Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool: Stunning goals in wild second half, United grab derby glory

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  • United have won 8 of last 9 home games vs. Liverpool
  • Martial scores solo goal on debut
  • De Gea returns in goal for United
  • Benteke hammers in incredible bicycle kick

MANCHESTER — Manchester United beat bitter rivals Liverpool 3-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday, as Louis Van Gaal‘s men rode second half goals from Daley Blind, Ander Herrera and debutant Anthony Martial to victory.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned from Old Trafford ]

After a tense first half where both teams cancelled each other out, Blind smashed in the opener from a well-worked free kick just after half time and Herrera scored from the penalty spot after he was fouled in the box. Christian Benteke scored a stunning bicycle kick with five minutes to go to give Liverpool hope, but moments later Martial waltzed past three defenders and slotted home to send Old Trafford wild.

With the win United move into second on 10 points, while Liverpool is in ninth on seven points.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Early on United took the game to Liverpool and forced plenty of defensive mistakes from the Reds. A poor throw from Simon Mignolet hit Juan Mata and bounced straight to Maroune Fellaini, but the Belgian lifted his shot harmlessly over the bar.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

As the first half wore on Luke Shaw and Memphis continued to combine down the left flank and caused Liverpool problems, but both teams had little luck in grinding out chances as long balls soared forward to Fellaini and Christian Benteke to no avail. The latter almost got free after 35 minutes, but Emre Can delayed his through ball and Benteke drifted offside, and both sides possessed the ball well but failed to find penetration in-behind the opposition defense.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Ashley Young replaced Memphis at half time and the English winger had an instant impact as he was brought down on the edge of the box for a free kick. Juan Mata rolled the ball back to the edge of the box and Blind arrived right on cue to pass the ball into the top corner. A perfectly executed training ground free kick routine had been executed and United led 1-0.

[ MORE: Click here for full lineups, stats, box score ]

The game then roared into life as Liverpool surged forward and following a bad giveaway on the edge of his own box, De Gea’s then pulled off a superb stop to keep United ahead. A clipped ball into the box found Ings and the former Burnley forward controlled and then volleyed into the ground but De Gea clawed his effort out of the top corner. Old Trafford rose to applaud the Spanish goalkeeper who signed a new four-year deal on Friday.

Anthony Martial came on for his United debut midway through the second half as the most expensive teenager in world soccer replace Mata and went up front on his own, with Fellaini dropping into midfield.

Almost instantly it was 2-0 to United as Herrera burst into the box and although he seemed to be going down already, Joe Gomez slid in rashly and brought down the Spanish midfielder in the box. Penalty kick said Michael Oliver. Herrera stepped up and slammed the PK into the roof of the net to make it 2-0 and the United fans inside Old Trafford were in dreamland.

Late on De Gea saved superbly from Jordon Ibe and then Benteke scored an incredible bicycle kick to make it 2-1. However, just seconds later Martial picked up the ball with seemingly nothing on and then danced through Liverpool’s defense before side-footing home to make it 3-1 to United and seal a memorable win for the home side.

VOTE: Premier League March Madness Final Four

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Our Premier League March Madness tournament enters the Final Four stage on Thursday with two very intriguing ties.

After a wild Elite Eight which saw Everton and Sheffield United upset Chelsea and Man City respectively, we have two wonderful Final Four games set up as 20 Premier League teams are now down to 16.

#1 Liverpool host #12 Everton as the Toffees have upset Man United and Chelsea to reach the Final Four. #7 Sheffield United and #6 Wolves go head-to-head for a spot in the final as they continue to excite neutrals. These encounters will be close.

[ LIVE: March Madness PL hub ]

If you want to see the full game schedule, seedings and bracket, here is the post you need as the tournament will run all week long:

Monday: Relegation semifinals, final – Aston Villa prevailed, Norwich, Bournemouth, Watford relegated
TuesdaySweet 16 results
Wednesday: Elite Eight
Thursday: Final Four
Friday: Championship game

Plus, our own Nick Mendola handicapped the field and here is who he thinks will be the favorites to win it all and if there will be more upsets late on. After all, this is the Premier League…

Okay, vote below (until 6:30 p.m. ET) for the two Final Four matches as our Premier League March Madness tournament continues!

