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Thursday, Sep. 22, 2011
United, Arsenal secure safe passage
LONDON — Manchester United transferred its free-scoring form to the League Cup by cruising past Leeds 3-0 in the third round on Tuesday, while Arsenal had to come from a goal down to overwhelm fourth-tier Shrewsbury 3-1 and avoid another calamitous defeat.
Former England striker Michael Owen scored twice and veteran winger Ryan Giggs added the third as a makeshift United team swept past second-tier Championship side Leeds at Elland Road.
Arsenal also played its reserves and had to work much harder to make the fourth round after slipping behind to James Collins' shock 16th-minute goal for visiting Shrewsbury.
Defeat to a team three divisions lower down in the pyramid would have piled more pressure on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after his team's dreadful start to the domestic season.
However, left back Kieran Gibbs equalized with a far-post header before halftime and second-half goals by the impressive Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Israel captain Yossi Benayoun eased the gloom around Emirates Stadium.
"It was a bit nervy because we played against a good side," Wenger said. "But in the second half, we took over and it was all us."
On a night devoid of any real upsets, Stoke defeated Tottenham 7-6 on penalties after the match finished 0-0 following extra time while Bolton beat Aston Villa 2-0 away in another all-Premier League match.
In-form Newcastle, which is fourth in the Premier League, needed extra time before seeing off second-tier Nottingham Forest 4-3.
Inter in deep trouble
Novara Italy — Inter Milan was handed another humiliating loss Tuesday, with its 10-man side losing 3-1 to newly promoted Novara to pile the pressure on manager Gian Piero Gasperini.
Victory for Novara in its first home game in the top division after a 55-year absence left Inter winless in five matches in all competitions this season, and with just one point from three league games.
"This is a very big blow," Gasperini said, before refusing to step down. "I believe strongly in my job. This is a very difficult test, which I've got to resolve."
In a match marked by Inter's defensive lapses, Novara forward Riccardo Meggiorini scored on the break in the 38th minute. Inter's Andrea Ranocchia was then sent off for tugging down Japan forward Takayuki Morimoto inside the area and Marco Rigoni converted the resulting penalty in the 86th.
Esteban Cambiasso pulled one back for Inter in the 89th but Rigoni restored Novara's two-goal lead in added time.