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Granada vs. Manchester United - Football Match Report - April 8, 2021 - ESPN.co.uk
Get a report of the Granada vs. Manchester United 2020-21 UEFA Europa League, Quarterfinals football match.
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes secured a hard-fought 2-0 victory at Granada in the Europa League quarterfinal first leg to put their side in the driving seat. - Manchester United ratings: Rashford 8/10 in commanding win In a game where clear-cut chances were sparse, the highlight of a dull opening quarter came when a streaker somehow managed to find his way onto the pitch, despite crowds not being allowed to attend the match due to COVID-19 protocols. - Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)- Don't have ESPN? Get instant access Rashford's goal just past the half hour was the game's standout piece of quality. Victor Lindelof strode out of defence and his long ball was perfectly weighted into the path of the England forward, who controlled well before coolly finishing to put United ahead and notch up his 20th goal of the season in all competitions. Granada fought valiantly for a way back into the game, with Chelsea loanee Kenedy testing David de Gea from long-range before Yangel Herrera -- on loan from Manchester City -- hit the post with a volley. In a cagey second-half Fernandes, denied a second goal by a save by Portuguese countryman Rui Silva from close range late on, then netted a stoppage-time penalty after being felled by substitute Yan Brice Eteki. The return leg is next Thursday at Old Trafford and the winners of the tie will face the victors in Ajax Amsterdam's clash with AS Roma in which the Italians hold a 2-1 lead from their first away leg which was also played on Thursday.
Marine sell over 30,000 virtual tickets for FA Cup tie against Tottenham - ESPN.co.uk
Non-League club Marine have announced that they have sold over 30,000 virtual tickets for their third round FA Cup match against Tottenham.
Marine have sold over 30,000 virtual tickets for their FA Cup tie against Tottenham. Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images Non-League club Marine announced that they have sold over 30,000 virtual tickets for their 5-0 defeat to Tottenham in the third round FA Cup match on Sunday. The minnows were unable to host supporters at The Marine Travel Arena to watch Jose Mourinho's side with the match being played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. - Watch FA Cup LIVE on ESPN+ in the U.S. As a result of the COVID-19 restrictions, the club said they would sell virtual tickets to make up for the potential loss in revenue. The stadium has a capacity of 3,185 but Marine have broken their record attendance of 6,000 by selling over 30,000 virtual tickets. Marine also announced that ticket buyers will automatically enter a raffle where the winner will have the opportunity to manage the club for a preseason friendly game. Mourinho told a news conference before the tie that he plans to buy a ticket but is unsure whether he can be in the Marine dugout if he wins due to his duties as Spurs manager. Liverpool and Everton also helped Marine avert a preparation crisis by allowing them to use their training grounds in the build-up to the cup tie. Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher agreed to step in and sponsor Marine after the club lost their sponsorship for the clash when an advertiser pulled out.
Liverpool's Klopp: Club will buy in January if it is 'the right thing' - ESPN.co.uk
Jurgen Klopp has said Liverpool will "do the right thing" in the transfer market this month as defensive injuries continue to trouble them.
Jurgen Klopp has said Liverpool will "do the right thing" in the transfer market this month if the club can find a solution to the defensive problems caused by the long-term injuries suffered by Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez. Van Dijk and Gomez are both battling to play again this season after undergoing knee surgeries in October and November respectively. - Stream FC Daily on ESPN+- January Transfers: Grading every big singing from Europe's top clubs Van Dijk is out with a cruciate ligament injury while Gomez is sidelined with a tendon injury suffered while training with England. Despite the loss of their two first-choice centre-halves, Liverpool go into Monday's Premier League clash with Southampton at St Mary's as league leaders, with Klopp's side ahead of second place Manchester United on goal difference. Klopp has deployed midfielder Fabinho at centre-half alongside Joel Matip, as well as turning to teenager Rhys Williams and fringe player Nat Phillips, but the Liverpool manager admitted that the club will make a move this month if the right player becomes available. "We have solutions in the squad obviously, but we struggled still with injuries, for most of the time with the centre-half position," Klopp said. "It can happen like this when it starts and does not stop. "We have solutions, but if we can do something in the window, it is like that. But it is a very difficult transfer window, as you can imagine. "Not all of the clubs have real money. Doing something makes no sense, but doing the right thing makes sense. So far, though, we have really liked what we have done. "Nat [Phillips] is a clever boy and knows about his ability and is using it and doing the job and helped us a lot." Klopp also said Liverpool face a tough battle to retain the title due to the intensity of competition at the top of the table this season. Liverpool started 2020 with a 10-point lead at the top, having played two games fewer than second place Leicester, but only seven points separate Klopp's men from ninth-placed Southampton ahead of Monday's fixture. "Last season was very tough for us as well and it was not as though we thought 'oh my god this is easy,'" Klopp added. "It was really tough and this year is tough again. "I am not surprised it is that close. We have our situation and all the other clubs have their situation and our season is so far so good. Not more. Not less. "We try to be ready for each game. Now Southampton will ask for different things. Then Aston Villa, then Man United. "This season is a tough one for the supporters. If you are a neutral, you will love it. I am pretty sure because it will go to the wire probably, but it is tough for all of us which is the reason why it is so close."
