Tottenham Hotspur solidified their top- four credentials with a dominant 2-0 win over Manchester United in front of an English Premier League record crowd at Wembley on Wednesday.
Christian Eriksen gave the hosts the lead after 11 seconds, the second fastest goal in Premier League history.
Manchester United’s woeful defending was exposed again for Tottenham’s second, with Phil Jones turning the ball into his own net after 27 minutes.
The win lifted Tottenham two points behind third-placed Liverpool and Chelsea in fourth as second-placed Manchester United dropped 15 points behind leaders Manchester City.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, speaking after the match, praised his players for putting up a fantastic performance.
He added that the result had put his team in a good position for a top four finish.
“It’s a fantastic dressing room after a fantastic performance. The performance was great and I congratulate the players because they deserve all the credit.
“The first goal was a fantastic goal. Christian Eriksen believed that it would arrive in this situation. We tell the young players to always anticipate.
“I am so pleased we are in the race for the top four.
“There’s a lot of games to play and that is why we need to stay focused.
Read Also: Man City go 15 points clear, Tottenham, West Ham & Palace win
“The early goal for us was good so that we can go on and dominate the game. That goal gave us more confidence and belief.
“Dele Alli was very good today, but all the team was great. The quality of performance was fantastic.
“It’ll be tough against Liverpool now because they are one of the best teams — but it’s about taking it one game at a time.”
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, on his part, said the goals scored against his side were ridiculous.
“It’s a performance that starts with a ridiculous goal. That goal after a few seconds has a big influence in the game because Tottenham can play the way they like to play.
“In the end, we played against a very good team. Both goals were ridiculous goals.
“The first goal is an accumulation of mistakes in spite of the fact that everything happened so fast. My players have watched the Tottenham kick-off many, many times.
“It was a really, really bad goal. After the first goal the team had a good reaction — we were there and tried to create.
“The second goal mentally kills the team. A team to win matches needs to score goals and also defend well — on this occasion we were very bad.’’
Nigeria wins 2018 AWCON
Super Falcons of Nigeria has won the 2018 African Women Cup of Nations after beating the Bayana Bayana of South Africa.
Madrid Mauled At Eibar, New Coach Solari In Trouble
Santiago Solari proved the perfect caretaker but his debut as permanent coach of Real Madrid on Saturday ended in a disastrous 3-0 defeat at Eibar.
Four wins while in temporary charge earned Solari a contract until 2021 over the international break, only for Real to revert to the kind of chaotic display that cost his predecessor, Julen Lopetegui, his job.
The defeat also brought into focus the mindset of Madrid’s players, after their captain Sergio Ramos faced allegations of an anti-doping violation on Friday night from German magazine Der Spiegel. The club denied any breach.
Gareth Bale: out of sort in Eibar
Eibar was stronger, more aggressive and, worryingly for Solari, appeared clearer about the plan they wanted to carry out. Marc Cucurella, brilliant down the left, tied up all three goals, scored by Gonzalo Escalante, Sergi Enrich and Kike Garcia.
Real’s loss halts their revival under Solari and costs them a golden opportunity to make up ground on Barcelona and Atletico Madrid before the pair faces each other at the Wanda Metropolitano later on Saturday.
Eibar players rejoice to beat Real Madrid, for the first time
Eibar shoots up to seventh, a reward for the first ever victory over Real Madrid at the 11th attempt.
Ramos was not noticeably below par at Ipurua, but perhaps allegations that he failed to list the correct medication after the Champions League final in 2017, proved enough of a distraction for his teammates.
Solari, meanwhile, must now reset his team ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League game against Roma, which is likely to decide the winner of Group G.
Real started well enough and Gareth Bale looked in the mood when he swivelled and sent a stunning shot into the top corner from 25 yards, only to be ruled offside.
Karim Benzema went close, his finish cleared off the line by Jose Cote, but after surviving the early pressure, Eibar grew in confidence.
Kike made the woodwork shake with a drive from 25 yards, with replays showing the dipping shot had been diverted by an excellent finger-tip save from Thibaut Courtois.
Madrid’s goalkeeper came to their rescue again in the 16th minute, denying Enrich from Cucurella’s cross, but this time Escalante was on hand to bundle in the rebound ahead of the stumbling Dani Ceballos.
Referee Juan Martinez consulted the video assistant referee but the delay only earned a repeat of home fans’ cheers.
Bale’s free-kick was pushed wide and then he was booked for dissent as Madrid looked to be running out of ideas. Solari gave his first half-time team talk with his team behind, but their situation deteriorated in the second half.
