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Tuesday, Sep. 20, 2011

United beats Chelsea to keep perfect record


LONDON — Manchester United overcame title rival Chelsea on Sunday with a fifth successive victory, maintaining the champion's perfect start in the Premier League after neighbor Manchester City dropped points for the first time this season at Fulham.

News photo
All smiles: Wayne Rooney celebrates after his goal against Chelsea during Manchester United's 3-1 win over Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday. The Red Devils are unbeaten to start the season. AP PHOTO

Wayne Rooney scored one before missing from the penalty spot as United beat Chelsea 3-1 to give the club its best start to the season since 1985.

"It was a fantastic, open match but we created our own problems for ourselves," said Alex Ferguson, who took charge of United in 1986. "We gave the ball away in attacking areas and they kept counterattacking us."

Fernando Torres managed to score his first goal of the campaign, but the Chelsea striker then missed an open goal.

"You have an example of Rooney missing a penalty too, which is basically the same," Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas said. "The worst things happen to the best strikers in the world and today it happened to both of them."

United now has a two-point lead over City after its local rival threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Fulham.

Also Sunday, Emmanuel Adebayor scored twice as Tottenham cruised to a 4-0 victory over nine-man Liverpool and Sunderland routed Stoke by the same scoreline.

But it is United leading the way after a record-equaling 18th consecutive Premier League win at Old Trafford.

Slack marking allowed United to go in front after eight minutes, with Chris Smalling heading in Ashley Young's free kick.

The second goal in the 37th minute was more spectacular. Nani took on three defenders before launching a fierce strike from outside the penalty area into the top of the net.

Rooney's goal came on the stroke of halftime, his ninth goal of the season.

Chelsea, though, produced the perfect response at the start of the second half, with Torres scoring inside 30 seconds.

The Spain striker skillfully put the ball over United goalkeeper David de Gea after being fed by Nicolas Anelka, who had replaced Frank Lampard moments earlier.

Chelsea's fortunes looked to be turning when Rooney sent his penalty kick wide after Jose Bosingwa tripped Nani.

But Torres spectacularly squandered an easy chance to make it 3-2, shooting wide of the net after rounding De Gea with the goal at his mercy.

At Craven Cottage, City was on course to register a fifth consecutive win like United before imploding after Sergio Aguero had made it eight goals in five matches.

Aguero latched onto David Silva's clipped through-ball before finishing neatly into the bottom corner in the 18th. The second came at the start of the second half when the Argentina striker collected Edin Dzeko's nod down and fired a low shot into the corner from just outside the area.

But Bobby Zamora began Fulham's comeback in the 55th, smashing a rising shot with his right foot into the top corner.

And the equalizer came with 15 minutes to go after Danny Murphy's 25-meter shot took a wicked deflection off City captain Vincent Kompany and squirmed into the net past wrongfooted goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Levante shocks Madrid


BARCELONA, Spain — Levante stunned 10-man Real Madrid 1-0 on Sunday, with Arouna Kone's second-half goal giving the Spanish powerhouse its first loss of the league season.

While Barcelona routed Osasuna 8-0 for its biggest home win under coach Pep Guardiola on Saturday, a lackluster Madrid was held scoreless for the third consecutive visit to Ciutat de Valencia stadium.

Madrid played a man down from the 40th after Sami Khedira received his second yellow card, and coach Jose Mourinho had no doubts who was responsible for the loss.

"The fault, in my opinion, lies with one of my players who knew about this type of situation and yet still fell into the trap," the Portuguese coach said. "In the (training) sessions we showed images just like those of the sending off of Khedira, and I thought that this was not going to happen and that nobody would be sent off."

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