Man Utd stun Chelsea
(AFP) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho masterminded a brilliant and unexpected 2-0 home victory over former club Chelsea on Sunday to breathe new life into the Premier League title race.
Mourinho gambled by resting Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera's goals gave United a win that leaves Chelsea just four points above Tottenham Hotspur with six games to play.
Victory at Old Trafford also lifted United to within four points of fourth-place Manchester City, on whom they have a game in hand, ahead of the derby at the Etihad Stadium on April 27.
It was a personal triumph for Mourinho, who saw his side thrashed 4-0 at Chelsea in October and was branded "Judas" by fans of his old club during last month's FA Cup defeat at Stamford Bridge.
A wet, cold Manchester afternoon was the setting for United to end a run of 12 games without victory against Chelsea, stretching back to a 3-2 away win in October 2012.
Chelsea have now lost twice in four games, having gone down 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace earlier this month, which will give in-form Spurs fresh hope that the Blues may yet collapse as the finishing line nears.
The top two meet at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-finals next weekend in what now looks a significant test of Chelsea's mettle.
United, meanwhile, will approach Thursday's Europa League quarter-final second leg at home to Anderlecht, which is poised at 1-1, on the back of their best display under Mourinho.
Chelsea were without goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois due to an ankle problem, while Marcos Alonso succumbed to a virus, bringing Asmir Begovic and Kurt Zouma into their usual first XI.
Mourinho set United up to stop Chelsea, with Herrera and Matteo Darmian tasked with the responsibility of tracking dangermen Eden Hazard and Pedro wherever they went.
But despite Herrera's chief role as a stifler, he created United's seventh-minute opener, albeit in contentious circumstances.
He seemed to block Nemanja Matic's pass with his right hand, but referee Robert Madley played on, enabling Herrera to split the Chelsea defence with a sublime through ball for Rashford.
The 19-year-old raced in behind David Luiz before clipping a shot past Begovic for his ninth goal of the season.
With Chelsea striker Diego Costa spending more time provoking his opponents than taking shots at goal, David de Gea was a virtual spectator between the posts for United.
Costa became embroiled in penalty-box tangles with United centre-backs Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo and was booked for a late challenge on Paul Pogba.
With the willing Jesse Lingard in support of Rashford, United looked far more lively going forward.
Ashley Young twice spurned presentable shooting opportunities from the edge of the box, while Rashford saw a cross headed onto the roof of the net by Gary Cahill.
Short of a 25-yard drive by Costa that flashed wide in stoppage time, the half-time whistle sounded without Chelsea having offered anything in attack.
Any hopes the visitors had of masterminding a turnaround vanished within four minutes of kick-off in the second half as Herrera doubled United's lead.
Zouma's tackle on the burrowing Young sent the ball rolling into Herrera's path and his drilled effort flicked off Zouma to fly past the grounded Begovic.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte sent on Cesc Fabregas for Victor Moses, with Pedro moving to wing-back, but still the league leaders toiled, Pedro twice curling shots over De Gea's bar.
At the other end Rashford remained a constant menace, teeing up Lingard to bend a shot over and twice going close himself, ruffling the side-netting and testing Begovic at his near post.
When he departed in the 82nd minute, with Ibrahimovic taking his place, he was accorded a richly deserved standing ovation.
