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Early goal holds up for Barcelona at Man Utd (video)

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  • Suarez scores 13th minute opener
  • Man Utd with 10 shots, zero on target
  • Second leg Tuesday in Barcelona

Manchester United out-attempted UEFA Champions League favorites Barcelona but couldn’t find a way into the goal in a 1-0 quarterfinal first leg loss at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Luke Shaw own goal was the difference in a scrappy affair, put behind David De Gea on a play produced by Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

The second leg is Tuesday at the Camp Nou.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The early stages had a typical “feeling it out” vibe, though Marcus Rashford was especially lively.

Barcelona went ahead, and VAR helped give the goal overcome the linesman’s offside flag. Who knows what he was looking at it, but Suarez’s attempted header of a Messi cross came off Shaw and defied David De Gea with everyone onside. 1-0, 13′.

De Gea saved from Coutinho in the 36th minute, and Barca was buzzing again.

Diego Dalot headed over the goal with the crown of his head after a long cross found him back post.

By the way, Manchester United center back Chris Smalling saw nothing for this:

United has all of the ball and the chances to start the second half, but Barca held firm like Spurs versus Man City a day earlier.

Suarez knifed into the 18 but sliced his shot into the outside of netting in the 65th.

Messi tried to sneak a free kick through the wall but his shot deflected and De Gea adjusted to catch it in the 83rd, the lone moment of interest in a sleepy 10-15 minutes.

Gerard Pique then intervened to stop Anthony Martial from a prime scoring chance. The ensuing corner kick led to nothing.

Here’s the only goal:

Manchester United too much for Watford

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  • Shaw with delightful assist (video)
  • Rashford, Martial score
  • United back into Top Four
  • Watford drops into ninth

Manchester United scored twice to give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a win in his debut as full-time manager, as the Red Devils beat Watford 2-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial scored United’s goals, while Abdoulaye Doucoure netted a late concession for the Hornets.

United has 61 points, and sits fourth before Spurs, Arsenal, and Chelsea play their matches. Watford drops ninth with 43.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Rashford opened the scoring, but give Luke Shaw a lot of the credit for the counter attacking goal. The English left back led the charge and swept an improbable pass through two defenders and around another for Rashford’s finish.

Martial made it 2-0 and United looked to be cruising toward a win if not a blowout, but Doucoure capped off a sublime combination play to get the game within one on the outskirts of stoppage time.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

PL Preview: Man United v. Liverpool

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  • Man United has won 7 of last 9 home games against Liverpool
  • 2 teams have a combined 3 PL losses since start of October
  • Liverpool has conceded 8 goals in PL away games this season

Liverpool has to pass a stiff test to reclaim the top spot in the Premier League as the Reds travel to Old Trafford to take on in-form Manchester United at 9:05 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

The Reds were passed by Manchester City on goal differential at the top of the Premier League table, but any form of result would bring them back into the lead. Still, having held a three-point advantage before City’s obliteration of Chelsea, anything less than a win will feel like dropped points for the visitors despite the challenge.

Manchester United comes into the match having won eight of its last nine Premier League matches, with a 2-2 draw against Burnley the only blemish on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s record. Manchester United’s last loss came at the hand of this Liverpool side, a 3-1 result that ended Jose Mourinho’s tenure as Red Devils manager. They could receive a surprise boost as both Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial are in contention to earn a place despite recent injuries.

For Liverpool, they will see Virgil Van Dijk return to the defensive lineup after his suspension against Bayern Munich in midweek Champions League play, but he will be without his usual defensive partner in Dejan Lovren who continues to work his way back from a hamstring injury. While Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has returned to Liverpool training, but still has work to do to return to the pitch after missing almost a full year with a knee injury.

What they’re saying

Solskjaer on playing rivals Liverpool: “I’m focusing on us and what we have to do to get to where we want to be. It’s a three-horse race for the title and fourth, that’s my focus. I played a few of these [against Liverpool] myself and know the magnitude of it for the fans and everyone who works here. It’s our job to be focusing and channelling all that energy into performance mode when we start the game on Sunday.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on interim MUFC boss Solskjaer: “There is no doubt that he will be the manager next year as well, that’s clear. Can you imagine one situation when they say ‘We are bringing in another manager?’ Then a new manager will lose one game and that’s not possible. He deserves [the job] 100% – he did everything that you have to do to be successful with them.”

