EPL

West Brom 1-1 Manchester United: Title challenge slipping away as Solskjaer's men falter again

By Sports Desk February 14, 2021

Manchester United dropped points in the Premier League for the fourth time in five matches as they were held to a 1-1 draw at rock-bottom West Brom, further denting their disappearing hopes of challenging Manchester City at the summit.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men extended their unbeaten run away from home to 19 matches, though it will be seen as another missed opportunity as United are left seven points adrift of City, who still have a game in hand.

United, as they have become accustomed to, fell behind thanks to Mbaye Diagne's controversial early opener, but the visitors equalised through Fernandes on the stroke of half-time, making this the first season since 2012-13 that they have netted 50 times after 20 league matches.

They continued to dominate proceedings in the second half but saw a penalty decision wiped out and former United prospect Sam Johnstone stunningly tipped a Harry Maguire header onto the post deep into stoppage time.

 

 

 

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    Diego Simeone said Atletico Madrid always find new ways to excite him as the Colchoneros boss savoured the team's dramatic progress to the Champions League last 16.

    Atletico prevailed in Tuesday's do-or-die battle away to Porto on matchday six, defeating the Portuguese hosts 3-1 to book their spot in the knockout phase.

    Simeone's Atletico required a victory and hoped Milan failed to beat Liverpool elsewhere in Group B, and the stars aligned for the stuttering LaLiga champions.

    Antoine Griezmann, Angel Correa and Rodrigo de Paul scored to earn Atletico victory in a match that saw three players sent off – Yannick Carrasco received his marching orders, while Porto duo Wendell and Marchesin were also dismissed amid chaotic scenes as three goals were scored after the 90th minute.

    Simeone, who has guided Atletico to two LaLiga titles and a pair of Champions League runners-up appearances during his decade-long tenure in the Spanish capital, could not contain his emotions.

    "I've been at this club for 10 years and the team always ends up exciting me in new ways," Atletico head coach Simeone said.

    "The difficulties, the fact that we didn't have three of our four centre-backs, but there are players with few minutes who are still so important to us. Today it was [Sime] Vrsaljko’s turn, we knew he could do his job. [Geoffrey] Kondogbia is the same.

    "The whole team got involved in the game, gave everything, put their hearts into it. We have a goalkeeper who delivered in moments of difficulty. In the second half, if they had scored from that chance, they win.

    "Today was a beautiful day, a great day. The boys from the youth team made it through and I wanted to as well. They gave us the ambition of wanting to make it through. We are going to remember this as one of the classic Champions League matches of our lifetime, against a great team in a tough game. We're similar.

    "The game had everything – sendings off, chances. Football, how beautiful."

    Porto against Atletico was the first ever Champions League game to see as many as three goals scored in the 90th minute (including stoppage time), while the fixture was the first in the premier club competition to have as many as three red cards since 2013.

    Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak said: "It's been an incredible night. I'm very happy with the victory, for the team and the fans. I'm sure many people didn't believe in us but it's in matches like these where we show what a team we really are and that we are such a strong group.

    "You have to keep your head up when you lose and, when things don't go your way, you have to keep playing as if your life depends on it. We can't be at our best throughout the season but you have to keep on going.

    "There's no limit to what we can do and when we have to dig our heels in we do it. I wish we didn't have to suffer so much but this is football: it's not always easy."

  • Inter have a lot of regrets after Madrid defeat, bemoans Inzaghi Inter have a lot of regrets after Madrid defeat, bemoans Inzaghi

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    Inter were denied top spot in Group D after going down 2-0 to Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.

    Though already guaranteed a place in the knockout phase, goals from Toni Kroos and Marco Asensio ensured Inter will be drawn to play a group winner in the last 16.

    Inter were on top of large periods of the first half; with 13 shots, 14 open-play crosses and 54.9 per cent of the possession.

    But for all their positive play, visiting Inter could only register a single shot on target and their task was made more difficult after the break following Nicolo Barella's dismissal.

    Despite a 10th defeat in 12 European matches against Spanish opposition, Inzaghi insisted the experience will stand his side in good stead heading into the knockout stages.

    Inter have lost each of their last four European meetings with Madrid, and have now lost each of their last seven away games against the LaLiga giants.

    "Clearly, we wanted to get a different result, but it will be very useful for our future," the head coach said. 

    "There are a lot of regrets with the first half because, in my opinion, we played very well and with personality. 

    "Unfortunately, we created a lot of situations where the numbers were in our favour, but we went into the interval a goal down.

    "It was an open match; we were close to scoring the equaliser after the break. When it became 10 against 11, it was more difficult.

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  • Porto 1-3 Atletico Madrid: Griezmann helps Simeone's men reach knockout stage Porto 1-3 Atletico Madrid: Griezmann helps Simeone's men reach knockout stage

    Antoine Griezmann, Angel Correa and Rodrigo de Paul scored and three players were sent off as Atletico Madrid earned a place in the last 16 of the Champions League after a riotous 3-1 victory over Porto.

    Following a goalless first half, Griezmann arrived at the far post after the break to divert in a corner and give Atletico the edge in a tight contest.

    Yannick Carrasco lost his cool in the 67th minute, being sent off after grabbing Otavio's head, before Porto's Wendell was shown a straight red card just five minutes later for an elbow, making it a 10-a-side game. Unused Porto substitute Marchesin also saw red amid chaotic scenes.

    Three goals were then scored from the 90th minute onwards, with Correa racing away to slot into the bottom corner and De Paul hammering in before Sergio Oliveira netted a consolation from the spot.

    The first big chance of the game fell Atletico's way in the 22nd minute as Carrasco's low ball across the face of goal found Thomas Lemar, but Costa made the save at point-blank range and Griezmann could not connect with the loose ball with the goal gaping. The Porto goalkeeper then denied Marcos Llorente from a tight angle.

    The visitors broke the deadlock in the 56th minute as Lemar's corner was flicked on by Geoffrey Kondogbia and turned in at the back post by Griezmann to give Diego Simeone's men a vital advantage.

    Carrasco refused to give the ball back for a Porto throw-in before lashing out at Otavio as the Porto midfielder attempted to grab it from him, the Belgian earning himself a straight red card.

    Ugly scenes ensued as both camps clashed, and Porto substitute Wendell suffered the same fate as Carrasco shortly after as he elbowed Angel Correa in the throat. Marchesin appeared to be red-carded for speaking out of turn from the sidelines.

    Correa broke away in the 90th minute to double Atletico's advantage with a low finish into the bottom-left corner before De Paul smashed in the rebound after Griezmann's shot was saved two minutes later.

    Porto pulled one back deep into stoppage time as Oliveira rifled a penalty past Jan Oblak, but Atletico had done enough to make it to the knockout stage. Porto must settle for the Europa League.

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