Man United show they can win 'ugly' to further boost their growing title credentials - ESPN.co.uk
It wasn't pretty, but just when it seemed as if Man United would drop points to Wolves, as all good teams do, they crucially found a way to win.
MANCHESTER, England -- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been keen to play down Manchester United's chances of challenging for the title, but he will know better than most that it is results like this scrappy 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers that mark out teams capable of winning championships. Having won six titles as a player at Old Trafford, Solskjaer will have come to appreciate the importance of a narrow victory in the middle of these gruelling winter fixture lists. - Solskjaer talks to ESPN about trophies, Pogba- Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only) For 90 minutes here against a short-handed and very inexperienced Wolves team, United managed just two shots on target. But their third of the night, a Marcus Rashford effort that took a heavy deflection off Romain Saiss in the third minute of stoppage time, went in -- and Solskjaer's team are now second in the Premier League table, just two points behind Liverpool. It was just United's second 1-0 victory of the season, but there will likely be more to follow if United are to remain true title contenders. Solskjaer and the rest of the home bench almost seemed surprised when the ball went in after a game that lacked many clear chances and looked destined to end in a fourth draw in the past five meetings between these two teams. The Norwegian coach, though, can be happy that his players at least showed the desire to score a winner -- if not always the ability -- and it was Bruno Fernandes forcing the ball forward as the clock ticked down that eventually led to Rashford's winner. Since losing to Arsenal in November, United have taken 23 points from a possible 27. And that trip to Anfield to play Liverpool on Jan. 17 is looking more and more critical. It has been a long time since United were involved in such a crucial game at the top of the table. "We had a fantastic attitude, and it's a great result," Solskjaer said afterward. "The desire to keep going and to create that little bit of luck, we earned that luck by desire to keep going. It's a good way of ending the year." "We just focus on the next game. I am very boring, but we cannot get too far ahead of ourselves," he added. "We have got to a decent position at the moment, but the season hasn't even reached halfway. "We didn't perform as well as we want to, but we won a game against a very difficult side to play against. It's the first win in the league for me against them. There have never been many goals in the games, but for me, this is a big step forward -- that you don't play well but you win." Marcus Rashford (10) grabbed all three points for Man United and pushed them up to second in the table with a 93rd-minute winner against Wolves. Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images If United are to emerge as Liverpool's most serious challengers, they will have to find a way to be more creative at home. For much of the evening, Wolves looked happy to leave with a point, and it was telling that referee Jon Moss felt the need to book goalkeeper Rui Patricio for time-wasting with the best part of 20 minutes left to play. Despite Solskjaer using the full extent of his attacking arsenal, a combination of Rashford, Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba only forced Patricio into two significant saves before the winner. United will not always be able to rely on deflections in injury time to win a game; but that is a debate for another time. After the disappointment of conceding a late equaliser against Leicester on Boxing Day, United bounced back with a crucial victory in a massive game in difficult circumstances. If the draw at the King Power Stadium was a missed opportunity, this time United were able to capitalise after both Chelsea and Leicester dropped points a day earlier. It was also a game they could quite easily have lost this time last year. "We're a different outfit now," Solskjaer said. "We're better mentally and physically. That belief has come through performances, results and players we have on the pitch that can change games in a second. "We brought it up in preseason that we need to add more points towards the end of games, and we've done that a few times this season, as well. Physically, we last games more." Victory over Wolves ended 2020 on a high, and afterward, Solskjaer ended one of his interviews by saying: "We have plenty to look forward to in 2021." The foundation has been set for a first title challenge in seven years, even if the United boss is not ready to admit it just yet. "There's no title race after 15 games," he said. "You can lose the chance of being in a race in the first 10 games, of course you can; but play another 15 -- get to 30 games -- and maybe we can start talking about a title race. "The belief is there, we've shown what we're capable of and this result is massive for confidence."
