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Man Utd 1 West Brom 0: Solskjaer rescued by VAR as Fernandes gets away with foul minutes before scoring retaken penalty

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man utd 1 west brom 0 solskjaer rescued by var as fernandes gets away with foul minutes before scoring retaken penalty scaled

FINALLY Manchester United had a reason to smile about technology again… even if it did leave Slaven Bilic with a face like thunder.

A cyber attack had breached United’s computer system before kick off had caused panic inside Old Trafford.

Bruno Fernandes netted Man Utd's winner against West Brom with a retaken penalty

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Bruno Fernandes netted Man Utd’s winner against West Brom with a retaken penaltyCredit: AP:Associated Press

⚽ Read our Man United live blog for the latest news from Old Trafford

Last night Baggies boss Bilic was the one feeling decidedly hacked off, after two VAR calls wrecked his side’s dreams of a shock – and gifted victory to United.

First referee David Coote over-turned his own 46th minute penalty call after Bruno Fernandes sent Conor Gallagher tumbling in the box after a touchline review.

And seven minutes later Fernandes put United in front with a retaken spot kick after Sam Johnstone stepped from his line, as he saved the midfielder’s first attempt.

Decisions, by the way, both courtesy of a man who should really have been in action for Liverpool’s game against Leicester tonight.

Coote, though, was taken off that one because he had been the VAR official for THAT Jordan Pickford challenge on Virgil van Dijk which ended the Kop star’s season.

How West Brom must have wished he had been kept on duty in Merseyside rather than Manchester.

Mind you, given how United were making such heavy weather of a first home win of the season, it was probably the only way they’d have got it.

West Brom keeper Sam Johnstone save Fernandes' initial effort

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West Brom keeper Sam Johnstone save Fernandes’ initial effortCredit: Reuters
Johnstone protested after he was ruled to have been off his line when he made the save

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Johnstone protested after he was ruled to have been off his line when he made the saveCredit: AFP or Licensors

On paper it should have been no contest. But on paper United look a decent team. The reality is something else.

The reality is what the table told you…14th against 18th. A contest between one side desperately hoping to stay up and another who will be lucky to get near the top four.

Certainly if this is anything to go by. And if it hadn’t been for that dodgy VAR call in United’s favour, it could have been even worse for them.

They started moderately and gradually got worse. West Brom hung in there and then threatened a smash and grab.

By rights they should have managed it, too. If the rules weren’t such an ass these days, there would have been no argument.

Less than 60 seconds after the break and Gallagher had tumbled under Fernandes’ clumsy challenge.

As clear a spot kick as you’ll see. Or at least that’s how it appeared – we should know by now that nothing is any more.

When referee Coote raced to check, they probably feared the worst, and true enough the penalty was waved away… and West Brom’s dreams went with it.

It didn’t matter how many times you viewed the replay, how forensic the study, you could never say the original decision was an obvious mistake.

And isn’t that the only way the officials are supposed to change their decision? Or maybe we’ve missed something else along the way.

True, Fernandes did indeed make the slightest touch on the ball. But he made a heck of a heftier one on Gallagher’s shin.

Anywhere else on the field and you’re talking a free kick. One of those “he got there first, but the follow through got the man” incidents.

Still, even then it might not have mattered greatly had David de Gea not produced a fantastic block to deny Conor Townsend from close range soon after.

Fernandes gave away a penalty only minutes before, only for it to be controversially overturned by VAR

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Fernandes gave away a penalty only minutes before, only for it to be controversially overturned by VARCredit: AFP or Licensors

When that happened, you sensed what was next up. Although maybe not in the manner it came about.

For seven minutes after the spot kick clanger at one end, United were ahead thanks to one of their own at the other. Or two, in fact, to be strictly accurate.

Nemanja Matic’s ball into the box did strike Darnell Furlong on the hand, and given it wsa away from his body, this time there was no need to review.

Up stepped Fernandes with a hop, a step…and a stunning low save from Sam Johnstone, diving low to his left.

Yet the Baggies keeper had taken a step off his line before doing so, and Coote got the message in his ear – a retake.

Cruel luck it may have been on the man who spent eight years at Old Trafford without playing a game for United, but accurate it was.

And second time round Fernandes played it straight with his run up and into the corner with the delivery, and the Baggies were breached at last.

They would have been for a second time had Johnstone – who had a night he will never forget – capped an evening of stunning saves with a jaw-dropper to deny Rashford.

That followed an early save not far short in the stunning stakes to keep out an early Antony Martial effort and another to turn away a Harry Maguire piledriver.

Not that it waa all one-way traffic after United went ahead. Anything but, in fact, and Callum Robinson went within a coat of paint of levelling it when his curler rattled the bar.

