Saturday , September 22 2018

Walker winner allows City to celebrate decade of AD glory

Everton held by Huddersfield

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Sept 1, (Agencies): England right-back Kyle Walker’s first goal for almost three years ensured Manchester City celebrated a 2-1 victory over Newcastle on the 10th anniversary of the club’s takeover by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour.

In his 52nd appearance for the club, Walker netted for the first time in spectacular style by driving a low shot in the corner from 25 yards early in the second half.

It was a goal worthy of winning any game, but this was a laboured performance from Pep Guardiola’s side, despite taking the lead through Raheem Sterling in the eighth minute.

Newcastle proved durable opponents, and equalized after half-an-hour, with DeAndre Yedlin making amends for his own goal that handed Chelsea victory last weekend.

Walker, though, ensured a day of celebration for City ended on a high as they marked the anniversary of a takeover that has led to a decade of spending and unprecedented success in their history.

City have been transformed from Premier League also-rans to serial winners during that time, finishing top of the table last season with a record of 100 points.

Guardiola’s side started this season as favourites to retain the title. Yet it has not been an entirely straightforward start, with last season’s player of the year Kevin de Bruyne suffering a long-term knee injury and City dropping points in a 1-1 draw at Wolves last weekend.

The issue of Leroy Sane’s attitude will not go away either. Last season’s PFA Young Player if the Year has failed to impress Guardiola in training of late and the City manager decided to leave Sane out of his squad all together on Saturday.

At first, it appeared as if he would not be missed. Sterling, the man selected in the left-sided attacking role that Sane filled last season, marked his 100th Premier League appearance by opening the scoring.

The goal came after Jamaal Lascelles played an awful pass out from the edge of his own penalty area, enabling Benjamin Mendy to intercept and feed a pass left to Sterling, who cut inside and drilled a shot into the far corner.

City could have extended that lead. Sergio Aguero ripped a shot just wide from the edge of the penalty area, while an unmarked Gabriel Jesus headed straight at goalkeeper Martin Dubravka after David Silva’s free-kick glanced off Paul Dummett’s head.

Newcastle hung in there, however, and equalized on the half-hour mark with a well-worked goal. Salomon Rondon found space down the left as he took on Kenedy’s pass, before crossing low for Yedlin to slot in his first Premier League goal.

City were shaken by that equalizer, and were still labouring to find a way back in front when they came up with a goal from nowhere seven minutes into the second half.

Newcastle looked to be comfortable as the home side played their way across the face of the penalty area. Then Walker, from Aguero’s run, received the ball 25 yards out, was not closed down and cut a low shot into the bottom corner.

By now, the visitors were showing signs of tiredness. Aguero, in space on the break, produced a cross from which Fernandinho and then David Silva, twice, were denied by brilliant Dubravka blocks to keep the score down to 2-1.

Everton 1, Huddersfield 1

Everton gave a Premier League debut to new signing Lucas Digne who marked the occasion with an assist but the hosts were frustrated by a dogged Huddersfield Town as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park.

Digne, signed from Barcelona last month as part of manager Marco Silva’s expensive squad makeover, slotted in well at left back and made his first meaningful contribution just a minute after Huddersfield took the lead.

It was his cross that arrived perfectly for Dominic Calvert-Lewin to guide home a header in the 36th minute – 87 seconds after the hosts had fallen behind.

Everton had enjoyed plenty of possession, if not much attacking potency, up until that point and were stunned when Huddersfield took a surprise 34th-minute lead as Phil Billing headed past goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from a corner.

The closest Everton came to a winner after the break was when substitute Ademola Lookman’s tantalizing cross just eluded Calvert-Lewin and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Everton remain unbeaten after four games but have drawn three times, while Huddersfield are yet to win this season but did clamber out of the bottom three.

“We didn’t perform well. It wasn’t a good game,” was Silva’s take on a disjointed affair.

“They had nine players behind the ball. When we play against that side of team, we have to play faster in certain moments of the game to disorganize them.” Huddersfield again look set for a long season of toil after just managing to survive last season.

But manager David Wagner was delighted with the way his side dug in to emerge with their second point of the season.

“The players did a fantastic job and worked their socks off and created their moments.”

Brighton 2, Fulham 2

Glenn Murray scored twice as Brighton & Hove Albion came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Fulham at the Amex Stadium in the first ever top-tier meeting between the sides.

Murray gave Brighton hope on 67 minutes when he side-footed home from close in moments after Aleksandar Mitrovic looked to have set up a Fulham win with his fourth goal in three games.

He has now scored more goals than anyone else in England since signing for Fulham last February but, on this occasion, his joy was short-lived as he then handled in his own area to concede a penalty.

Murray scored the spot-kick, taking on the responsibility after Pascal Gross missed from the spot in the first half.

Fulham’s Andre Schurrle opened the scoring on 43 minutes when he got on the end of Jean Michael Seri’s pass for his second goal in successive games.

Palace 0, Southampton 2

Southampton earned their first win of the Premier League season with an impressive 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Danny Ings, on loan from Liverpool, scored his second goal of the season in the 47th minute to put the Saints ahead and they should have doubled their lead but Charlie Austin saw a penalty saved by Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey.

Saints had keeper Alex McCarthy, called up to the England squad this week, to thank for a series of fine saves including a brilliant late stop to keep out a close-range effort from Palace striker Christian Benteke.

With Roy Hodgson’s side piling forward in search of an equalizer, Southampton struck on the break with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s finish making sure of the victory in stoppage time.

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