Pep wins the Derby grudge match

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

PEP Guardi­ola rocked old foe Jose Mour­inho as Premier League lead­ers Manch­ester City ex­tended their per­fect start with a 2-1 win at Manch­ester United, while Liver­pool crushed cham­pi­ons Le­ices­ter 4-1 on Septem­ber 10.

City man­ager Guardi­ola in­flicted the first de­feat of Mour­inho’s United reign and col­lected his eighth win in 17 en­coun­ters with his neme­sis in a pul­sat­ing en­counter at Old Traf­ford.

Guardi­ola’s side took the lead in a sweet mo­ment of re­venge for Kevin De Bruyne, ac­ri­mo­niously sold by Mour­inho when the pair were to­gether at Chelsea, as the Bel­gium mid­fielder pun­ished Da­ley Blind’s un­cer­tainty to slot past David de Gea in the 15th minute.

Kelechi Iheana­cho dou­bled City’s lead in the 36th minute when he tapped in af­ter a De Bruyne shot hit the post and re­bounded to the Nige­rian for­ward.

A blun­der from City’s debu­tant goal­keeper Clau­dio Bravo al­lowed United to re­duce the deficit in the 42nd minute when he dropped a cross and Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic pounced to lash home.

But City held firm in a fran­tic sec­ond half de­spite more ner­vous mo­ments from Bravo, whose studs-up lunge on Wayne Rooney could have drawn a penalty and a red card.

Guardi­ola has now mas­ter­minded four suc­ces­sive Premier League wins since ar­riv­ing from Bay­ern Mu­nich in the close sea­son and his team sit three points clear of third-placed United and sec­ond-placed Chelsea, who trav­elled to Swansea yes­ter­day.

“We’re happy. Th­ese guys have a heart. In the first half we were bet­ter and won a lot of du­els against a phys­i­cally stronger team,” Guardi­ola said.

“In the sec­ond half, the long balls, you just pray be­cause it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to con­trol that.”

Mour­inho added, “I had two or three play­ers in the first half that, if I know what is go­ing to hap­pen, I don’t play them.

“This is foot­ball and some­times play­ers dis­ap­point man­agers. It’s my fault be­cause I’m the man­ager.”

‘Big qual­ity’

In front of the big­gest An­field crowd since May 1977, 53,000 fans watched Liver­pool mark the un­veil­ing of their ex­tended main stand with a ruth­less de­mo­li­tion of Clau­dio Ranieri’s cham­pi­ons.

Roberto Firmino opened the scor­ing with a clin­i­cal fin­ish in the 13th minute and Sa­dio Mane in­creased Liver­pool’s ad­van­tage with a close-range ef­fort in the 31st.

Liver­pool mid­fielder Lu­cas, play­ing out of po­si­tion in cen­tral de­fence, gave Le­ices­ter a life­line with a ter­ri­ble 38th-minute back­pass that Jamie Vardy drilled into the empty net.

But Adam Lal­lana’s rocket in the 56th minute and Firmino’s sec­ond in the 89th minute wrapped up Liver­pool’s sec­ond win of the sea­son and left Le­ices­ter con­tem­plat­ing a lack­lus­tre start to their ti­tle de­fence.

“It was a good chal­lenge be­cause we can be re­ally strong, but Le­ices­ter have big qual­ity and we had to show we be­lieved in our style. It was a good per­for­mance in a won­der­ful place,” man­ager Jur­gen Klopp said.

At the Emi­rates Sta­dium, Ar­se­nal left it late to ease the pres­sure on Gun­ners boss Arsene Wenger, who has been ques­tioned over his trans­fer deal­ings and the team’s slow open­ing to the sea­son.

The crit­ics were sharp­en­ing their knives when Ar­se­nal fell be­hind in the 18th minute through a Petr Cech own goal from Du­san Tadic’s free-kick.

But Ar­se­nal equalised 11 min­utes later thanks to a spec­tac­u­lar over­head kick from Lau­rent Ko­scielny.

And Santi Ca­zorla se­cured Ar­se­nal’s sec­ond win of the sea­son when the Spa­niard stroked home a con­tro­ver­sial penalty awarded for Jose Fonte’s tackle on Olivier Giroud in the 94th minute.

“It is a re­lief be­cause we missed many chances and they had one or two op­por­tu­ni­ties hav­ing thrown ev­ery­thing for­ward,” Wenger said.

Well done, Son

Tot­ten­ham swept to a 4-0 vic­tory at bot­tom-of-the-ta­ble Stoke as South Korean Son He­ung-Min sparkled on his first ap­pear­ance of the sea­son.

Son volleyed Tot­ten­ham in front just be­fore half-time and net­ted again with a fine fin­ish from 16 me­tres in the 56th minute.

Dele Alli bagged Tot­ten­ham’s third and Harry Kane sealed the rout with his first goal of the sea­son in the 70th minute. Wat­ford staged a su­perb recovery to beat West Ham 4-2 and se­cure Italian man­ager Wal­ter Maz­zarri’s first win since tak­ing charge in the close sea­son.

The Ham­mers looked in con­trol af­ter Michail An­to­nio scored with a pair of head­ers in the fifth minute and 33rd minute at the Lon­don Sta­dium.

But Odion Ighalo net­ted for Wat­ford in the 41st minute, Troy Deeney equalised in first-half stop­page time and sec­ond-half goals from Eti­enne Capoue, and Jose Hole­bas sealed the points.

Crys­tal Palace won 2-1 at Mid­dles­brough, Bournemouth beat West Bromwich Al­bion 1-0 and Burn­ley drew 1-1 with Hull.

Pho­tos: AFP

Manch­ester City’s Span­ish mid­fielder David Silva (left) vies with Manch­ester United’s French mid­fielder Paul Pogba dur­ing the English Premier League foot­ball match at Old Traf­ford in Manch­ester on Septem­ber 10.

Le­ices­ter City’s Italian man­ager Clau­dio Ranieri frowns as his team floun­ders against Liver­pool on Septem­ber 10.

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