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EPL stunners as Liverpool lose 7-2 to Aston Villa, Manchester United 6-1 to Spurs

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Premier League champion Liverpool was humiliated 7-2 by Aston Villa to end its perfect start to the title defence on Sunday.

Ollie Watkins scored a hat-trick and Jack Grealish scored twice as Villa made it three wins out of three after only surviving in the league on the last day of last season.

Liverpool became the first reigning Premier League champions to concede seven in a game. The last time it happened in English football’s top division was in 1953.

With Alisson Becker out with a shoulder injury, Adrian was in the Liverpool goal and his mistake allowed Watkins to open the scoring in the fourth minute.

A poor attempt at a pass was pounced upon in the Liverpool box by Grealish, who laid the ball to Watkins for a simple finish.

Villa doubled its advantage when Watkins, again set up by Grealish, cut inside Joe Gomez and fired past Adrian into the top corner.

Liverpool reduced the deficit in the 33rd as the ball came to Mohamed Salah in the box and he cracked it in.

But within moments the visitors had conceded again, with John McGinn’s volley going past Adrian via a deflection off defender Virgil Van Dijk.

Ross Barkley then got his debut goal after joining on loan from Chelsea in the 55th, hitting a shot from outside the box that flew in off Trent Alexander-Arnold, with Grealish again the provider.

Salah fired in at the other end five minutes later to make it 5-2, but Villa was not finished, with Grealish adding a brace.

His first came in the 66th minute, another goal involving a deflection as the Villa skipper’s shot hit Fabinho en route to the net.

Watkins was then denied by Adrian, before Grealish burst clear of the Liverpool defense as he latched onto McGinn’s pass and calmly tucked the ball past Adrian.

With three wins from three games, Dean Smith’s Villa are up to second place in the table, level on points with Liverpool – which has played four matches – plus Leicester and Arsenal.

The quartet is three points behind Liverpool’s Merseyside rival, Everton, which Juergen Klopp’s side faces at Goodison Park in their next match on October 17.

Tottenham tore apart Manchester United for a 6-1 victory at Old Trafford on Sunday, exposing the defensive weaknesses in Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side by inflicting the team’s joint-heaviest Premier League defeat at home.

Only once since 1930 has United conceded six at home — to Manchester City nine years ago. Not since 1986 has United opened the league season with back-to-back home losses.

This was a crushing defeat to a Tottenham side managed by Jose Mourinho, who was fired in 2018 to make way for Solskjær. And against a team that has played eight games in 22 days across three competitions and was trailing after two minutes at Old Trafford.

But after Bruno Fernandes’ penalty, United’s wretched defense allowed Tanguy Ndombele to level in the fourth minute and Son Heung-Min to net again inside three minutes.

United can be aggrieved that Erik Lamela’s apparent playacting led to Anthony Martial being sent off in the 28th minute. But the team was already being run ragged by Tottenham.

Harry Kane scored his first on the half-hour, Son netted again in the 37th, Serge Aurier was on target in the 51st and Kane wrapped up the rout from the penalty spot in the 79th.

“Very impressive,” Mourinho said. “The team was phenomenal since the second minute. Losing 1-0, big personality.”

Tottenham’s Harry Kane scores his team’s sixth goal against Manchester United, from the penalty spot. (AP)

Unlike United, which opened the season with 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace. Two more goals were conceded at Brighton last weekend but Fernando came to United’s rescue with a winner from the penalty spot in the 10th minute of stoppage time.

In contrast to that late penalty on the south coast, United was immediately off the mark from the spot against Tottenham.

The game was barely 30 seconds old when Davinson Sanchez tripped Anthony Martial to halt a run into the penalty and Fernandes converted from the spot.

Fernandes can be relied on to score penalties — this was his 18th in a row including at previous club Sporting in Lisbon. What cannot be relied on is United’s shambolic defense despite captain Harry Maguire becoming the world’s most expensive defender when he was signed last year for 80 million pounds.

Twice he weakly headed the ball, unable to clear the danger, before Ndombele prodded in the leveler.

United was carved apart when Kane slipped the pass through for Son who lifted the ball over goalkeeper David De Gea. It was the first time in a decade that three goals had been scored in the opening seven minutes of a Premier League game.

The blot of Tottenham’s day came with Lamela seeming to deceive the referee after being softly struck by Martial in retaliation for a light push on his face by the Argentine. Lamela clutched his face before dropping to the ground — and Martial’s red was upheld by a VAR check.

Tottenham didn’t seem to need the man-advantage it was so ruthless and United was so poor.

Eric Bailly received the ball and passed sloppily to Nemanja Matic, whose failure to control was seized on by Kane. The striker intercepted the ball and played a one-two with Son before netting.

United was torn apart down the right flank for Tottenham’s fourth. After being released by Moussa Sissoko, Aurier put the ball through the legs of Maguire, the center half who had drifted into a left back position, and Son flicked a shot through De Gea.

United was in disarray and fortunate not to concede again until after the break. It was Pierre-Emile Højbjerg’s weighted pass that set up Aurier for the fifth.

Pogba compounded a dismal display by fouling Ben Davies to concede the penalty that Kane converted.

The coronavirus pandemic kept fans out of the stadium — sparing Solskjær boos from his own supporters.

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Haaland, Foden’s hat-tricks sink United in Manchester Derby

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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)

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Djokovic wins 89th career title with Tel Aviv final

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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

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Over 120 fans die in Indonesia football stampede

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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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