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EPL: Pogba, Shaw claim three points for United against Leicester



Manchester United begin the season with a victory thanks to goals from Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw. Jamie Vardy made the last couple of minutes interesting with a late strike, but the Red Devils held their nerve to secure the three points.

It was not a perfect performance from United by any means, but Jose Mourinho will be pleased to get off the mark with a win. Claude Puel will be satisfied with the effort of his players, although they lacked a clinical edge at times in the final third. There’s plenty of room for improvement from both sides..
Fortunately for United they were given that chance as they were gifted the lead. After just 77 seconds Alexis Sanchez drove in a shot that was blocked by Wes Morgan with the ball ricocheting up. Foolishly Daniel Amartey stuck out an arm to control it – he desperately claimed it came off his chest – but despite his lame protestations the handball was correctly given by referee Andre Marriner and United had their gift.

Pogba took the penalty and took one of the most bizarre run-ups – rather a slow tip-toe up – before side-footing the ball high into the corner of the net and above the dive of Kasper Schmeichel. It was the third successive season that Leicester had conceded the first Premier League goal; having also opened the last campaign on a Friday evening, away to Arsenal.

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It was not a good start by either right-back, though. Although there was a sense of United dominating Leicester worked their way back into game and did so by remorsely targeting Matteo Darmian. Up against the pace of Demarai Gray and with Ben Chilwell charging forward from left-back – with England manager Gareth Southgate among the crowd – the Italian struggled. Badly. He was easily turned by Gray, out-stripped by Chilwell and United were indebted to two clearing headers from Pogba and Kelechi Iheanacho screwing the ball across goal although he was then flagged offside. It was a tight decision.

Leicester established territorial dominance. “Park the bus Man United,” the Leicester fans sarcastically chanted and although it was not quite that the home side were indebted to David De Gea when he saved superbly, and one-handed, to parry James Maddison’s fierce shot as the midfielder controlled the cut-back of another debutant, Ricardo Pereira.

The pressure grew and, maybe, Victor Lindelof was fortunate when he appeared to pull Iheanacho’s shirt inside the penalty area. Marriner waved play on but it only added to the sense that United had ceded the opportunity to maintain their early momentum.

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