Toni Kroos’ misjudged and misdirected crossfield pass exposed the unfortunate recipient Alvaro Odriozola. Cucurella pounced, pushing Odriozola off the ball and delivering for Enrich to score.
Odriozola was forced off injured.
Five minutes later it was three, this time Raphael Varane was at fault, allowing Kike to nip in and convert another whipped Cucurella cross.
Madrid had more than half an hour to respond but it was Eibar who looked more likely. Fabian Orellana nutmegged Ceballos and drew a smart save from Courtois, before Charles Dias flicked an audacious volley, again blocked by the Belgian. By the end, Madrid was thankful it was only three.
Nigeria, Uganda, Mali, Morocco Qualify For 2019 AFCON
Nigeria, Uganda, Mali and Morocco qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday while Libya scored eight goals to keep alive their hopes of also featuring at the finals.
Nigeria drew 1-1 with South Africa in Soweto, Uganda edged Cape Verde 1-0 in Kampala, Mali beat Gabon in Libreville and Morocco went through after rivals Malawi lost in the Comoros.
Libya triumphed 8-1 in the Seychelles and host South Africa next March on the final matchday needing a win to accompany Nigeria in qualifying from Group E.
The Libyans just missed equalling the record away winning margin for a Cup of Nations qualifier held by Ghana, who won 9-1 in Niger 49 years ago.
A total of nine nations have booked places at the newly-extended 24-team finals with hosts Cameroon, Madagascar, Senegal, Egypt and Tunisia securing berths before this weekend.
Nigeria, the three-time former champions who had failed to qualify for the last two editions, were ahead in South Africa within nine minutes when Buhle Mkhwanazi scored an own goal.
Outstanding South African Percy Tau set up the equaliser for Lebo Mothiba on 26 minutes, but the hosts were fortunate as several contentious offside decisions went against Nigeria.
“A draw feels like a victory because of the heat (32 degrees celsius/90 Fahrenheit) and getting little sleep on our overnight flight,” said Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr.
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari was among those who hailed the Super Eagles for qualifying.
“The president joins millions of football-loving Nigerians in commending the team for their spirited and disciplined performance against a very formidable opponent,” a statement said.
South Africa coach Stuart Baxter said: “I am proud that we have taken four points off Nigeria in the group and disappointed that we were not braver during the second half.”
Anis Saltou bagged a hat-trick in Victoria as Libya humiliated the Seychelles, whose 188th world ranking is the lowest among the 48 teams in the qualifying competition.
Meanwhile, Patrick Kaddu’s 79th-minute goal not only assured Uganda of first place in Group L, it opened the door for Tanzania to also qualify.
– 39-year absence –
If Tanzania win in Lesotho on Sunday they will return to the African football showcase after a 39-year absence.
An early Moussa Doumbia goal gave Mali a 1-0 victory and left Gabon, who were without injured star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, needing a matchday 6 victory in Burundi to qualify from Group C.
A draw will suffice for Burundi, who are ranked 142nd in the world and seeking a first Cup of Nations appearance.
Morocco qualified when Group B rivals Malawi lost 2-1 away to out-of-contention Comoros in Mitsamiouli.
The Comoran victory in the multi-island Indian Ocean state gave Morocco an unassailable six-point advantage over Malawi.
El Fardou Mohamed Ben Nabouhane, who has been playing for Red Star Belgrade in the UEFA Champions League, gave the Comoros a second-minute lead.
Patrick Phiri equalised after 53 minutes and Nasser Chamed scored the winner in the 70th minute on an artificial pitch.
Leaders Morocco and second-placed Cameroon qualify from the group, with the latter assured of a place because they are hosting the tournament between June 15-July 13.
Cameroon are involved in the qualifying competition to gain match practice before defending the title they won in Gabon last year by defeating Egypt 2-1 in the final.
Morocco climbed above Cameroon into first place in Group B on Friday after beating them 2-0 in Casablanca thanks to a second-half brace from Hakim Ziyech.
Senegal won 1-0 in Equatorial Guinea with a Luis Meseguer own-goal soon after half-time deciding a dead rubber Group A match in Bata.
Benin missed out on qualification from Group D this weekend after collapsing towards the end of their clash with The Gambia to lose 3-1 after taking the lead in Bakau.
Guinea-Bissau forced a 0-0 Group K draw in Namibia and will compete at successive Cup of Nations tournaments if they beat Mozambique at home in the final round of games.
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