Then again, given West Brom’s fortunes last night, it was never going to happen.

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham ‘among clubs interested in Brighton centre back Ben White’

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manchester united chelsea and tottenham among clubs interested in brighton centre back ben white

Manchester United are among a host of Premier League clubs monitoring the progress of highly-rated Brighton centre back Ben White. 

The 23-year-old has started all 10 Premier League games for the Seagulls this season, forming a solid defensive partnership in a back-three with Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster on the south coast. 

United, who have a host of defenders on their books, are interested in White though as are rivals Chelsea and Tottenham according to Sky Sports, despite both clubs also having a number of centre backs in their first-team squads. 

Ben White signed a four-year deal at Brighton and has played every league game this season

Ben White signed a four-year deal at Brighton and has played every league game this season

Ben White signed a four-year deal at Brighton and has played every league game this season

The 23-year-old is being monitored by a host of top Premier League clubs, including Man Utd

The 23-year-old is being monitored by a host of top Premier League clubs, including Man Utd

The 23-year-old is being monitored by a host of top Premier League clubs, including Man Utd

The report details that White is the Premier League’s fourth-best performing centre back, behind Kurt Zouma and Thiago Silva of Chelsea and Arsenal’s Gabriel, according to digital scouting service Wyscout. 

White spent last season on loan at Leeds United and played in every single Championship game as he helped Marco Bielsa’s side gain promotion to the top-flight. 

Leeds tried to sign the centre back permanently in the summer as a result of his reliability last season, but a bid in the region of £25m was rejected and he signed a new four-year deal at the Amex Stadium. 

Prior to his season at Elland Road, White spent time on loan at Newport County in League Two, and Peterborough United in League One, working his way up the EFL ladder before solidifying a place in the Brighton starting XI.  

White (centre) was part of the Leeds side which won promotion to the top-flight last season

White (centre) was part of the Leeds side which won promotion to the top-flight last season

White (centre) was part of the Leeds side which won promotion to the top-flight last season

White is the fourth-best performing centre back, behind likes of Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma

White is the fourth-best performing centre back, behind likes of Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma

White is the fourth-best performing centre back, behind likes of Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United were reportedly looking at centre backs in the summer, but are still well stocked in the position with players such as Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo. 

Similarly, Chelsea have strength in depth after acquiring Silva on a free transfer from PSG but nevertheless are keeping an eye on White’s progress. 

Tottenham bought Joe Rodon from Swansea in the final week of the transfer window, and he made his full debut at the weekend in the goalless draw against Chelsea. 

Yet with Toby Alderweireld struggling with an injury, Jose Mourinho is continuing to monitor defensive options with less than a month until the January transfer window opens. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Daniel Cormier urges old rival Jon Jones to face Curtis Blaydes in heavyweight debut

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daniel cormier urges old rival jon jones to face curtis blaydes in heavyweight debut

A fight at heavyweight between Jon Jones and Curtis Blaydes ‘makes all the sense in the world’, according to Daniel Cormier. 

Jones is moving up a division having vacated his light-heavyweight title and is targeting a massive showdown against Stipe Miocic. 

Blaydes was supposed to take on Derrick Lewis last Saturday but tested positive for coronavirus, meaning the match-up was cancelled.  

Jon Jones has vacated his light-heavyweight title and is moving up to heavyweight

Jon Jones has vacated his light-heavyweight title and is moving up to heavyweight

Jon Jones has vacated his light-heavyweight title and is moving up to heavyweight 

A fight with Curtis Blaydes (right) would make 'all the sense in the world', says Daniel Cormier

A fight with Curtis Blaydes (right) would make 'all the sense in the world', says Daniel Cormier

A fight with Curtis Blaydes (right) would make ‘all the sense in the world’, says Daniel Cormier

Cormier believes it would now work in ‘Bones” favour to meet Blaydes first to get used to life at heavyweight. 

‘Jones needs a heavyweight fight. I say move Blaydes to Jones. … It makes all the sense in the world,’ he said on ESPN’s DC & Helwani show.

‘(If) Jones beats Blaydes, nobody will ever say he doesn’t belong at heavyweight. (If) Blaydes beats Jones, now he has beaten the greatest of all time – in people’s minds – going up to heavyweight. He’ll get his title shot right away.’

Blaydes himself had discussed the possibility of fighting Jones prior to the cancelled fight with Lewis. 

