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Pogba volley takes United top of EPL

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Paul Pogba’s second-half volley was enough to give Manchester United victory at Burnley and send them three points clear at the top of the Premier League.

United dominated a contest in which,  Burnley failed to register a single shot on target until stoppage time.

But they were struggling to make a breakthrough until Marcus Rashford picked Pogba out with an excellent cross to the edge of the area.

The Frenchman’s connection was perfect, although it took a deflection off Matthew Lowton to ensure the ball went past Nick Pope and into the Burnley net.

Although Burnley had three decent chances in a frantic ending, United secured the win to head the table after 17 rounds of matches.

It is the first time that has happened this many games into the season since December 2012, in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final, title-winning campaign.

In the seven seasons since Ferguson retired, United have never been higher than second at this stage of the season.

But they were already well adrift of Manchester City during that 2017-18 campaign under Jose Mourinho.

Surprisingly, in points terms, the nearest they have been to the top at this stage was under David Moyes, when they were eighth but only eight points behind the leaders after 17 games.

They made hard work of their ninth win in 11 Premier League games. On his return from a three-match ban, Edinson Cavani wasted two excellent chances and Bruno Fernandes fired a first-half effort straight at Nick Pope.

Anthony Martial was off target with two first-half chances before failing to convert in the final seconds after he had been sent clean through.

None of this matters now though and, while manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was right to say nobody remembers what the table looks like in January, Pogba’s clenched fist as Burnley’s last chance went begging indicated the importance of these three points.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told BBC Sport: “I’m very pleased of course. Any time you get three points, you are happy. We had to dig in and earn it and we did.

“The goal was top, great execution and style. Paul Pogba really played well tonight. It would have been easier for us, we should have got the second goal but we don’t do it the easy way.

“We feel very confident going into games. Away from home we have really done well. We have to believe in ourselves and we do. We’ve done a great job, it’s good times. It’s a test against the champions (Liverpool on Sunday) who have been fantastic, a great test for us.”

Burnley manager Sean Dyche told Match of the Day, “It was a decent performance against a top side on decent form. We are growing into our season. Performances and results have improved.

“United came out second half with more tempo and they have spells when they will do that. They scored a very good goal via a deflection and Pope would save it otherwise. The reaction was terrific.”

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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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Arsenal spank Tottenham 3-1 in London derby

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Arsenal secured a vital 3-1 win over Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday as goals from Thomas Partey, Gabriel Jesus and Granit Xhaka saw the Gunners triumph in the North London derby.

Mikel Arteta made two changes to the team that defeated Brentford last time out as Oleksandr Zinchenko and Martin Odegaard returned while Thomas Partey started after some injury concerns.

Arsenal dominated the opening exchanges and took the lead with 20 minutes gone through a Partey pearler.

Just nine minutes later, Harry Kane brought Spurs level after Gabriel brought down Richarlison to undo all of Arsenal’s good work. The visitors grew into the game after drawing level and headed into half-time with a share of the spoils.

Arsenal took the lead minutes into the second half. Bukayo Saka weaved his way into the box and hit his shot at Hugo Lloris who parried twice which allowed Jesus to poke home.

With 60 minutes gone, Spurs’ chances of taking something away from the game were dealt a blow when Emerson Royal was shown a straight red card for his challenge on Gabriel Martinelli.

Arsenal made their advantage pay as Granit Xhaka fired his shot low and across Lloris after some good work from Martinelli. The Gunners played out the remaining time without breaking a sweat to secure north London bragging rights.

Harry Kane’s leveller for Tottenham saw him set yet more scoring records, but his side self-destructed after halftime as their 12-year wait for a league win in the fixture continued. Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have now won seven of their opening eight games and lead the standings by four points with second-placed Manchester City facing Manchester United on Sunday.

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Lewandowski gives Barca slim victory in Mallorca

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Robert Lewandowski was the hero once again for Barcelona as they fought to a 1-0 victory away at Mallorca.

The game started with Barca pulling weights to break the deadlock, and did eventually when Lewandowski curled in a fine shot into the bottom corner of the net in the 20th minute.

Barca then tried to kill off the game but could not find that second-goal cushion as Mallorca were defensively solid.

The host tried, on multiple occasions, to draw level but Marc Andre Ter Stegen continued his excllent form between the sticks for Barca as he denied their attempts to ensure Barca pick up maximum points and stay top of the league for at least, the night till Real Madrid play Osasuna on Sunday night.

-Vanguard

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