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Chelsea thrashes Spurs as Greaves’ death overshadow­s action

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LONDON — Chelsea and Manchester United maintained their unbeaten starts to the Premier League season on Sunday as English football mourned the passing of goalscorin­g great Jimmy Greaves.

Chelsea, the club with whom Greaves began his career, won 3-0 at Tottenham Hotspur, for whom the forward netted a club record 266 goals, thanks to a dominant second-half display.

Earlier, Manchester United grabbed a dramatic 2-1 victory at West Ham United with Cristiano Ronaldo again on target and the home side’s captain Mark Noble missing a last-gasp penalty.

Brighton & Hove Albion are up with the early pacesetter­s after a 2-1 home win over Leicester City lifted them into fourth place with 12 points, one behind Chelsea, Liverpool and United.

However, the day was overshadow­ed by the news that Greaves, who played for Chelsea, Spurs, AC Milan and West Ham in an illustriou­s career, had died aged 81.

Tributes poured in for the former England striker including from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said: “He will be remembered as a goalscorin­g legend and one of the greats of English football.”

Nowhere was the news of Greaves’ passing felt more than at a rainy Tottenham Hotspur Stadium where the two clubs he graced with such distinctio­n played out a London derby in front of a crowd of 60,000.

Both sets of fans gave a rousing minute’s applause to Greaves while some of his former colleagues were in attendance.

Sadly for Tottenham, their new goalscorin­g talisman Harry Kane, who has 223 goals for the club and is chasing the record of a player he described as a “true legend,” looked subdued as Chelsea ran away with the points.

BIG GULF

Tottenham more than matched Chelsea in the first half, but once Thiago Silva headed the visitors into the lead in the 49th minute, the gulf between the two sides looked vast.

N’Golo Kante, who came on at half time, made it 2-0 with a heavily-deflected shot shortly afterwards and Antonio Rudiger’s late goal took Chelsea level at the top with Liverpool.

The Blues have 13 points and an identical record to Liverpool with 12 goals scored and one against.

Manager Thomas Tuchel said he was unhappy with his side’s attitude in the opening period, but whatever he said at half time worked wonders as Chelsea moved through the gears.

“It was simply too sloppy and not sharp enough in the first half,” Tuchel, whose side has kept 15 Premier League clean sheets since he took charge in January, told reporters.

“The reaction was absolutely needed, but we showed it and played a very strong second half to deserve this win.”

LATE DRAMA

Ronaldo scored his fourth goal in three games since returning to Old Trafford, equalizing at the London Stadium after Said Benrahma’s deflected shot gave West Ham the lead.

Jesse Lingard, who impressed on loan for the Hammers last season, struck in the 89th minute for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side who was indebted to David De Gea’s stoppage-time penalty save from West Ham substitute Noble.

It was a fine recovery for United who lost to Swiss club Young Boys in the Champions League in midweek when Lingard’s terrible late back pass cost them.

“We deserved three points. It’s a hard place to come, here. Hopefully, these points can make a difference,” Solskjaer said.

Brighton racked up their fourth win of the season by beating Leicester City 2-1. A controvers­ial penalty converted by Neal Maupay put them in front before Danny Welbeck doubled the lead.

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