LONDON: A free-kick from Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-Min (R) beats Watford goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.—Reuters
LONDON: A free-kick from Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-Min (R) beats Watford goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.—Reuters

LONDON: Son Heung-min sent Tottenham Hotspur to the top of the Premier League as the South Korean’s free-kick clinched a 1-0 win against Watford, while Mason Greenwood’s late strike fired Manchester United to a record-breaking 1-0 victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s Spurs have made a flawless start to the new domestic season and they sit two points clear of second-placed West Ham United after a third successive victory.

Son settled a hard-fought clash at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium when his free-kick caught Watford keeper Daniel Bachmann out of position in the first half.

After their protracted search for a manager to succeed to Jose Mourinho dragged on throughout the close-season, Tottenham were in danger of becoming a laughing stock.

Nuno was far from their first choice, but the former Wolves boss has hit the ground running north London.

Three consecutive 1-0 wins, including one against Premier League champions Manchester City, as well as progress in the Europa Conference League, suggest Spurs could enjoy a better season than expected.

Nuno is the first Spurs manager since Arthur Rowe in 1949 to win his first three league games in charge.

“We knew the threat of Watford, we managed it well, controlling the deep areas, but we should be better on second balls,” Nuno said. “We had clear chances to kill the game and transform the result. So, with all that, I’m very happy because the players worked very hard.”

Watford midfielder Moussa Sissoko was back at Tottenham, just two days after leaving for the Hornets and he nearly laid on an early goal.

Sissoko picked out Juraj Kucka and his shot was headed off the line by Eric Dier.

Tottenham took the lead in the 42nd minute when Son swung in a free-kick from the left wing and Bachmann was caught out as it sailed past him into the far corner.

It was Son’s second goal of the season after the forward’s winner against City on the opening weekend.

At Molineux, United set an English top-flight record for unbeaten away league games in their first match since agreeing a blockbuster deal to sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus.

Portugal star Ronaldo, who will return to United 12 years after leaving to join Real Madrid, is not available to make his second club debut this weekend as he waits to officially complete the move.

While Ronaldo waits in the wings, unbeaten United had Greenwood to thank for their second win in three matches.

As United fans waved Portugal flags and chanted “Viva Ronaldo”, 19-year-old forward Greenwood scored for the third successive game.

United have now gone 28 successive away league games without defeat, passing the mark they shared with Arsenal.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team were indebted to David De Gea for a superb double save that kept the score level before Greenwood’s winner.

De Gea blocked Romain Saiss’s close-range header from a corner, then somehow spread himself to thwart the defender’s close-range follow-up.

Greenwood made Wolves pay for that miss in the 80th minute when he took Raphael Varane’s pass and hit a low shot that flashed under keeper Jose Sa.

Wolves claimed Paul Pogba had fouled Ruben Neves in the build-up to the goal, but referee Mike Dean and VAR ignored their protests.

United climbed to third place — level on seven points with West Ham, Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton — while Wolves remained pointless and goalless under new boss Bruno Lage.

Patrick Bamford rescued a 1-1 draw for Leeds United at Burnley.

Sean Dyche’s side took the lead in the 61st minute when Leeds failed to clear a corner and Matt Lowton’s shot was flicked in by Chris Wood from six yards.

The New Zealand international’s first goal of the season was the 30,000th scored in the Premier League era.

But Leeds striker Bamford celebrated his first call-up to the England squad this week with the 86th minute equaliser. Jamie Shackleton’s shot was deflected into Bamford’s path and he tapped in for his first goal this season.

In Saturday’s late game, 10-man Chelsea held on for a 1-1 draw at Liverpool after Reece James’ controversial dismissal at Anfield.

Kai Havertz’s header was canceled out by Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah’s penalty after James was sent off for handling. Liverpool’s attack lacked a cutting edge even with a man advantage as Chelsea’s defence marshalled by Andreas Christensen proved too robust to break down.

“He started in the central position and finished the game in the right position, because we decided to bring on Thiago [Silva] and stay with the back five,” Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said. “Andreas is very strong, hes super talented. ... I think he feels the trust, he knows what to do, he can absolutely help, he’s a top defender and a top guy. I have the feeling he’s growing every week in confidence and personality.”

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2021



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