Swansea City 2-1 Manchester United: Swans comeback stuns Red Devils

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  • Juan Mata bagged the opener just after halftime
  • Andre Ayew equalized on the hour mark
  • Bafetimbi Gomis gave Swansea the lead 6 minutes later

A pair of goals in six minutes gave Swansea City a stunning comeback as they down Manchester United by a 2-1 scoreline for the third straight time in Premier League play.

Juan Mata had given Manchester United the lead shortly after halftime when Bafetimbi Gomis and Andre Ayew grabbed the game by its horns and set the Liberty Stadium alight after an hour.

Off the opening whistle, with Swansea initially looking to play on the break, Manchester United held much of the possession in the opening 20 minutes. Mata came closest when he picked up a loose ball in the box and lashed it just wide of the near post.

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Swansea nearly caught United’s high back line off guard but Bafetimbi Gomis ripped his effort well over the bar on the 24th minute break. Moments later Gylfi Sigurdsson should have put the Swans one-up but he put his low shot just wide. The Swans continued their bright spell as a clearance by Sergio Romero went right to Jonjo Shelvey, and the midfielder tried an audacious chip that Romero just got his hands to. Gomis then hit the outside of the post with a strong shot under pressure.

[ RELATED: Manchester City signs Kevin de Bruyne ]

Rain began to pour down near the half-hour mark, and both sides looked bogged down as the first half wound down.

But just three minutes into the second half, Manchester United went ahead with their third goal of the season. Luke Shaw burst down the left side and delivered a cross into the box. Wayne Rooney, waiting at the near post, stuck a foot out but missed the ball, and with the defenders converging on Rooney, Juan Mata was left alone at the far post to punch the ball home from close range.

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Manchester United settled in to preserve their lead, but Swansea had been dangerous on the counter, and Garry Monk brought on Ki Sung-Yeung to change the home side’s shape. It worked to perfection.

They equalized on the hour mark with a brilliant header by Andre Ayew. A cross from the right came into the box with Ayew and Gomis out-gunning just one defender on the counter, and the Ghanan cannoned his header into the ground and over Sergio Romero’s head on the bounce.

With United back-pedaling, they stunned the Red Devils by taking the lead just six minutes later. Ayew got the ball down the right and sent a ball forward to Gomis one-on-two. The Red Devil defense somehow let it through, and Gomis poked a ball past Romero from a tight angle for the lead and his trademark panther celebration.

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Manchester United brought on Marouane Fellaini and began to hoof it forward, but the attacking intent seemed more out of desperation than inspiration. There was one last big chance, but referee Martin Atkinson waved away a penalty shout from Wayne Rooney after the English international was clean through on goal but waited too long before going down under pressure from Ashley Williams.

The loss is Manchester United’s first of the season, but they remain without more than one goal in any game thus far and sit on seven points. Swansea, thanks to Gomis’s fourth goal in four games, move into the Premier League table’s top four.

Champions League preview: Spurs host Leipzig, Valencia visits Atalanta

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Two more UEFA Champions League Round of 16 ties kickoff Wednesday, including one being labeled as the biggest in a club’s existence.

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That would be Serie A side Atalanta, which hosts Valencia at 3 p.m. at Gewiss Stadium.

Atalanta had played in two consecutive Europa Leagues, but this is their first move into the Champions League. To make the knockout rounds is exceptional, and club president Antonio Percassi is fired up.

“We must be honest, this is the most important game in the history of this club,” Percassi told Sky Sport Italia. “It doesn’t seem real. It’s exciting just thinking that tomorrow we’ll be in a Champions League Round of 16. It’s wonderful for our fans too. … This is going to be a unique experience that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.”

Atalanta finished second in its group to Manchester City, and is fourth in Serie A. Valencia won its group.

There’s a Premier League side in action on Wednesday, too, as Spurs begin life without Heung-Min Son.

Jose Mourinho spun a tale about how badly Tottenham will need its fans against RB Leipzig, comparing the home-field advantage to an emergency rescue crew of sorts.

Leipzig is led by Julian Nagelsmann, who was once referred to as “Baby Mourinho” by his players.

The 32-year-old was quick to distance himself from the story.

“Tomorrow it is Leipzig against Tottenham, not Mourinho v. Baby Mourinho,” he said. “I have great respect for Mourinho. He has won lots of titles with big clubs, the Champions League twice. He has made his mark on European football at some big European clubs. I think it his 59th knockout game in the CL and it is my first so there is obviously respect there.”

