Manchester United 1-2 West Bromwich Albion: Spotty defending costs United dearly at home (video)

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A cracking second half saw Manchester United saddled with their second-straight loss in the Premier League and left David Moyes shaking his head at their inability to deal with an opponent they quite frankly shouldn’t have an issue with at home.

Early on Scott Sinclair went down injured and was replaced by Sado Berahino.  More on that later. A major chance came in the 24th minute for the home side, as Nani sent in a slicing free kick from long range, and Wayne Rooney caught a head on it with power but it was right at Boaz Myhill.

Jonas Olsson, in a somewhat harmless header challenge, got a big cut over his eye which covered his shirt in blood and sent him off the pitch for a bit, but he returned with a massive wrap over his forehead.

In the 34th minute, United produced a dangerous counter, and Kagawa found Anderson who thundered the crossbar with his header.  It didn’t matter because the flag went up for some reason, even though replays showed Anderson was clearly onside.

United continued to absorb and play on the counter, and Kagawa himself got a few good looks at goal as the first half went on.

The second half brought fans what they were searching for, as the game was brought to life.

source: Getty ImagesIt was Amalfitano first who gave West Brom the lead in the 54th minute. He received the ball in his own half and a wonderful run saw him embarrass Rio Ferdinand and deke De Gea, leaving the keeper in a heap on the ground and letting the Frenchman touch the ball home.

Rooney was there for United though.  His free kick from a tight angle came rocketing into the box. Two Red Devils whiffed at a redirect touch, but it wasn’t needed as the ball found the corner pocket anyways to level.

West Brom continued searching for another lead, and it was a young substitute who gave it to them in the 67th minute.  Stephane Sessegnon sliced a wonderful ball into the box for Amalfitano, who cut back to 20-year-old Sado Berahino for a thundering low finish past De Gea and a 2-1 lead.

The game settled down from there, until United believed they had another equalizer by substitute Marouane Fellaini until they saw the linesman’s flag was up.

It was all she wrote for Manchester United, as they went relatively meekly the rest of the match and sent David Moyes home with their first-ever loss to West Brom in the league, and more importantly Manchester United’s worst start in the top-flight in 24 years.

Goals:

Manchester United – Rooney 57′
West Brom – Amalfitano 54′, Berahino, 67′

Lineups:

Manchester United – De Gea; Jones, Ferdinand, Evans, Buttner; Anderson (Fellaini 68′), Carrick; Kagawa (Januzaj, 45′), Rooney, Nani; Hernandez (van Persie, 58′).

West Bromwich Albion – Myhill; Olsson, Ridgewell, McAuley, Jones; Yacob, Mulumbu, Sinclair (Berahino, 13′), Amalfitano, Sessegnon (Rosenberg, 90′); Anichebe (Lugano, 85′).

Defoe walks out Bradley Lowery, scores in England win

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Jermain Defoe’s friendship with terminally-ill Bradley Lowery has been special to watch unfold, and the Sunderland striker brought his little buddy to Wembley today.

Then he notched a match-winner.

Lowery walked Defoe out onto the field in a replica England kit before Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania, and then Defoe scored his 20th goal for country.

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It was his first since 2013, the last year Defoe was called up for the Three Lions.

Here’s the goal, which was followed by a second-half Jamie Vardy tally as England stayed atop Group F with a 2-0 win over Lithuania.

Two Russian soccer fans stabbed in Serbia

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BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) Two Russian fans have been hospitalized with serious injuries after being stabbed following a friendly soccer match between Red Star Belgrade and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said Sunday police were looking for the knife-wielding perpetrators who attacked a group of Lokomotiv fans in downtown Belgrade late Saturday.

Serbian media reports said the Russian fans were attacked by supporters of Red Star’s rival Partizan Belgrade.

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The match, which Red Star won 2-1, was meant to promote Serbia’s traditional friendship with Russia.

Stefanovic says “nobody should think they could hurt the Serbian-Russian friendship” with such attacks.

Serbia has seen a surge of fan violence inside and outside stadiums. In 2009, a French football fan was fatally beaten in Belgrade.

VIDEO: Gerrard’s juggle and finish leads Liverpool legends past Real Madrid

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Scoring at Anfield doesn’t get old, especially when your name is Steven Gerrard.

The English midfielder was playing in a friendly match between Liverpool and Real Madrid “legends” on Sunday, when he delivered this tasty goal (and assists to Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, and John Aldridge).

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Gerrard redirects a cross over a lunging defender and into a place where he can lash a goal home to put the Reds up 4-0. He dedicated his Man of the Match performance to club legend Ronnie Moran, who died earlier this week.

Real’s comeback came up just short in a 4-3 final, with Fernando Morientes, Ruben de la Red, and Edwin Congo scoring for the visitors.

On a Sunday waiting for the international matches to begin, Gerrard supplies a nice highlight for the rest of us (Extended highlights free on Liverpool’s site).

Ozil bristles at talk of Arsenal selling him

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Mesut Ozil is on international break, and bristling at reports that Arsenal is going to sell him.

The midfielder’s absence from the lineup last week had plenty speculating on his future, even more than usual. His contract expires in 2018, and several reports claimed he’d join Alexis Sanchez as players destined for elsewhere.

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Ozil was not called up by Germany, and has missed four of his last nine Premier League matches. Three of those were for illness, and he missed last week’s loss to West Brom with a hamstring injury.

From Metro:

“And you think Wenger tells the journalist before he tells me? Then I know him differently,” Ozil told German outlet Welt.

“I have a contract until 2018 in London and I feel very comfortable there. We’ll talk soon and then make a decision.”

Metro notes that Ozil also said he wants to win the Champions League, something that can only happen with Arsenal remaining in the Top Four. We suppose you could make snarky inferences from his “comfortable in London” phrasing, but we’ll leave it there.