Man United beats Villa 2-1, level on points with Liverpool – football

Bruno Fernandes scoring a penalty has turn out to be a really acquainted sight for Manchester United. Being among the many Premier League frontrunners has not been seen in recent times for the fallen large. United went level on points with chief Liverpool with a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa on Friday. The win was secured by Fernandes scoring his ninth spotkick since making his debut 11 months in the past.

While United continues to be behind Liverpool on purpose distinction, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has gained another and has the staff trying nicely-positioned to mount a problem for a primary title since 2013. Alex Ferguson, who produced United’s report-extending twentieth English title earlier than retiring eight years in the past, was amongst only a few hundred allowed into Old Trafford to witness this New Year’s Day sport in a metropolis in close to-lockdown.

A day after his 79th birthday, the Scot noticed Anthony Martial head United in entrance within the fortieth minute on the finish of a counterattack began by Paul Pogba. And it was Pogba who gained the penalty — from the restart after Bertrand Traoré’s equalizer — that allowed Fernandes to clinch the win within the 61st minute.

Such has been United’s decline within the post-Ferguson years that solely as soon as — in 2018 underneath Jose Mourinho — has United completed second after which it was 19 points behind Manchester City. And when Solskjaer opened 2020 with United 27 points behind eventual champion Liverpool, the supervisor’s days seemed numbered.

“It’s such a big difference when you look 12 months back,” Solskjaer mentioned. “It’s a good position to be in but we need to improve and get better.” Key to United’s transformation final season that secured a 3rd-place end was Fernandes arriving within the January switch window.

But it’s the staff’s costliest participant — Pogba — that Solskjaer will have to be making a constant affect if the trophy is to be collected. “His physical presence is important for us,” Solskjaer mentioned.

After gaining possession 5 minutes earlier than halftime inside his personal half, Pogba headed the ball to Marcus Rashford, who flicked it for Aaron Wan-Bissaka to take down the suitable flank. A cross was then despatched in for Martial to fulfill with a stooping header planted into the online for his third purpose in six video games.

It’s not straightforward breaching Villa’s protection. This was solely the second conceded in six video games. So a lot of Villa’s risk was coming on the left flank from Jack Grealish. At the beginning of the second half he beat Wan-Bissaka and despatched in a cross which led to Ollie Watkins’ header being turned over by goalkeeper David de Gea.

But De Gea was crushed by Traoré from shut vary after Douglas Luiz let Grealish’s cross go previous him. The transfer began with a shortly taken free kick by John McGinn inside Villa’s half that caught out United. But the lead didn’t final lengthy after Pogba tangled with Luiz’s shoulders and nearly appeared to journey himself over. But the penalty survived a VAR evaluation for Fernandes to transform for his eleventh league purpose of the season.

Fernandes did have an opportunity to increase the lead from open play with a shot pushed over that ensured a nervy conclusion to guard the lead. In stoppage time, De Gea stored out a strong shot from Matty Cash and defender Eric Bailly scrambled a clearance to forestall Keinan Davis leveling. No surprise Bailly was so triumphant, roaring on the remaining whistle. Fernandes went over to embrace him.

“It’s a fantastic block at the end,” Solskjaer mentioned. “I didn’t enjoy the last 10 minutes that much because I think we could have seen out the game out in a better way.”

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Villa beats Palace 3-0 in EPL despite Mings’ sending-off – football

Aston Villa belied the sending-off of Tyrone Mings to beat Crystal Palace 3-0 in the Premier League on Saturday, with striker Ollie Watkins enjoying an element in all the targets. Mings was proven a second yellow card in the forty fifth minute for blocking Wilfried Zaha, with whom the defender had clashed to choose up his first reserving.

Villa was main 1-0 at that time, with Bertrand Traore scoring from a rebound in the fifth minute after Watkins had a shot saved. Instead of sitting again and defending its lead, Villa saved pushing ahead in the second half and Kortney Hause made it 2-0 in the 66th by nodding the ball over the road from shut vary after Watkins had headed in opposition to the crossbar.

Anwar El Ghazi accomplished victory with a superb third in the 76th, smashing house an angled shot off the put up after being teed up by the selfless Watkins. It was one other heavy loss for Palace, which was thrashed 7-0 by Liverpool final weekend. Villa climbed to sixth place and has performed a sport fewer than most groups.

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Lewandowski beats Messi, Ronaldo to win FIFA best men’s player award, Klopp voted best coach for 2nd year in a row – football

Robert Lewandowski received the largest particular person prize of his profession Thursday, displaying that a ahead not named Messi or Ronaldo will be voted the world’s best soccer player.

The Poland captain was named the FIFA Best Men’s Player for 2020 after his 55-objective season lifted Bayern Munich to a sweep of worldwide and home trophies.