Diego Costa, Atletico agree contract termination - ESPN.co.uk
Diego Costa has left Atletico Madrid after the striker's contract was terminated by mutual consent.
Diego Costa has left Atletico Madrid after the striker's contract was terminated by mutual consent. The club announced on Tuesday that Costa's deal -- which only had six months left to run, until June 2021 -- had been rescinded. - Stream LIVE games and replays on ESPN+ (U.S. only) It means Costa will be able to join a new club on a free transfer, while Atletico significantly reduce their wage bill, allowing them to reinforce the squad during the January window. "Atletico de Madrid and Diego Costa have reached an agreement for the termination of the striker's contract, which was to end on June 30, 2021," a club statement read. "The striker asked to leave the club for personal reasons a few days ago and on Tuesday signed the termination of his contract. "The club thanks Diego Costa for his dedication during these years and wishes him well in the next stage of his professional career." Atletico manager Diego Simeone said Costa had given "everything" to the club. "He has given us a lot and we have given him a lot," Simeone told a news conference on Tuesday. "He needs new challenges because he feels good, strong, in good form. I can only imagine that wherever he goes he will do well because he is a fighter. "Diego has always given us everything, in a sporting and human sense. Let's hope he finds the right path and we can see each other again and give each other a hug." Costa, 32, re-joined Atletico from Chelsea in January 2018 for 66 million after spending three-and-a-half seasons at Stamford Bridge. His first spell in Madrid was a success, culminating in winning La Liga in 2013-14 and reaching the Champions League final that same season. Costa scored 27 league goals that term as Diego Simeone's team claimed the club's first La Liga title in 18 years. Agreement with @diegocosta for the termination of his contract.The club wishes the striker the best of luck in the next stage of his professional career. Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) December 29, 2020 His return to the club was somewhat of a disappointment, with his form disrupted by a series of injuries that meant he was only able to score a total of 12 league goals over three years. Last season, a herniated disc saw Costa absent for three months, from November 2019 until February 2020. He began this campaign by testing positive for the coronavirus in September, returned to face a month-long absence with a hamstring injury in October, and was diagnosed with deep-vein thrombosis in November. Costa returned to action, earlier than expected, to score a penalty in Atletico's 3-1 La Liga win over Elche earlier this month, which will now be his last goal for the club.
Solskjaer: I can't think past the next six games at Manchester United - ESPN.co.uk
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he has accepted he is never more than six games from the sack, despite Ed Woodward's long-term backing at Man United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has welcomed Ed Woodward's long-term backing but the Manchester United manager has accepted he is never more than six games from the sack. Woodward has been firm in his stance that Solskjaer fits the club's "long-term approach" with his latest show of support coming at a fans' forum event held last month. - Insider Notebook: Man United give Solskjaer backing- Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only) The Norwegian's position again came under scrutiny following the 3-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday which left qualification in the Champions League on a knife edge. And despite Woodward's insistence that Solskjaer is safe, the United boss admits he is under pressure to be successful now. "From my experience, from my discussions with the club, we think long term," Solskjaer told a news conference on Friday ahead of the trip to West Ham. "Of course, you've got to look at the short-term results as well but my vision is long term and my discussions with the club have always been long term. "But also short term, you can't not think about the next six games. "You've got to think about the next game and the next six. You also have to plan and think for the bigger picture. For me, I can only speak from my experience." Solskjaer will go head-to-head with David Moyes at the London Stadium on Saturday. Moyes is one of the few managers who has also experienced the unique pressure of managing at Old Trafford. "You would not want it any different because that comes from the passion our fans have, the passion the media has about us, our history, our success and the hunger for success and the demands and standards we have set," said Solskjaer. "We are lucky in that respect that we have so many fans and you just have to withstand or enjoy whatever pressures that will give you. "We're working towards that with the players as well that are getting used to playing for Man United. They are different demands than playing for other teams." Victory over West Ham would leave United two points behind leaders Liverpool and Tottenham, who both play on Sunday. The last three Premier League champions have each recorded 98 points or more but Solskjaer believes this season's winners won't need to find the same consistency. "I don't think you'll see the same total points score we have seen the last three seasons, 100% sure because of the congestion and because of the preparation teams have had," said Solskjaer. "One of those seasons after a blip, after a defeat, after a bad performance you need to get back on form again. "There's been so many examples of teams slipping up when you think maybe they're going to run away we're going to do as well as we can as long as we can and hang in there and keep moving up the table."