Video preview

Prediction

Liverpool will be up for this match, but the competition is stiff. Both teams will be smart about picking their spots, and it should be an entertaining match. A 1-1 draw seems like the best guess in a massively important match that could go in either direction, with the result promising to help shape the top four for the remainder of the season.

Fans who want to try their hand at predicting PL games can down the NBC Sports Predictor app, with a chance to win up to $50,000 each week. Download it on iOS or Google Play.

Lingard, Martial to miss weeks for Manchester United

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is fortunate to have attacking depth for Manchester United’s February fixtures.

[ MORE: Solskjaer ready for Chelsea ]

Both Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial are set to miss Monday’s trip to Chelsea as well as the Feb. 24 visit from Liverpool.

That’ll put even more focus on Alexis Sanchez, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford, and Romelu Lukaku, though Solskjaer says prospects like Angel Gomes could help the Red Devils.

Solskjaer even name drops an injured youth player in his description of United’s injury issues.

“Then you are looking at young players, so Mason Greenwood now is the time to step in and he is injured unfortunately, he is out for a couple of weeks as well,” Solskjaer said. “That is just the way the luck goes but Mason will get his chance later on.”

This could push Rashford out wide to put Lukaku up top and Sanchez on the other side, though Mata and Sanchez could man the wings for either of the strikers.

Martial hits out at Mourinho; Young signs new deal

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Ahead of Manchester United’s UEFA Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford on Tuesday, Anthony Martial has hit out at Jose Mourinho.

[ MORE: Pogba dazzles in United win

Speaking to the media alongside his new boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Martial acted as Solskjaer’s translator at one point as French media asked questions ahead of the UCL last 16 first leg.

When asked about the incredible change in results and performances since Mourinho was fired in December and Solskjaer was hired on a caretaker basis until the end of the season, this was Martial’s response.

“We have a coach who has perhaps got different intentions, a different approach and we are trying to do what he is asking us to do,” Martial said. “Perhaps it is easier for us now to play this style of football compared to the previous style of football we were asked to play. We are doing well on the pitch and we hope we continue to do well on the pitch.”

Ouch, that has to hurt Jose. But with 10 wins from 11 games in all competitions under Solskajer, the Red Devils returning to the top four and rampant attacking displays from Martial, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, can you really disagree with what Martial is saying?

Probs not.

As for Solskjaer, the man who scored the winning goal in the UCL final in 1999 for United, he is relishing the chance to lead them out against PSG in what should be another classic European night at Old Trafford. Keen to brush off talk about a win against PSG being key in gaining him the United job on a permanent basis, Solskjaer was focused on enjoying the occasion.

“It is both the supporters and the players who are looking for to this,” Solskjaer explained. “It has always been special. I want my players to go into this game confident and embrace the game… We’ve given ourselves the best possible opportunity because of the way we’ve come into this game. We’re confident and we’re looking like a team. If there was ever a time to go into big games, it’s now.”

With Neymar out and Edinson Cavani doubtful for PSG, the stars are aligning for United to take a lead with them to the Parc des Princes for the second leg in two weeks time.


Fresh from United signing Martial and Phil Jones to new contracts, Ashley Young is the latest to commit his future to the club.

Young, 33, was out of contract in the summer but has agreed an extension on his deal until the summer of 2020. The converted right back has flourished in his new role and has been one of United’s most consistent players over the past 12 months, as he has often captained the team.

The former Aston Villa and Watford player has now been at United for eight seasons and is a reliable and versatile player for the Red Devils.

Signing him to a one-year contract extension makes perfect sense, especially with Antonio Valencia‘s injury problems and his future at Old Trafford uncertain.

“Since I’ve come into the club, Ashley has been fantastic. His attitude and his experience around the place is vital for us because we have got a young team,” Solskjaer said. “We’ve got players that need some leaders in the dressing room and Ash is one of them so I’m delighted.”