Football

Lukaku on mark as United scores four again

Finisher: Romelu Lukaku has been prolific in front of goal for Manchester United, scoring three goals in two games.

Finisher: Romelu Lukaku has been prolific in front of goal for Manchester United, scoring three goals in two games.   | Photo Credit: ANDREW BOYERS

It meant maximum points, eight goals and two clean sheets in its opening two games for Jose Mourinho’s side.

Manchester United maintained its dream Premier League start as goals from Eric Bailly, Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial secured a 4-0 victory at Swansea City on Saturday.

Having put West Ham United to the sword with a 4-0 win in its opening game of the new campaign, United looked like being made to settle for a narrower scoreline for much of the game in South Wales.

But after it had claimed the lead at the end of a tight first half through Bailly’s first goal for the club, it netted three times in a stylish five-minute spell late in the game to give the scoreline an emphatic look.

Two clean sheets

It meant maximum points, eight goals and two clean sheets in its opening two games for Jose Mourinho’s side.

Swansea was aggrieved that Pogba remained on the field to score after escaping a second yellow card for a foul on Martin Olsson late in the first half.

But manager Paul Clement saw his side implode worryingly once Lukaku bagged United’s second goal and his third in two games for his new club 10 minutes from full-time.

There was a scare for United in the third minute as Jordan Ayew burst forward for Swansea, cut in from the left and mishit a cross that grazed the visitor’s crossbar.

Mourinho’s men broke almost immediately when Lukaku seized on an errant pass and raced towards goal, but his initial shot was blocked and his follow-up effort curled wide.

The woodwork then came to Swansea’s rescue as the lively opening continued with Juan Mata’s free-kick from the right headed against the crossbar by Phil Jones.

United’s frustration was highlighted on the half-hour when Marcus Rashford sent an ambitious long-range effort straight at home goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

Mkhitaryan finds gaps

Pogba was walking a tightrope when, moments after being booked for a cynical foul on Tom Carroll, he tripped Olsson and received what appeared to be a final warning from referee Jon Moss.

The visitor ought to have led nine minutes before the interval when Swansea failed to clear a simple high ball.

Rashford collected it and raced clear, but sent a tame effort straight at Fabianksi. United finally claimed the lead on the stroke of half-time as a corner from the left was headed by Pogba and forced onto the crossbar by Fabianski, with Bailly reacting quickest to poke home the rebound.

After a low-key opening to the second half, Rashford cut in from the left and tried his luck with a right-foot effort but Fabianski gathered the ball after an initial fumble.

Swansea pressed through the lively Ayew and one run from the Ghanaian allowed Leroy Fer a shooting chance, only for him to lift his effort well over the bar.

Tammy Abraham should then have tested United goalkeeper David de Gea, but he headed wide from a decent cross by Olsson.

Lukaku doubled United’s lead on 80 minutes when he finished coolly after a neat pass from Henrikh Mkhitaryan. That was the signal for Swansea’s defence to go missing as Mkhitaryan fed Pogba, who beat Fabianksi with a neat chip on 82 minutes to make it 3-0.

Substitute Martial then collected a Pogba pass and weaved his way through a static home defence on 84 minutes to complete the scoring with a fine finish into the bottom-right corner.

The results: Swansea 0 lost to Manchester United 4 (Bailly 45, Lukaku 80, Pogba 82, Martial 84).

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 6:50:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/lukaku-on-mark-as-united-scores-four-again/article19525524.ece

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