Lewandowski topped a three-player shortlist that included Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Voting was by a international jury of nationwide crew captains and coaches, plus chosen journalists and followers. Lewandowski obtained 52 voting factors, with Ronaldo second on 38 Messi third with 35.

Though FIFA hosted the digital ceremony in Zurich, its president Gianni Infantino went to Munich to current the trophy in particular person.

“It’s an incredible feeling” stated Lewandowski, who at age 32 made the shortlist for the primary time.

Lewandowski joined Luka Modric, the Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder who received in 2018, as the one gamers in the previous 13 years to deny each Messi and Ronaldo the victory.

“Today I am among them,” Lewandowski stated in feedback translated from German. “It means I’ve always done the right things in my life.”

Lucy Bronze was voted the best girls’s player to give England its first particular person victory on the FIFA awards. A Champions League winner with Lyon, she has since joined Manchester City.

Bronze acquired 52 factors from the ladies’s voting jury. Pernille Harder, who helped Wolfsburg to the Champions League last, completed second with 40 factors and Bronze’s former Lyon teammate Wendi Renard scored 35 factors.

Lewandowski can be the primary men’s winner from a membership outdoors Spain since Ronaldo received the 2008 award as a Manchester United player.

A Bayern player had not received since FIFA created a world player award in 1991.

The membership twice noticed its stars relegated to third place by Messi and Ronaldo: Franck Ribéry in Bayern’s Champions League profitable year of 2013, and Manuel Neuer one year later after Germany received the World Cup.

Jurgen Klopp, who coached Lewandowski at their former membership Borussia Dortmund, denied Bayern a sweep of the FIFA men’s awards by being voted the best coach for a second straight year.

Klopp guided Liverpool to turn out to be champion of England for the primary time in 30 years, and completed tied in votes with Hansi Flick, who took over at Bayern mid-season. Klopp received in the tiebreaker of most votes from nationwide-crew coaches. Marcelo Bielsa of English second-tier champion Leeds was third.

Sarina Wiegman, who led the Netherlands to the 2019 World Cup last, was voted the best coach in girls’s soccer forward of Lyon’s Jean-Luc Vasseur and Emma Hayes of Chelsea. Wiegma will take over the England crew subsequent year.

Son Heung-min’s end-to-end dribble to rating for Tottenham in opposition to Burnley received the Puskas Award for best objective.

Manchester United and England ahead Marcus Rashford was honored for his marketing campaign to combat baby poverty. FIFA made a donation of $100,000 towards his charitable work.

Other awards:

Best goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Germany, Bayern Munich); Sarah Bouhaddi (France, Lyon).

Fair Play Award: Mattia Agnese, a teenage player in Italy who saved the lifetime of an opponent who misplaced consciousness after a conflict of heads.

Fan Award: Marivaldo Francisco da Silva who walks for 11 hours to see his favourite crew play in Brazil.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Verstappen beats Hamilton in final practice for Bahrain GP – other sports

Max Verstappen beat Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton’s main time to go quickest in the final practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix forward of qualifying later Saturday.

The Red Bull driver was .26 forward of Hamilton and .37 forward of Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton was quickest in each practice runs on Friday and seemed set to make it a hat trick when he overtook Bottas and Verstappen with about 10 minutes left in the hour-lengthy session. But Verstappen got here again out and returned to the highest of the leaderboard.

Hamilton lately secured a file-equaling seventh F1 title and is bidding for a file-extending 98th profession pole place.

But he may face competitors from Verstappen, who’s bidding for solely his third pole.

Alexander Albon’s Red Bull was fitted with a brand new chassis after he crashed closely following a mistake in the second practice. Albon drove properly this time and positioned fourth.

Hamilton and other drivers have been complaining in regards to the new Pirelli tires, saying they’re too heavy and Vettel calling them even worse than earlier than.

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More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sport

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Newcastle scores 2 late goals, beats Palace 2-0 in EPL – football

Callum Wilson and (*2*) scored late as Newcastle beat Crystal Palace 2-0 in the English Premier League. Back in the group after a hamstring harm, Wilson gave Newcastle the lead in the 88th minute at Selhurst Park on Friday by working onto a go from strike associate (*2*) and sliding a end by the legs of goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.

(*2*) then broke clear in the ninetieth, reduce onto his left foot and despatched in a shot that deflected in off sliding Palace middle again Gary Cahill.

Newcastle got here into the match having misplaced two straight video games, and the win took Steve Bruce’s group to tenth place.

The absence of Wilfried Zaha once more proved telling for Palace, whose star attacker was additionally lacking in the 1-0 loss at Burnley on Monday after contracting the coronavirus.

Palace dropped to thirteenth, some extent beneath Newcastle.

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