Swansea end Man Utd’s unbeaten start, Tadic’s double sinks Norwich
Swansea City defeated Manchester United 2-1 for the third successive meeting as Louis van Gaal’s side’s unbeaten start to the Premier League season ground to a halt on Sunday.
United went ahead through Juan Mata early in the second half at the Liberty Stadium, but Andre Ayew equalised in the 61st minute and then set up Bafetimbi Gomis for the winner five minutes later.
Van Gaal had lost 2-1 at home to Swansea in his first game as United manager last season and having also seen his team go down by the same scoreline in the return fixture, he was given more reason to curse Garry Monk’s side on the occasion of his 50th game in English football.
“The opponent changed their shape and we could not cope. That is not good,” the United manager told Sky Sports.
“We lost in that five minutes and it is a pity because we controlled the game. You have to be compact. We were probably too dominant to have the sense to do that.”
Swansea climbed to fourth place in the table, a point above United and four below early leaders Manchester City, having started a top-flight campaign with four unbeaten games for the first time in their history.
“We enjoyed that,” said Monk. “In the first 20 minutes United started really well, but second half we were magnificent.
“The players were so brave today and we were clinical when we needed to be. We went to a diamond (formation) in the second half and that helped us. We are a force in this league.”
With Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger restored to the team after starting Wednesday’s 4-0 Champions League play-off win over Club Brugge on the bench, United started purposefully, but Swansea enjoyed a purple patch mid-way through the first half.
Gomis sliced off target, Gylfi Sigurdsson shot inches wide from Jonjo Shelvey’s cleverly disguised free-kick and Gomis then prodded a shot against the post after wriggling into the box from the right.
They were encouraging signs for a team bereft of the livewire Jefferson Montero due to injury, but three minutes into the second half Swansea fell behind.
Luke Shaw was given space to motor down the United left and after his cross passed between Wayne Rooney and Neil Taylor at the near post, Mata ghosted in behind Swansea captain Ashley Williams to slam home.
Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski had to save from both his own team-mate Williams and Mata as United looked to press home their advantage, but a tactical switch saw the hosts turn the game around in just five minutes.
Ki Sung-yueng replaced Wayne Routledge, bolstering Swansea’s midfield, and three minutes later Sigurdsson crossed from the right for Ayew to beat Sergio Romero with a downward header.
Five minutes after that Ayew turned provider with an exquisite, outside-of-the-foot pass from wide on the right, but Romero should have done better than allow Gomis’s tame shot to trickle beneath him.
It was Gomis’s fourth goal of the campaign (and ninth in 10 league games), Ayew having earlier claimed his third.
Rooney, scorer of a hat-trick against Bruges, looked poised to equalise in the 88th minute, only for Williams to produce a crucial last-ditch recovery tackle.
In the day’s early game, Dusan Tadic scored twice as Southampton won 3-0 at home to 10-man Norwich City to register a first win of the campaign at the fourth attempt.
Steven Whittaker was sent off for Norwich in the 31st minute after receiving quick-fire yellow cards for preventing Matt Targett from taking a quick throw-in and hauling Tadic back on the halfway line.
Man of the match Sadio Mane crossed for Graziano Pelle to sweep Southampton ahead in first-half stoppage time before teeing up the first of Tadic’s two goals in the 64th minute.
Tadic struck again three minutes later, following up after Pelle’s header was parried by Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy.
“It was a very positive result,” said Southampton manager Ronald Koeman, whose side were eliminated from the Europa League by Danish champions FC Midtjylland on Thursday.
“Last Thursday was a big disappointment and it’s always hard to start well, but we played very well at the beginning.”
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