Swansea frustrates Man United

Updated 24 December 2012
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Swansea frustrates Man United

SWANSEA: Manchester United’s lead over Manchester City is down to four points from six after the Premier League leaders were held 1-1 at Swansea City’s Liberty Stadium yesterday.
In a late match, Chelsea thrashed hapless Aston Villa 8-0 in the most emphatic victory of the season to date to climb to third place.
For United, Patrice Evra struck with a first half header to put United on their way but a Michu equalizer before half time was enough to give Swansea a richly deserved point.
Having seen neighbors City cut their lead at the top of the league to three points with Saturday’s last-gasp 1-0 victory over Reading, United were keen to restore their healthy advantage going into the busy festive period.
United winger Antonio Valancia had an early cross blocked by Ben Davies but it was Swansea who looked the more likely in the early stages, with Nathan Dyer putting in a dangerous cross and Michu spurning a sight of goal.
The Spaniard, who now has 13 goals in the league this season, fired high and wide under pressure from Nemanja Vidic, but the threat was clear.
Wayne Routledge tested David de Gea with a shot on the turn from 18 yards before Michu was caught offside from a delightful through ball by Routledge.
The danger for United was always there and though Swansea came into the game on the back of successive defeats against Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur, they were not short on confidence.
United might have taken the lead in the 14th minute when Michel Vorm, back in the Swansea goal after a two-month injury lay-off, beat away Wayne Rooney’s 25-yard strike.
Two minutes later, Evra rose to head home Robin van Persie’s near-post corner.
It was the signal for United to step on the gas and try to kill off the game before Swansea could respond.
Van Persie and Valencia were the main source of Swansea’s problems, though Rooney almost latched onto Ashley Young’s crisp center after van Persie had torn a hole in the home midfield.
Then, as United dropped their guard, Swansea struck.
Routledge sent in Jonathan de Guzman and though his shot was kept out by De Gea, Michu arrived with perfect timing to make it 13 for the season.
Swansea were good value for the goal and though the sides turned around level, De Guzman and Michu both had opportunities to send the hosts in at half time with a lead.
United were strangely careless in the second half, with Rooney, on too many occasions to remember, giving away the ball in positions of promise.
His free-kick on the hour, after Chico Flores was booked for a poorly timed tackle, was straight at Vorm, as was Dyer’s 30-yard shot at the opposite end a minute later.
The introduction of Javier Hernandez gave United a little more bite, with Rooney dropping back into the visitors’ four man midfield.
From that juncture, United began to dominate possession, with Swansea needing all of their resolve to keep the leaders at bay.
Van Persie, who was booked with Ashley Williams after the pair had a spat on the edge of the 18-yard box, struck the crossbar with a volley from Rooney’s center and Vorm pulled off a smart save from Hernandez.
Michael Carrick then forced a great save from Vorm and Swansea twice had to produce desperate blocks as United turned the screw.
Swansea, however, held on to claim a first ever EPL point.


Sri Lanka’s Lakmal replaces banned Chandimal as skipper

Updated 1 min 1 sec ago
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Sri Lanka’s Lakmal replaces banned Chandimal as skipper

  • The West Indies are 1-0 up in the series with the final match, the first ever day-night Test in the Caribbean, due to begin later on Saturday in Barbados
  • Earlier this year, Australian cricket was rocked to its foundations after a player was caught applying sandpaper to the ball in a match in South Africa

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Saturday named Suranga Lakmal as skipper for the potentially series-saving third Test against the West Indies after Dinesh Chandimal lost his appeal against a one-match ban for ball tampering.
“Lakmal was appointed as the captain, in the absence of Dinesh Chandimal,” Sri Lanka Cricket said in a brief statement, without commenting on Chandimal’s case.
The West Indies are 1-0 up in the series with the final match, the first ever day-night Test in the Caribbean, due to begin later on Saturday in Barbados.
Chandimal, 28, was given the ban after being spotted by television cameras during the second Test applying saliva to the ball, apparently with a sweet in his mouth.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday dismissed Chandimal’s appeal. A fine of 100 percent of his match fee and two suspension points were also upheld.
Chandimal, coach Chandika Hathurusingha and manager Asanka Gurusinha also face possible disciplinary action after refusing to take to the field for two hours after the incident.
The three admitted on Friday “conduct... contrary to the spirit of the game” and will face a preliminary ICC hearing on July 10.
Hathurusinghe and Gurusinha were on Friday however allowed to continue to perform their duties in the meantime, including in the third Test.
Chandimal’s ban is the latest blow to Sri Lankan cricket following a string of defeats — including a Test and one-day whitewash to India — and corruption allegations.
Earlier this year, Australian cricket was rocked to its foundations after a player was caught applying sandpaper to the ball in a match in South Africa.
Steve Smith and David Warner were stripped of the captaincy and vice-captaincy respectively and banned from playing international cricket for 12 months.