Liverpool’s Robertson not a fan of Atletico Madrid theatrics

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Liverpool fullback Andy Robertson was not impressed with Atletico Madrid’s display as his side fell 1-0 in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 tie on Tuesday.

The Reds fell behind on a fourth-minute Saul Niguez goal and couldn’t get a shot on target despite 73 percent possession in Spain.

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Atleti executed its plan to near-perfection, slowing restarts and taking advantage of counterattacking opportunities to assuage the constant pressure of Liverpool.

At times it was reminiscent of early-century Italian national team play, and both neutrals and Liverpool knew what they were in for once Atleti took the lead.

“We gave them the best possible start to get the fans behind them and then they can start falling over and things like that, trying to get under our skin a bit which I think we handled quite well to be honest,” Robertson told BT Sport. “We know we are better than (how they played). We put in a decent performance and we can be better than that. Luckily we have got a second leg to put it right.”

Given the performance and the reputation, you’d still fancy the Reds to “put it right” at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp thinks Atleti will feel plenty of pressure at Anfield, and he will certainly feel the officiating will be more to his liking.

Liverpool’s Klopp: ‘Our people will be ready’ for second leg at Anfield

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Jurgen Klopp didn’t have any issue with Diego Simeone’s defense-first Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Tuesday.

The Spanish side flummoxed Liverpool’s attack and the Reds didn’t manage a shot on target despite eight attempts and 73 percent possession at the Wanda Metropolitano.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

What Klopp didn’t appreciate was the referee’s work, though, implying that Polish official Szymon Marciniak was overwhelmed by the occasion. Marciniak has worked UCL matches for six seasons, twice overseeing quarterfinal ties.

Klopp was shown a yellow card in the second half, and the Liverpool boss felt Sadio Mane was harassed by Atleti. Klopp removed yellow-carrying Mane at halftime.

“He was targeted obviously,” Klopp said after the game. “The only thing they wanted was to make sure he got a yellow card. The score is 1-0, that’s all but you need to be really strong as a ref in this atmosphere. So many things happened, after 30 minutes already three players were on the ground. The first yellow card was a striker from us. I’m not sure they even got a yellow card, which is funny.”

Atleti’s Angel Correa was shown a yellow, while Klopp, Mane, and Joe Gomez were cautioned for Liverpool.

The Liverpool boss found himself laughing a few times, especially when he was asked about Simeone’s touchline personality.

Klopp said before the game that if the German was a four in intensity, then Simeone was a 12. Simeone followed suit by constantly urging the crowd to get behind the home side on Tuesday.

That didn’t bother Klopp, but he issued a public relations officer’s dream in reacting to it.

“Wow, wow,” he laughed. “That’s energy. I don’t think I have to do it that much (at Anfield). Our people will be ready. Welcome to Anfield. It’s not over yet.”

Klopp finished his remarks by saying of Jordan Henderson‘s removal from the game with a hamstring injury, “I hope it was a precaution, but I’m not 100 percent sure”

Haaland wins first leg after Borussia Dortmund-PSG comes to life late

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Erling Haaland scored twice in a mid-second half flurry as Borussia Dortmund beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Tuesday.

The hosts also got an assist from teenager Giovanni Reyna, who became the youngest American to appear in a Champions League match.

Haaland now has 39 goals in 29 appearances between Red Bull Salzburg and BVB, 11 of those for his new German employer.

Neymar scored off a Kylian Mbappe goal for PSG, who brings an away goal back to the Parc des Princes for a March 11 second leg.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Neymar had an early free kick, missing just wide of the far post.

Jadon Sancho troubled the keeper twice in the first half hour, first with a cross that Mats Hummels headed over goal. Then, Keylor Navas picked another Sancho offering out of the air.

Sancho kept serving, and Erling Haaland couldn’t turn a promising cross on target.

Dortmund walked into halftime with a scoreless match but a 7-2 edge in shot attempts. Neither of PSG’s shots were on target.

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Borussia Dortmund boss Lucien Favre put in American teen Giovani Reyna in the 67th minute.

Two minutes later, it was 1-0 to the hosts through Haaland’s close-range goal.

Neymar replied from close range himself after a powerful, clever dribble from Kylian Mbappe led to a pass through the box.

But Haaland got his second in the 77th minute with a scorching shot that serves as the first senior assist of Reyna’s senior career with Dortmund (Watch it here).