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Should Bruno Fernandes’ first strike against Brighton have stood? Replays show ball was out of play

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Fans have been left incensed after controversy surrounded Bruno Fernandes‘ first goal in Manchester United‘s comfortable victory at Brighton.

The red-hot Portuguese playmaker extended his impressive form for the Champions League chasers, but his strike on the south coast has been greeted with frustration after a glaring error from the match officials.

In fact, there were two incidents that led to outrage on social media in the build-up to Fernandes’ strike – but on both occasions VAR failed to intervene. 

Fans are incensed after controversy surrounded Bruno Fernandes' first strike against Brighton

Fans are incensed after controversy surrounded Bruno Fernandes' first strike against Brighton

Fans are incensed after controversy surrounded Bruno Fernandes’ first strike against Brighton

Mason Greenwood had seemingly controlled the ball out of play in the build-up to the goal

Mason Greenwood had seemingly controlled the ball out of play in the build-up to the goal

Mason Greenwood had seemingly controlled the ball out of play in the build-up to the goal

Mason Greenwood, who was also on target against the Seagulls on Tuesday evening, had controlled the ball on the touchline – but appeared to do so out of bounds. 

Both images and video replays showed the lapse in judgement from the linesman. 

And the dubious nature of the goal stretched a little further. Luke Shaw received the ball down the left flank, and the full back then delivered a cross which allowed Fernandes to bury beyond Mat Ryan shortly after.

The Manchester United starlet was unable to control the ball on the pitch before racing away

The Manchester United starlet was unable to control the ball on the pitch before racing away

The Manchester United starlet was unable to control the ball on the pitch before racing away

Luke Shaw also appeared to have been offside in a very tight call before Fernandes had struck

Luke Shaw also appeared to have been offside in a very tight call before Fernandes had struck

Luke Shaw also appeared to have been offside in a very tight call before Fernandes had struck

But again replays revealed a very tight offside call, with Shaw afforded the benefit of the doubt.  

The lucky break allowed United to ease into a comfortable two-nil lead, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s rampant side never looked back at the Amex. 

Fernandes notched his double shortly after half-time to round off an incisive counter attack from the visitors.

Social media users, however, were aggrieved at the manner of the Old Trafford outfit’s win – with many justifiably questioning the nature of United’s second goal.

Fernandes notched a double as United recorded a comfortable win in the race for the top four

Fernandes notched a double as United recorded a comfortable win in the race for the top four

Fernandes notched a double as United recorded a comfortable win in the race for the top four

One account declared ‘United are well and truly back’ due to the questionable circumstances. 

‘We back’ is how a United supporter rounded up the controversy with their club enjoying a stellar unbeaten run and firmly in the hunt to secure European football next season.  

Another, seemingly a Leicester fan, said: ‘So you’re telling me Manchester United just scored a goal when the ball went out of play and someone was offside? Yep, goodbye top four.’

And a fourth believes that the missed calls from the officials were a timely reminder of Sir Alex Ferguson’s trophy-laden tenure. They tweeted: ‘Shaw offside, ball out on Greenwood. Even with VAR, Fergie’s heritage still arrives.’  

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Big races including the Derby are insured if coronavirus pandemic hits race meetings in 2021

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The Derby is one of the few sporting events to have multi-year insurance policies that provide cover for global pandemics — and the major race meetings are well placed to cope financially if the Government’s restrictions on mass gatherings continue into next year.

The Derby will take place at a deserted Epsom on Saturday, with the Oaks on the same card for the first time as the two-day meeting has been reduced to one. 

With so much uncertainty over the long-term impact of coronavirus, there are doubts about whether the usual crowd of more than 100,000 will be able to attend next year. 

Epsom is one of the few sporting events that will be covered by pandemic insurance next year

Epsom is one of the few sporting events that will be covered by pandemic insurance next year

Epsom is one of the few sporting events that will be covered by pandemic insurance next year

Wimbledon organisers admitted earlier this week that they cannot secure pandemic insurance cover for 2021 after claiming more than £100million to cover the losses from the cancellation of this year’s Championships.

But Sportsmail has learned that Epsom has a multi-year policy. Cheltenham and Aintree are also among a handful of major venues to have the multi-year cover — a legacy of a far-sighted decision taken by the Jockey Club following the foot and mouth crisis which led to the cancellation of the 2001 Cheltenham Festival. 