Weather today 594
- What Next For US-Europe Trade Policy? 3945
- How to interpret the crisis between Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s allies 3219
- GOSL SHOULDN’T TOLERATE HIGH-HANDED ARROGANCE 4067
- Judge pays tribute to dead Sergeant 3109
- Minister Samarasinghe visits Oluvil 3092
- CPC tus plan massive showdown 3104
- JVP insists on referendum 3093
- Over a million affected by drought 2487
- Ravi Summoned to TB Scam Hearings ? 3108
- Sgt Premachandra Killing Tragic – Prime Minister 3106
- Eminent Economist as Govt Advisor 3114
- Who’s Today’s ‘Cocaine Kumaraya’ asks MR 3580
- Celebrating Ranil’s 40 Years in Politics 3089
- Bid to Smuggle out Sapphires worth Rs.11 Million 3093
- Judge cries for Sergeant Premachandra 3106
- Police Rule out Attempt to kill Judge Ilancheliyan 4202
- Prez Orders In-depth Probe into Nallur Shooting 3091
- Police arrest 13 university students 3085
- SAITM parents demand Govt intervention 3100
- GMOA Threatens Major Strike 3087
- Three major PC elections announced 3936
- Police behaved like hooligans 3923
- Judge Manickavasagar survives assassination 4796
- Garbage to Produce 30MW power 2618
- Plastic waste control during Esala 2555
- Do we need a new constitution? 3360
- Unveiling the utter hypocrisy 3493
- The need to rationalize free university education 2486
- The ‘Glass Ceiling’ Effect 3249
- Going away and not coming back 3177
- Heartbreak for Kariyawasam Finishes fourth with personal best 2576
- Kyle wins second Silver 2576
- Nervous Horton sets up showdown with Sun 2576
- Spieth in prime position to win British Open 2576
- Guinea go on record seven-goal spree 2576
- Ahamed steers MAS Reds to victory 2581
- BMS retain Red Bull Campus Cricket title 2580
- SLVF to conduct National Convention 2580
- De Mazenod, Cambrians win 2576
- Fears grow for Ashes as pay row drags on 2581
- Animals to lose peace and quiet at night? 4835
- Right of Reply 4714
- Addressing dengue One hour, one day and every week is enough 5207
- Acute water crisis grips Jaffna Ponies dying of thirst in Delft 4724
- NLB’s alleged monopoly continues 4755
- Prioritize FTAs with China and India – Dr. Wignaraja 3361
- Private medical education fraught with corruption – Prof. Carlo Fonseka 2442
- MULTINATIONALS HAVE SOUNDED DEATH KNELL FOR LOCAL TRISHAW INDUSTRY 4627
- McLarens Lubricants receives two Awards 2491
- NDB wins five awards 2487
- Virtusa Chairman and CEO wins Lifetime Award 2493
- Stasshani Jayawardena recognised for hospitality sector leadership 2502
- Dream teams, dream tourists and dream airports 2492
- IMF approval brings $ 98M investments to GSM 2497
- Singer’s ‘Suraksha’ helps rebuild lives post-floods 2488
- Oppo partners with Spider-Man: HomeComing 2493
- AIA plants saplings as part of ‘Go Green’ initiative 2485
- SLFPA Cricket Tournament on 29 July 2489
- A Whitewash for Failed Politics 2504
- Mattek-Sands horror injury puts Djokovic, Federer in shadow 3050
- Maidens Bowling Overs 2044
- An effective local medicine for Dengue 2016
- Kebella for High Blood Pressure Prevents fat from clogging veins 1893
- Turmeric the heavenly medicine 1892
- A Bold and Daring Fashion Entrepreneur: Niroshi Liyanage 1073
- Once Upon A Time BY Gabriel Okara 2229
- Nadi Dosha – an evil that ruins married life– Part 2 1085
- Next four months will be crucial 1088
- Rahu in the 7th obstructs marital life? 1081
- Agate gemstones keep mind and body balance 1065
- There is no success or failure in Love 1070
- Radiobeiträge Radio as Potent Tool of Education 4788
- Speaking with a Forked Tongue 4803
- Global and Local in Hong Kong cinema -Part 2 4836
- Kuchipudi dance recital and Carnatic vocal recital 4789
- Fairway National Literary Awards 2017 4715
- PASCH International Youth Camp 2017 in Embilipitiya Holistic Approach to Education 4765
- An endemic cure for snake bite 1086
- Summer holiday camp for kids 1097
- Shouldn’t they live too? 1080
- The dearth of skilled labour in the hospitality sector 1072
- The importance of grooming your pet 1070
- The new face of tea 1072