LONDON: Bruno Fernandes atoned for a missed penalty as Manchester United blitzed Newcastle United 4-1 with late goals in the evening kick-off on Saturday while Raheem Sterling grabbed the winner as Manchester City beat Arsenal 1-0 in their Premier League clash.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United went into their match at St James’s Park desperate to restore pride after a 6-1 hammering by Tottenham Hotspur before the international break but were immediately in trouble when Luke Shaw turned the ball into his own net.
United were back on level terms midway through the first half when captain Harry Maguire met Juan Mata’s corner with an unstoppable header, just days after the misery of a red card for England against Denmark.
Maguire has produced some suspect defending for United this season, into which he came on the back of being arrested after a late-night incident on the Greek island of Mykonos.
The visitors were handed a golden chance to take the lead from the spot after VAR awarded them a penalty for Jamal Lewis’s challenge on Marcus Rashford but Karl Darlow dived to his right to save Fernandes’s 58th-minute spot-kick.
However, the Portuguese made amends for his miss with a superb 86th-minute strike into the top corner after a counterattack. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Marcus Rashford added goals in second-half stoppage time to complete the rout.
“Great result and great character to come back, led by a very inspirational captain,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports. “Harry scored and leads by example. He showed good character, I am happy for him. He had a couple of difficult weeks since he last played for us. The season started for us today. We have come up to the speed of the game and that showed today.”
Pep Guardiola came up against his former assistant Mikel Arteta at The Etihad and perhaps not surprisingly it was a tactical encounter won by a calm finish from Sterling.
Sterling slotted home the only goal in the 23rd minute after a Phil Foden shot was parried by Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno at the end of a flowing City counter-attack.
Sergio Aguero didn’t score on his return to the City line-up for the first time in nearly four months but was at the centre of a potentially contentious incident.
In the 42nd minute, Aguero was seen complaining about a decision to female assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis. As Massey-Ellis moved along the touchline, Aguero walked next to her and placed his arm around her neck in an action that would be in breach of coronavirus guidelines.
The Argentina international was not sanctioned.
“Sergio is the nicest person I ever met in my life,” City manager Pep Guardiola said. “Look for problems in other situations, not in this one.”
City are ninth with seven points, six off pacesetters Everton but with a game in hand. United, who have also played four games, are a point behind their city rivals.
In Sunday’s early game, Sheffield United and Fulham both collected their first point of the season after drawing 1-1 in a match featuring a penalty for each team.
Ademola Lookman scored the opening goal in the 77th minute, but constant pressure from Sheffield enabled them to level the game in the 85th from the penalty spot through Billy Sharp at Bramall Lane.
Before that, Aleksandar Mitrovic squandered the chance to give Fulham the lead when he lifted his penalty over the crossbar in the 58th.
Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2020