Ronaldinho to leave jail for luxury hotel arrest in Paraguay

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ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) Retired soccer star Ronaldinho was released from a high-security jail in Paraguay on Tuesday after more than a month, but was ordered to serve house arrest at a luxury hotel while he’s investigated for using a fake passport to enter the country.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Ronaldinho, the Brazilian former FIFA player of the year, and his brother Roberto de Assis were also told to pay bail of $800,000 each.

Ronaldinho, who helped lead Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title, was jailed on March 6 after entering the small South American country with a false Paraguayan passport. He told local authorities in a hearing that the document was a gift from a Brazilian businessman, Wilmondes Sousa Liria, who was also jailed.

“I decided to put them in house arrest because the investigation is now well advanced, differently from the situation one month ago,” Judge Gustavo Amarilla said when issuing the ruling.

Ronaldinho had his Brazilian passport seized at home due to an investigation into alleged environmental crimes, but the document was returned to him in September. One month later he played in a friendly in Israel.

If convicted, the former Barcelona star could spend up to five years in jail. Fourteen people are being investigated in the case.

Ronaldinho came to Paraguay to promote his autobiography. He was jailed in an improvised penitentiary in the south of Asunción, which is used for 150 dangerous criminals, including convicts of drug dealing, corruption and rape. During his stay he played soccer with inmates and took pictures with them that were shared on social media.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Court date for USWNT’s law suit versus U.S. Soccer delayed

USWNT equal pay
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A court case that has dragged U.S. Soccer’s administration through the mud and led to a change of leadership may drag into the summer.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

A judge in California has delayed the May 5 trial of gender discrimination against the USSF until June 16 due in part to the coronavirus pandemic. A pretrial conference was also moved to June 1.

The federation is being sued by members of the two-time reigning World Cup champion USWNT under the Equal Pay Act.

The women are requesting more than $66 million in damages.

The extra month gives both parties more time to reach a settlement which could keep this ugly case away from trial. Given the uncertainty in our world, it could of course be delayed again.

The USSF has a new CEO in Will Wilson, who can make a major statement of change by stopping the trial from reaching court.

Handicapping the Final Four of Premier League March Madness

Premier League March Madness
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Our Premier League March Madness results have been as topsy-turvy as the 2019/20 on-field campaign before coronavirus halted it last month.

Yes, the runaway No. 1 seed is alive, but the second, third, fourth, and fifth seeds have been expelled from the tournament within the first two rounds.

Voting in the semifinal round begins Thursday.

[ RESULTS: March Madness Round of 16 ]

Before we go any further, if you’re unfamiliar: To make sure you’re not missing out on either March Madness or the business end of the PL season, we’ve gone ahead and merged the two competitions. The March Madness Final Four and Championship game were due to take place this weekend in Atlanta but now you will be voting on Tottenham v. Arsenal instead of Duke v. Kansas.

Teams are seeded from 1-16 based on their current spot in the table, with Aston Villa winning the relegation playoffs on Monday to remain in the Premier League.

[ LIVE: March Madness PL hub ] 

Before we handicap the semifinal matches, let’s take a look at where the field sits after your Wednesday voting.

No. 1 Liverpool v. No. 12 Everton
No. 6 Wolves v. No. 7 Sheffield United

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Look, all bets are off for the derby. The Everton faithful has shown up in a big way during voting, dispatching Manchester United and Chelsea.

That’s big time stuff, though Liverpool ended the dreams of our presumptive sleeping giant favorite Arsenal after beating West Ham in the Sweet Sixteen.

The Reds are going to have to not just been upstart Everton but overcome the legions of rival supporters who would happily click the Toffees’ box rather than see Liverpool gain the crown.

The other side of the bracket sees No. 7 Sheffield United looking to continue its surprising run in both the PL season and our voting.

The Blades knocked off Man City, potentially aided by the same phenomenon Everton hopes to see on Thursday.

Now they meet Wolves, who may be riding a crest of North American momentum in the form of affinity for El Tri hero Raul Jimenez.

Our prediction: Everton and Wolves in the Final.