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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011

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Taking cover: Manchester United's Danny Welbeck unleashes a scissor kick in front of Tottenham's Vedran Corluka in Premier League action at Old Trafford on Monday night. Manchester United won 3-0. AP

Manchester United frustrate Spurs again at Old Trafford


MANCHESTER, England — Manchester United delivered a vibrant second-half performance to beat Tottenham 3-0 on Monday night and make it two wins from two games in the Premier League.

Tottenham, seeking a first win at Old Trafford since 1989, kept the scoreline blank in the first half, with American goalkeeper Brad Friedel marking his Spurs debut with a full-stretch save from Tom Cleverley's well-struck shot.

United turned up the heat after the break and Danny Welbeck broke the deadlock in the 61st when he headed in Cleverley's precise right-wing cross.

Spurs manager Harry Redknapp responded with a double substitution in the 74th minute, but two minutes later, Welbeck set up Brazilian midfielder Anderson to stroke home the second goal.

Substitute Ryan Giggs crossed for Wayne Rooney to head in the third in the 87th to wrap up the win and leave the defending champions on six points, behind league leader and cross-city rival Manchester City on goal difference.

"The second-half performance was absolutely fantastic," United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports. "It was a fast game in the first half, it was end-to-end. Tottenham had a lot of possession, but in the second half we just took off."

Spurs were playing their first game of the season after their opener was postponed in the wake of the London riots.

Redknapp chose not to select Chelsea transfer target Luka Modric in his squad, but said afterward he expected the Croatian playmaker to stay at the club.

"For sure, he's a fantastic professional," Redknapp said. "We need him back playing.

"We need one or two more players. We've got good footballers but we just lack a spine to the team. I know who we need and if the chairman can help me bring them in we'll be fine."

Serie A strike threat


Milan, Italy — The Italian players' association is standing firm on its threat to strike if a new collective contract is not signed before the start of Serie A this weekend.

"The fact is that the season cannot start without a collective contract," players' association president Damiano Tommasi said Monday after meeting with players from all 20 clubs. "We're hoping to start the season, because that would mean we will have signed the contract."

The conflict between the players and the league has been ongoing since the last collective contract expired in June 2010.

The players set two strike dates during the first half of last season, both of which were avoided with last-minute verbal agreements.

Club presidents will address the strike threat at a league meeting Wednesday.

The main sticking point is Article 7, a proposal that would allow clubs to force players no longer wanted to train away from the first team or accept a transfer.

"If the contract doesn't get signed merely due to the interpretation of Article 7, it means there are other motives," Italian football federation president Giancarlo Abete said, according to the ANSA news agency. "And if that's the case, then it would be a good idea to detail them directly.

"Among all the problems this country has, all this attention on this one point makes me ashamed to be a citizen," Abete added.

Tommasi added that the players would pay a new tax that applies to high-wage earners, recently imposed by the government.

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