Cormier, Jones's old rival, believes Jones needs a fight before taking on Stipe Miocic

Cormier, Jones's old rival, believes Jones needs a fight before taking on Stipe Miocic

Cormier, Jones’s old rival, believes Jones needs a fight before taking on Stipe Miocic 

‘No, I’m not (fighting Jones),’ Blaydes told TSN. ‘If I win this fight (with Lewis), I want the title shot. I’m not going to be cannon fodder to build up someone else. 

‘I’ve already built up myself and I feel like I’ve earned that. I feel like I don’t have to take that fight if I don’t need it. That’s a title fight. I’m not fighting Jon Jones to prove that I deserve a heavyweight title shot, that’s ridiculous.

‘We’re talking about money. I’m not going to fight Jon Jones for 200k, that’s ridiculous. 

Jones is looking to enhance his legacy having dominated light-heavyweight for so long

Jones is looking to enhance his legacy having dominated light-heavyweight for so long

Jones is looking to enhance his legacy having dominated light-heavyweight for so long 

‘I think that a lot of people forget that we get paid what we get paid regardless of who the opponent is. So I don’t need to fight Jon Jones to make my 200k. I can fight a bum and make 200k. If I fight Jon Jones, I want that money.’

So it seems Blaydes would play hardball in negotiations with the UFC if they were to schedule a fight with Jones. 

It also remains to be seen if ‘Bones’ would be interested or if he only has eyes for the championship belt. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Mauricio Pochettino ‘becomes favourite ahead of Raul to replace Zinedine Zidane’ as Real Madrid boss

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mauricio pochettino becomes favourite ahead of raul to replace zinedine zidane as real madrid boss

Mauricio Pochettino has become the leading candidate to replace Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid boss, according to reports in Spain.

The pressure continues to mount on Zidane after he saw his team fall to another disappointing defeat in the Champions League by Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday, leaving their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages hanging by a thread.

According to Marca, Real will look to Pochettino if they decide to part ways with Zidane, who defiantly insisted that he would not quit despite their poor run of form.

Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly being lined up to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid

Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly being lined up to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid

Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly being lined up to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid

The Frenchman has come under increasing pressure following a poor run of results at Real

The Frenchman has come under increasing pressure following a poor run of results at Real

The Frenchman has come under increasing pressure following a poor run of results at Real

No contact has been made with Pochettino as of yet, but Real know that reaching an agreement with the former Tottenham manager would not be an issue, given that the Argentine has never hidden his desire to manage the club one day.

The report also claims that the club’s legendary striker Raul is also in the running for the job but is seen as one for the future as he continues to cut his teeth with the club’s Castilla side.

Zidane came out swinging after Shakhtar completed the group stage double over them on Tuesday night, before telling reporters that he will not step aside in this ‘difficult’ moment.

‘I feel strong and I am going to keep giving everything as always,’ Zidane said after the defeat.

Real's legendary striker Raul, who's in charge of club's Castilla side, is also in the running

Real's legendary striker Raul, who's in charge of club's Castilla side, is also in the running

Real’s legendary striker Raul, who’s in charge of club’s Castilla side, is also in the running

‘I am not going to resign. This is a difficult moment but we have to show our pride and our character.’

Real were looking for revenge for October’s surprise 3-2 home reverse, but second-half goals from Dentinho and Solomon stunned them again.

Real have never failed to qualify for the knockout stages of a Champions League campaign in 24 attempts, but they have work to do now, while Shakhtar have a real chance of reaching the last 16 after climbing into second spot. 

Madrid were helped by Inter Milan’s victory over Borussia Monchengladbach later on Tuesday which leaves them still with their fate in their own hands. 

If they beat the Germans at home next week, one point above them on top of the group, they will qualify.

Madrid could still finish top if they win and Inter beat Shakhtar, but they could also finish bottom if they lose and Inter win. 

Real were beaten by Shakhtar Donetsk for a second time this season on Tuesday evening

Real were beaten by Shakhtar Donetsk for a second time this season on Tuesday evening

Real were beaten by Shakhtar Donetsk for a second time this season on Tuesday evening

Real host Borussia Monchengladbach needing to better Shakhtar's result against Inter Milan

Real host Borussia Monchengladbach needing to better Shakhtar's result against Inter Milan

Real host Borussia Monchengladbach needing to better Shakhtar’s result against Inter Milan

Asked if he thought the team had serious problems, Zidane admitted: ‘This is a combination of things. The other day [in the league defeat to Alaves] we did not deserve to win, but tonight we did.

‘We prepared well for this game as if it was a final. Now we know that we have to win our final match.’

Real Madrid have just started a run of nine games in 33 days and in the league they have Sevilla and Atletico Madrid on the horizon. 

The reigning LaLiga champions are currently fourth in the table and are seven points adrift of league leaders Real Sociedad. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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