Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not giving up hope that Manchester United can challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title, despite the scintillating form of the league leaders.
City have soared 10 points clear of their local rivals thanks to an 18-game winning streak in all competitions.
United’s own inconsistent form has helped open up the gap, but the Red Devils beat Newcastle 3-1 on Sunday to win for just the second time in six league games.
“We’ve got to be there just in case,” said Solskjaer. “Every time we get three points we’ve done our job and that’s what we’ve got to do and see what other teams do.”
Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford were again on target on a night United needed their star men to paper over the cracks of another unconvincing performance.
Solskjaer made five changes to the side that impressively thrashed Real Sociedad 4-0 in the Europa League on Thursday and was lucky not to be punished for a disjointed start from the hosts.
“We had to find a way to win it in the second-half. The first-half wasn’t up to the standard that we wanted,” added Solskjaer.
“Maybe because of Newcastle, maybe because of what we did in the week. We asked them to go again after a high-intensity game and it took us to half time to get our legs and energy.”
A run of two wins in 14 games has left Newcastle just three points clear of the drop zone, but Steve Bruce remains confident his side will survive.
“Fulham have had a good week and won a couple of games, which at the bottom end of the table is big, but there are a few of us: Brighton, Burnley and maybe Crystal Palace looking over their shoulders,” said Bruce.
“My message to the supporters is that I’m convinced we’ll be ok.”
Poor goalkeeping cost Bruce’s men the opening goal on the half hour mark as Rashford wriggled free inside the area, but his shot should have been kept out by Karl Darlow.
United’s sloppy defending from set-pieces was punished six minutes later, though, when Saint-Maximin swept the ball into the top corner after Harry Maguire only half-cleared a cross into the box.
After a blistering start to his United career last season, Dan James has struggled for game time, but the Welshman has now scored in his last three appearances as he blasted past Darlow from close range just before the hour mark.
More good footwork from Rashford then drew Joe Willock into an ill-advised challenge inside the box and the on-loan Arsenal midfielder conceded a penalty.
Darlow had saved the only spot-kick Fernandes has missed as a United player when the sides met earlier in the season.
But he was wrong-footed this time as the Portuguese playmaker coolly converted to give United the two-goal cushion they craved.
Haaland, Foden’s hat-tricks sink United in Manchester Derby
Erling Haaland and Phil Foden scored hat-tricks as Manchester City thrashed Manchester United 6-3 to move to within a point of Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday.
Haaland has scored hat-tricks in each of his last three Premier League home games to take his tally as a City player to 17 in 10 competitive games for the English champions.
“You can see the passes we give each other. We always want to go forward and to attack,” Haaland told Sky Sports.
“It’s what I love about the team. In the end, it’s amazing. There is nothing more to say.”
Antony’s strike and Anthony Martial’s late double ensured United avoided a record defeat in the Manchester derby as they remain in sixth, nine points off the top.
Since also conceding four times inside the first 45 minutes at Brentford in August, United had bounced back with four consecutive Premier League wins to offer hope they are heading in the right direction under Erik ten Hag.
But the Red Devils were given a rude awakening of the gulf that still exists between the Manchester giants.
City could have scored many more than the four they managed in a blistering first half performance that swept away any doubts caused by an inconsistent start to the season from Pep Guardiola’s men.
Within four minutes it took two goal-line clearances and a fine save from David de Gea to deny Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, and Bernardo Silva the opening goal.
Four minutes later, City did open the floodgates when Foden swept home Silva’s cross for the Manchester native’s first derby goal.
Ilkay Gundogan’s free-kick hit the post and Foden blasted another big chance wide before Haaland inevitably made his mark on 34 minutes.
Haaland’s Hat-trick Haul
United were left to bemoan the absence of Raphael Varane to defend a De Bruyne corner as he received treatment on an ankle injury that forced him off at half-time.
Without the Frenchman, there was no match for Haaland’s presence in the penalty box as his header crossed the line before Tyrell Malacia’s attempted clearance.
Moments later, City showcased their ability to counter-attack as Jack Grealish fed De Bruyne, who perfectly picked out Haaland to convert on the stretch at the back post.
