.
Alli, Eriksen and Harry Kane opened up Newcastle with a flowing move before Davies produced a clinical finish.
Having finishing second last term, Tottenham will hope their winning start bodes well for a sustained bid to dethrone Chelsea.
Pochettino’s side host the champions next weekend in their first league match at Wembley following their move to the national stadium while White Hart Lane is being redeveloped this season.
By then, the Argentine would like to have added to his squad after a frustrating transfer window.
“It was important to start with three points, but it wasn’t a great game and wasn’t our best performance,” Pochettino said.
“The balance of the team is the main thing and we need some new players to bring some new energy.”
Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez revealed Shelvey apologized to his team-mates for ruining the promoted club’s return to the top-flight.
“The sending off changed everything. He made a mistake,” Benitez said.
“Hopefully he will learn from it. He has apologized but that changes nothing now.”


Francesco Molinari sees off Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods to win maiden major at the Open

Updated 22 July 2018
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Francesco Molinari sees off Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods to win maiden major at the Open

  • At the age of 35, he becomes the first Italian ever to win a Major
  • Molinari had started the day three shots behind a trio of overnight leaders in Schauffele, Kisner and Spieth

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland: Italy’s Francesco Molinari emerged from the pack on a thrilling final day at Carnoustie to win the British Open on Sunday, seeing off the challenges of reigning champion Jordan Spieth and a revived Tiger Woods to win the first major of his career.
At the age of 35, he becomes the first Italian ever to win a Major, after keeping his cool in remarkable fashion when almost all around him seemed to be losing theirs on a windy afternoon.
A two-under-par round of 69 on the Scottish links allowed him to finish on eight-under, two shots clear of the quartet of Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner.
Molinari had started the day three shots behind a trio of overnight leaders in Schauffele, Kisner and Spieth, who were all nine under par when they teed off.
The latter had been hoping to become the first player since Padraig Harrington a decade ago to retain the Claret Jug, but he faded with a final-round 76 to finish on four under par.
Meanwhile Woods, who was playing with Molinari, was in the outright lead at one point on Sunday but ended with a 71 to finish in a tie for sixth with England’s Eddie Pepperell and Kevin Chappell of the United States.