Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 15th 2014 Contents A53
Monday, December 15, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
MANCHESTER---Manchester United s
unlikely title challenge in the Premier
League gained further momentum with a
3-0 win over great rival Liverpool yester-
day, plunging last season s runner-up into
Goals by Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and
Robin van Persie sealed a sixth straight win
for United, which has recovered from a dis-
appointing start to the campaign to climb
to third place and within eight points of
The scoreline was harsh on Liverpool,
which was repeatedly denied by United
goalkeeper David de Gea, but exposed the
team s inefficiency up front and underlined
the transformation in fortunes of England s
two biggest clubs.
Eliminated from the Champions League
on Tuesday, Liverpool dropped to 10th place
in the Premier League after Tottenham s
2-1 win at Swansea in yesterday s other
Christian Eriksen drove in an 89th-
minute winner for Spurs, who are seventh
and have scored late goals for 2-1 victories
in three of their last four away games.
While the title race is likely to come down
to a straight fight between Chelsea and
Manchester City, United cannot be dis-
Louis van Gaal s team still has plenty of
room for improvement and has no European
or English League Cup commitments to
clog up its schedule this season. Liverpool
was in a similar situation last season and
almost won the league, taking a fast-fin-
ishing City to the final weekend.
"We have to see match by match," Van
Gaal said of United s title chances. "Of
course, winning now six matches in a row
is fantastic but we have to improve our
playing style still and I am saying that nearly
Liverpool won the corresponding fixture
3-0 last season, one of a string setbacks
that eventually cost United manager David
Moyes his job. This time, it is Liverpool
manager Brendan Rodgers under huge pres-
sure after a heavy defeat in what remains
a marquee fixture in English football.
Rooney, playing in central midfield,
opened the scoring in the 12th minute before
Mata headed in a second in the 40th
minute, with the goal allowed even though
the Spain playmaker was clearly offside
from Van Persie s flick-on.
De Gea had already produced two saves
to deny Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling
and the goalkeeper did even better in the
second half to tip Mario Balotelli s shot
onto the bar, before Van Persie sealed victory
in the 71st.
"For the goalkeeper to get man of the
match tells you everything," Rodgers said.
"We created more chances today than for
five or six games."
Rodgers is tinkering with his team in a
bid to find the winning formula, but it is
proving elusive. Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet
was dropped, the formation was changed
to 3-4-3 and there was no genuine striker
in the starting lineup.
There was more fluidity and pace in the
approach play but Liverpool badly needs
top striker Daniel Sturridge back fit and its
defence looks brittle.
"It epitomised what our season has been,"
Rodgers said. "We have nowhere near
enough goals in the team and that has put
Tottenham won against the run of play
after scoring early and late at Liberty Sta-
Harry Kane continued his impressive
form by scoring in the fourth minute, only
for Wilfried Bony to equalise in the 48th
for his 20th goal of 2014.
Eriksen fired a right-foot shot into the
bottom left corner after Swansea failed to
clear its lines, allowing Spurs to move above
Liverpool, Swansea and Newcastle in the
BERLIN---Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia
Moenchengladbach drew 1-1 in the Bundesliga,
while promoted Paderborn held second-place
Wolfsburg by the same score yesterday.
Leverkusen midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu
opened the scoring in the early game with a won-
derful effort over the keeper and inside the far
corner in the 18th minute.
The home side failed to make the most of its
first half superiority, however, and was made to
pay six minutes before the break when Roel
Brouwers equalized after a corner. It was the vis-
itors first shot on goal.
Brouwers almost made it 2-1 early in the second
half, which got off to a furious start but lacked
Andre Hahn could have snatched victory with
another late Gladbach counterattack, but his
effort was straight at the Leverkusen keeper.
"With a better counterattack we might have
won 2-1, but 1-1 is OK away from home," Brouw-
Both sides moved above Augsburg on goal dif-
ference to occupy the Champions League-qual-
"To draw with Gladbach is no scandal," Lev-
erkusen coach Roger Schmidt said.
Paderborn goalkeeper Lukas Kruse saved a
penalty in an inspirational performance to salvage
a point for his side in the late game.
An own goal from Rafa gave Wolfsburg a 17th-
minute lead. The Spanish defender tried clearing
the ball off the line from the lurking Bas Dost
but could only crash it off the crossbar and in.
Kruse saved Ivan Perisic s penalty in the 30th,
Dost hit the crossbar three minutes later, and
then had a goal ruled out for a perceived foul on
Christian Strohdiek before the break.
Alban Meha equalized with a penalty in the
51st, awarded for a foul by Naldo on Strohdiek.
Dost missed another chance shortly afterward
and the Dutch striker s ill luck continued in the
58th, when he wasn t awarded a penalty despite
appearing to have been bundled over by Meha.
Kruse produced a string of late saves to frustrate
the home side.
Bayern Munich, which routed Augsburg 4-0
on Saturday, was nine points clear of Wolfsburg
after 15 rounds of games.
AMSTERDAM---Luuk de Jong and Georginio
Wijnaldum scored first-half goals to give PSV
Eindhoven a comfortable 2-0 home win yes-
terday over FC Twente to stay top of the Dutch
Defending champion Ajax also won easily, beat-
ing Utrecht 3-1 to stay second.
De Jong opened the scoring for PSV against
his former team, heading in a corner in the 21st
minute. Wijnaldum doubled the lead on the stroke
of halftime, finishing off a slick passing move
from close range. Midfielders Thulani Serero and
Davy Klaassen and winger Anwar El Ghazi scored
for Ajax in the Amsterdam Arena.
PEC Zwolle moved third by beating Willem II
1-0 in Tilburg on Saturday night.
Feyenoord could have retaken third spot by
beating AZ Alkmaar in yesterday s late match but
could only manage a 2-2 draw in Rotterdam.
Alkmaar went 2-0 up in the first half before
Feyenoord clawed its way to a point thanks to
an injury-time equaliser from midfielder Jordy
1-1 in Germany
PSV cruise past
Twente to stay
top of Eredivisie
Manchester United's Wayne
Rooney, left, fights for the ball
against Liverpool's Philippe
Coutinho during the English
Premier League match between
Manchester United and
Liverpool at Old Trafford
Stadium, Manchester, England,
yesterday. AP PHOTO
Man Utd gains momentum
with 3-0 win over Liverpool
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