Haaland then turned provider with a low cross that Foden converted to leave United trailing 4-0 at half-time for the third time in a year.
Unlike, in a 5-0 defeat at Old Trafford to Liverpool last season and at Brentford last month, there was some semblance of a United response after the break.
Antony smashed home his second goal in as many Premier League appearances since a £82 million ($92 million) move from Ajax.
But Haaland quickly reclaimed centre stage with a thumping finish to meet Sergio Gomez’s cross.
Michael Owen’s record of three hat-tricks in his first 48 appearances had stood as a Premier League record for over two decades, but Haaland has needed just eight.
City were on course to match the record margin of victory in a Manchester derby when Haaland set up Foden to smash home and complete his hat-trick.
That was Foden’s final involvement as he was withdrawn in a quadruple change as Guardiola could afford to also hand a rest to De Bruyne, Gundogan and Grealish.
United took advantage of City taking their foot off the accelerator in the final 10 minutes as substitute Martial scored twice to cut the arrears.
Ten Hag left Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench for the full match and his decision to instead give Martial a chance to impress on his return from injury proved correct.
The Frenchman headed in the rebound after Ederson parried Fred’s shot and then emphatically fired home from the penalty spot. (AFP)
Djokovic wins 89th career title with Tel Aviv final
Novak Djokovic won his 89th career title on Sunday with an impressive straight-set victory over Marin Cilic in the Tel Aviv final.
It was also the third title of the 35-year-old Serbian tennis star in 2022.
Djokovic triumphed 6-3, 6-4 to add the Israeli trophy to victories in Rome and Wimbledon this season.
It was Djokovic’s 19th win over Cilic in 21 meetings in a rivalry stretching back to 2008.
Djokovic was playing his first singles tournament since wrapping up a seventh Wimbledon crown and 21st Grand Slam title in July.
He was banned from the US Open and the entire North American hard court swing over his refusal to be vaccinated before returning for Roger Federer’s farewell in the Laver Cup team event in London last month.
On Sunday, Djokovic broke Cilic in the second game of the final and pocketed the first set with a fourth ace after 47 minutes on court.
Former US Open winner Cilic, chasing a 21st career title but the first of 2022, was broken in the first game of the second set and the 34-year-old never recovered.
The Serb only faced one break point in the final which was clinched in 94 minutes.
Djokovic, who didn’t drop a set all week, now heads to the Astana ATP tournament where world number one Carlos Alcaraz takes the top seeding
Over 120 fans die in Indonesia football stampede
At least 129 people have died in a stampede at an Indonesian football match, officials say, in one of the world’s worst stadium disasters.
The stampede happened after police tear-gassed rioting supporters.
About 180 were injured in the crush after Arema FC lost to bitter rivals Persebaya Surabaya in East Java.
The country’s chief security minister said that the number of spectators exceeded the stadium’s capacity by around 4,000 people.
President Joko Widodo has ordered that all matches in Indonesia’s top league must be stopped until an investigation has been concluded.
Videos show fans running on to the pitch after the final whistle.
Police then fired tear gas, leading to a crowd stampede and cases of suffocation, said Nico Afinta, police chief in East Java.
“It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars,” he said, adding that two police officers were among the dead.
“We would like to convey that… not all of them were anarchic. Only about 3,000 who entered the pitch,” he said.
Fleeing fans “went out to one point at the exit. Then there was a build-up, in the process of accumulation there was shortness of breath, lack of oxygen”, he added.
Videos on social media show fans clambering over fences to escape. Separate videos appear to show lifeless bodies on the floor.
FIFA, the world’s governing football body, states that no “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police at matches.
The Indonesian football association (PSSI) said it had launched an investigation, adding that the incident had “tarnished the face of Indonesian football”.
Violence at football matches is not new in Indonesia, and Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya are long-time rivals.
Persebaya Surabaya fans were banned from buying tickets for the game because of fears of clashes.
But Chief Security Minister Mahfud MD posted on Instagram that 42,000 tickets had been sold for the match at the Kanjuruhan stadium, which has a capacity of 38,000.
President Widodo called for this to be the “last soccer tragedy in the nation” after ordering that all Liga 1 games should be paused pending an investigation.
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