Sunday 19 November 2017

Crouch strike puts brakes on United's perfect start

Manchester United's 100 per cent start to the Premier League season came to an end at the Britannia Stadium thanks to Peter Crouch's first goal for Stoke.

United went into the game without Wayne Rooney -- rumoured to have picked up a hamstring injury -- and lost Javier Hernandez early on after he was tackled by Jonathan Woodgate, but took the lead in the 27th minute through Nani.

Stoke's 52nd minute equaliser came from a corner, which Crouch, recruited from Tottenham for a record £10million last month, met with his head to open his account for his new club.

The result means United leapfrog Manchester City to return to the top of the table, but they are only ahead of their derby rivals, who earlier beat Everton 2-0, on goal difference.

Meanwhile, Andre Villas-Boas insisted Fernando Torres had "nothing to apologise for" after being sent off in Chelsea's 4-1 win over Swansea.

Torres found the net yesterday for the second week running before being shown a red card for inexplicably diving in studs first on Mark Gower.

Chelsea boss Villas-Boas had no complaints with referee Mike Dean's decision to brandish the red card but revealed he would not be seeking an apology from his player. "There's nothing to apologise for," Villas-Boas said. "It's the referee's decision."

"It's part of the nature of the game, and the referee has decided on that. It's a pity because the spectacle was promising."

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is expecting a major contribution from Mario Balotelli this season after the controversial striker came off the bench to inspire the Blues at the Etihad Stadium.

"Mario can make a big contribution this season. I am sure of this," said Mancini.

Sunday Indo Sport

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