Red Devils’ Lukaku starts with two hammer-blows
MANCHESTER: Romelu Lukaku struck twice on his Premier League debut for Manchester United as Jose Mourinho’s side made a confident start to their campaign with a 4-0 win over West Ham United at Old Trafford last night.
The Belgian striker, who was signed from Everton in a £75-million (about R1.3bn) move last month, opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, blasting in off the post after latching on to a clever through ball from Marcus Rashford.
Lukaku, pictured, made it 2-0 seven minutes after the break, rising to meet a Henrikh Mkhitaryan free kick with a superbly angled header into the far bottom corner.
Substitute Anthony Martial made it 3-0 in the 87th minute with a side-foot finish after being played in by Mkhitaryan and moments later Paul Pogba fired in the fourth.
Elsewhere, Tottenham Hotspur got their Premier League campaign on track with a clinical 2-0 win at 10-man Newcastle United after Dele Alli scored one goal and helped create the other at St James’s Park.
Having eased back into the top flight from the second-tier Championship, Newcastle held their own against last season’s Premier League runners-up in the opening half but succumbed after Jonjo Shelvey was sent off in the 48th minute.
Shelvey got his marching orders for stomping on Alli and Spurs duly took advantage as the England midfielder, who pulled all the strings for the visitors, broke the deadlock on the hour when he steered in an inch-perfect cross by Christian Eriksen. Alli, who helped Eriksen set up the other for Davies in the 70th minute, made light of Shelvey’s petulant reaction. “I’m sure he’ll be disappointed,” Alli told Sky Sports. “It was important we stayed professional. I don’t want to talk about it too much. I’ve been pulled up for my temper before but today we had to keep our cool. There was no need to react.” Newcastle, whose fans incessantly booed their former midfielder Moussa Sissoko, now playing for Spurs, missed their best chance straight after Shelvey’s dismissal as keeper Hugo Lloris denied Dwight Gayle with a fine save. Harry Kane, last season’s top scorer in the Premier League with 29 goals, missed a sitter at the other end before Alli slid in at the far post and beat Robert Elliot with a fine finish.
The influential Eriksen and livewire Alli carved open Newcastle’s defence with a lightning move 10 minutes later, presenting Davies with a simple finish from seven metres. Kane should have added the third in stoppage time as Spurs charged forward but hit the post with only Elliot to beat.
Newcastle winger Christian Atsu said the temperamental Shelvey had apologised to his teammates after the game.
“That’s football,” the Ghanaian said. “He’ll learn from his mistakes. He’s upset and thinks he let the team down. He apologised to everyone and we believe he will come back stronger.” – Reuters