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Manchester United beat nine-man Chelsea 3-2 to move to within a point of the Premier League leader, which suffered its first league defeat this season.
Javier Hernandez scored United’s winning goal from what appeared to be an offside position at Stamford Bridge yesterday after Chelsea had fought back from 2-0 down before having Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres red carded.
“The key decisions from the referee probably influenced the result,” Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo said. “He sent off Fernando Torres and the third goal is offside and it clearly has decided the game.”
Elsewhere yesterday, Everton rallied from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Merseyside rival Liverpool, while Newcastle beat West Brom 2-1 and Tottenham won by the same score at Southampton.
David Luiz’s own goal and Robin van Persie’s strike put Manchester United 2-0 up in 12 minutes. Van Persie’s shot hit a post and rebounded into the net off Luiz, then the Dutchman swept a cross from the right past Petr Cech.
After Chelsea rallied with goals from Juan Mata and Ramires either side of halftime, Ivanovic was shown the red card by referee Mark Clattenburg in the 63rd minute for tripping Ashley Young when he had a run on goal.
Torres, who was earlier booked for a foul on Tom Cleverley, was dismissed six minutes later after picking up his second yellow card for diving when challenged by Jonny Evans.
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said Torres’s sending-off was justified.
“Did he intend to dive? I thought he went down,” Ferguson told Sky Sports. “Jonny may have just caught him a little bit but he can either carry on running -- which he could have done - - but he chose to go down. He could have carried on and scored so I cannot understand it. It’s his own fault.”
With United 2-0 up, the team’s goalkeeper David de Gea saved from Torres. Mata pulled a goal back just before halftime from a free kick conceded by Wayne Rooney, who was cautioned. Ramires leveled with a 53rd-minute header from Oscar’s cross.
Hernandez sealed United’s first win in its past 11 league games at Stamford Bridge when he diverted Rafael Da Silva’s hard-driven shot into the net 15 minutes from the end amid protests for offside.
“We’re massively disappointed that these key decisions were wrong. It always seems to be in favor of the opposition and it’s a massive disadvantage for us,” Di Matteo added. “At 2-2, we looked like the team that were probably going to win the game so it’s a shame. It was a good game of football with two good teams and the officials ruined it.”
Chelsea leads the 20-team standings with 22 points through nine games, followed by United and defending champion Manchester City on 21 and Tottenham on 17.
All four goals in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park came before halftime. Everton’s Leighton Baines scored an own goal off Luis Suarez’s shot in the 14th minute and the Uruguayan striker added Liverpool’s second six minutes later. Leon Osman and Steven Naismith hit back for the home team.
Suarez celebrated the opening goal with a dive in front of Everton manager David Moyes, who in the lead-up to the game had accused him of diving to win free kicks.
Everton had more possession in the second half though couldn’t get the breakthrough goal. Nikica Jelavic missed chances including a header from a Baines free kick.
There was controversy at the end as Suarez scored in injury time, only for the goal to be disallowed for offside. Television replays suggested the goal should have stood.
“We’re so disappointed that it didn’t count because for me it’s an easy decision,” said Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. “He’s clearly onside.”
Papiss Cisse scored an injury-time winner for Newcastle at St James’ Park after West Brom’s Romelu Lukaku had tied Demba Ba’s 35th-minute opener.
Gareth Bale and Clint Dempsey got Tottenham’s goals in the first half at Southampton. Jay Rodriguez got one back in the 66th minute.
Two days ago, Manchester City beat Swansea 1-0 and Arsenal defeated Queens Park Rangers by the same score. Aston Villa drew 1-1 with Norwich and Fulham tied 3-3 at Reading. Wigan beat West Ham 2-1 and Sunderland drew 0-0 at Stoke.
Everton is fifth with 16 points, while West Brom and Newcastle are eighth and 10th, respectively. Liverpool is 12th on 10 points. Winless QPR is bottom with three points, one behind Southampton and Reading.
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