Romelu Lukaku inspires Manchester United fightback to beat Chelsea
Romelu Lukaku inspires Manchester United fightback to beat Chelsea
Victory against his former club was particularly sweet for Jose Mourinho as he got one over on Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, but more importantly moves United back above Liverpool into second place in the Premier League.
Defeat allied to Tottenham Hotspur’s late win earlier in the day at Crystal Palace sees Chelsea slip to fifth.
The visitors enjoyed the better of the first period but failed to build on Willian’s 32nd minute opener.
Lukaku levelled seven minutes later from close range and then crossed for substitute Lingard to head home as a ruthless United took full advantage of their limited chances.
The spectre of another fiery clash between Mourinho and Conte, who have publicly bickered in recent months, hogged the headlines before kick-off, but there was a peace offering when the pair shook hands before the action got underway.
Mourinho recalled Paul Pogba to his starting XI after dropping the £89 million ($124 million) midfielder for Wednesday’s stalemate at Sevilla in the Champions League.
But it was one of Conte’s two changes from his side’s 1-1 draw with Barcelona in midweek who nearly made an immediate impact.
Alvaro Morata started for the first time in six weeks, but saw his side-footed volley from Marcos Alonso’s driven cross come back off the bar just four minutes in.
Chelsea dominated possession in the opening quarter, but much like they did to Barcelona on Tuesday with limited time on the ball, United restricted them to few other clear-cut chances.
United had offered little going forward themselves until Anthony Martial’s low cross picked out Alexis Sanchez inside the area.
However, the Chilean is still waiting for his first big moment since joining United last month as he poked the ball tamely into the arms of Thibaut Courtois.
Moments later, the hosts were caught by a blistering Chelsea counter-attack to open the scoring.
Willian picked up the ball just outside his own area and drove through the United midfield before exchanging passes with Eden Hazard.
The Brazilian then unleashed a shot too powerful even for David de Gea to register his fourth goal in three games.
The lead lasted just seven minutes, though, as for the first time in a United shirt, Lukaku netted against one of their top six rivals — at the seventh time of asking.
Sanchez fed Martial and his clever reverse pass was slotted home by Lukaku to muted celebrations against his former club.
Lukaku nearly had a spectacular second 22 minutes from time when he caught a Sanchez cross flush with an acrobatic volley, only to be denied by a finger tip save from Courtois.
However, the Belgian did make a decisive contribution when he dropped deep and his in-swinging cross was met by a perfectly timed run by Lingard.
Conte had surprisingly removed Hazard just before conceding and that decision looked all the more puzzling as Chelsea searched in vain for an equalizer.
Willian saw another effort smothered by De Gea at the second attempt at his near post as United held out for just a second win over Chelsea in 15 meetings.
Mickey Arthur calls on Pakistan to prove India defeat was one-off
- Pakistan coach wants improved performance when side next face big rivals India on Sunday in the UAE.
- Asia Cup now down to Super Four stage.
LONDON: Mickey Arthur is confident Pakistan can bounce back from their big defeat against India in Dubai on Wednesday.
Arthur’s side lost by eight wickets to their arch-rivals in the final clash of the group stage at the Asia Cup, taking place in the UAE.
It came less than 24 hours after India struggled to beat Hong Kong, but Rohit Sharma’s side hit the disappointment of that performance for six to easily beat Pakistan.
Despite the defeat Arthur is sure his side can turn things around in the Super Four stage and go all the way and win the tournament.
“Whenever we go head-to-head with India, I am comfortable that we’ve got a dressing room of players who can stand up to it,” the Pakistan coach said.
“I am comfortable we’ve got a dressing room of players who, on any given day, can win. So I still think it’s a 50-50. Lucky this game was inconsequential in the tournament.”
Pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar (three for 15) and part time off-spinner Kedar Jadhav (three for 23) sent Pakistan, who won the toss and batted, collapsing to just 162 all out in 43.1 overs at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Skipper Sharma then struck three sixes and six boundaries in his 39-ball 52 while fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan hit a six and six fours in his 54-ball 46 as India romped home in just 29 overs.
Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik both finished on 31 not out as India exacted some revenge for their humbling 180-run defeat against their arch-rivals in the final of the Champions Trophy in London last year — the most recent match between the teams until Wednesday.
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur was not a happy man after watching his Pakistan side soundly beaten by India in Dubai.
Both Pakistan and India had already qualified for the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup and will meet again in Dubai on Sunday. When they do Arthur will doubtless be looking for a response and for his side to stick to the set plans.
“On a wicket like that you need to strike really if you’re going to defend it. We didn’t strike early enough,” Arthur said.
“We went away from our plans too quickly. We said that our batters batted outside our roles and that wasn’t acceptable. With our bowling, we went outside our plans far too quickly. We wanted to bowl hard lengths, hit the top of off stump.
“It was tough to score then. We did that in the first six, and then (Usman Khan) Shinwari decided to come around the wicket and bowl a bouncer with fine leg up. And from there it just tumbled.
“We’re going to sit down and talk about that. It’s not good enough. We went outside our plans.
“That’s not acceptable. I think there was a bit of panic when they didn’t strike early.”
Also of concern to the Pakistan coach is the form of Mohammad Amir. The side’s main bowler has looked out of form recently and has struggled for wickets since last year’s Champions Trophy win.
“I’d be lying if I sat here and said there wasn’t (any concern about Amir),” Arthur said.
“I had a really good, long hard chat with him last night and I thought he came out and bowled really well. He hit the crease really hard. He ran in well. He’s been decelerating to the crease, but he didn’t do that today.
“He seemed more fluent, there was a little bit more pace there. And I was comfortable (with what he did), he bowled well. There is pressure on him, of course there is.”
There was much hype surrounding the clash, as there always is with any India vs. Pakistan match, but once Pakistan’s unpredictable batting crumbled, Wednesday’s showdown turned into a damp squib for a near-capacity crowd in the UAE. They will all hope that Sunday’s rerun will dish up more drama and entertainment.