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Manchester derby fires blanks, Newcastle’s Almiron scores in 20 seconds


English referee Chris Kavanagh blows his whistle as Manchester City’s Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho fouls Manchester United’s French striker Anthony Martial during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 12, 2020. PHIL NOBLE / POOL / AFP

Manchester United failed to ease the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a limp display in their 0-0 draw against Manchester City, while Miguel Almiron scored in 20 seconds as Newcastle beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 on Saturday.

Solskjaer faced calls for his sacking after United crashed out of the Champions League with a midweek defeat at Leipzig.

The beleaguered United manager desperately needed an uplifting result in the Manchester derby to win back some support.

But, with Paul Pogba restored to the starting line-up, United laboured to a drab draw that left them in seventh place.


United have won just one of their last four games in all competitions and have only one win at Old Trafford in six Premier League games this term.

City weren’t much better than their bitter rivals and Pep Guardiola’s team are one place behind United in the table.

However, in contrast to United there is not yet any sense of crisis around City — who have kept six successive clean-sheets in all competitions to equal a club record.

City should have been ahead in the first half when Gabriel Jesus shot over from Riyad Mahrez’s long pass.

The visitors’ best chance came when Kevin De Bruyne found Mahrez, whose shot was saved well by David De Gea before De Bruyne squandered the rebound.

United were awarded a penalty two minutes into the second half when Kyle Walker kicked Marcus Rashford, only for the decision to be overruled by VAR as the forward had strayed offside in the build-up.

De Bruyne saw his goal-bound effort well blocked by United defender Harry Maguire and Rashford shot wide after a good break, but chances were at a premium in a dire encounter.

Quick-fire Almiron
At St James’ Park, Newcastle were playing for the first time since their match against Aston Villa was postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak in their squad.

Newcastle took less than a minute to grab the lead when Almiron swept his shot past West Brom keeper Sam Johnstone.

West Brom drew level five minutes into the second half at St James’ Park.

Matt Phillips delivered a low cross which was met by defender Darnell Furlong, who lashed an unstoppable low shot past Karl Darlow.

Newcastle clinched the points in the 82nd minute when Dwight Gayle met a superb cross by fellow substitute Jacob Murphy to head past Johnstone.

Newcastle’s second successive victory lifted the gloom from their virus issues, but struggling West Brom stay second bottom.

Anwar El Ghazi’s last-gasp penalty fired 10-man Aston Villa to a dramatic 1-0 win against Wolves.

Villa had Douglas Luiz sent off in the final minutes for two bookings after the Brazilian midfielder caught Daniel Podence with an elbow.

But Nelson Semedo’s stoppage-time foul on John McGinn triggered El Ghazi’s penalty before Wolves midfielder Joao Moutinho was dismissed for a second yellow card just moments from full-time in a fractious local derby.

After two successive defeats, Villa will hope they are back on track with just their second win in six games.

Villa have won four of their five away league matches this season, while mid-table Wolves have only one win in their last five games.

In Saturday’s last match, third placed Chelsea travel to Everton knowing a win would take them above leaders Tottenham to the top of the table.


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