Standard race fixtures across the sport are not covered, but major meetings are insured — including Royal Ascot, which took place without crowds last month.

Epsom will be able to recover most of their lost ticket and hospitality revenue for Saturday’s meeting, worth tens of millions, through insurance.

Cheltenham and Aintree are also among a handful of major venues to have multi-year cover

Cheltenham and Aintree are also among a handful of major venues to have multi-year cover

Cheltenham and Aintree are also among a handful of major venues to have multi-year cover

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Ed Walker heads to Epsom seeking Derby glory for English King alongside Frankie Dettori

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Less than years after questioning where his career was going, trainer Ed Walker could on Saturday afternoon win the most prestigious prize in Flat racing.

The 37-year-old heads to a crowd-free Epsom seeking victory in the £500,000 Investec Derby with 7-2 favourite English King and with Frankie Dettori in his corner. 

It is a scenario Walker could not have dared to dream about as his training career threatened to be derailed by a nomadic existence that only ended when he moved into the Kingsdown House stables of English King’s owner Bjorn Nielsen in December 2016. 

Ed Walker is banking on English King and Frankie Dettori to provide him with a first Derby win

Ed Walker is banking on English King and Frankie Dettori to provide him with a first Derby win

Ed Walker is banking on English King and Frankie Dettori to provide him with a first Derby win

Five yards in six years, including a stint renting part of the famous Warren Place yard from where the late Sir Henry Cecil dominated British racing, had had a destabilising effect.

‘The insecurity and the uncertainty was pretty grim,’ recalls Walker. ‘I had four stables in Newmarket. Even when I moved to Warren Place I knew that was only going to be a temporary stop. 

‘It was a wonderful address and great history but kind of embarrassing having some of my moderate horses in those boxes. 

‘When I had to leave I was buying yearlings not knowing where they were going to be trained.

‘It was impossible to get into any sort of routine. My results crashed at the end of that season. I was driving around the country looking at yards, wondering whether we were going to move to Chantilly or Yorkshire. I didn’t know what we were going to do. It was a nightmare. 

‘There was a point where I thought, “I can’t deal with this any more”.’

An escape was offered by Nielsen, who was looking for someone to replace David Lanigan, who was heading back to Newmarket, and the agreement was sealed during a flying visit to meet his prospective landlord in New York.

Nielsen, a hedge-fund trader and investor, has won a St Leger with John Gosden-trained Masked Marvel in 2011 but the best-known horse to carry his colours is the triple Ascot Gold Cup winner Stradivarius, which he also bred. 

Walker admits that five yards in six years had a destabilising effect on his routine and results

Walker admits that five yards in six years had a destabilising effect on his routine and results

Walker admits that five yards in six years had a destabilising effect on his routine and results

But Nielsen’s biggest desire is to own a Derby winner. English King, a son of 2012 Derby winner Camelot who cost €210,000, was a 66-1 shot for Epsom before last month’s Lingfield Derby Trial and soon became the 6-1 joint favourite when he emerged the smooth two-and-three-quarter-length victor of the race won by last year’s Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck.

Walker said: ‘With Bjorn it is very straightforward — he buys these colts for one reason and for one reason only, and that is to win the Derby.

‘I would be lying if I said I thought English King was going to win like he did at Lingfield. It was only after getting home, watching the replays and seeing the times that you appreciated it and thought, “Crikey, that was a fairly serious performance”.’

If English King wins, he will not only deliver a first Classic for Walker but also a first Group One win.

It is that relative inexperience, plus Nielsen’s link to Dettori, which led to the two-time winning rider replacing Tom Marquand, who was on English King at Lingfield but who will now have his first Derby ride on Khalifa Sat. It will be Dettori’s 25th Derby.

Walker confesses that he was surprised at the manner of English King's triumph at Linfield

Walker confesses that he was surprised at the manner of English King's triumph at Linfield

Walker confesses that he was surprised at the manner of English King’s triumph at Linfield

Walker, a former assistant to dual Derby-winning trainer Luca Cumani, added: ‘They are worlds apart in terms of experience and I am totally inexperienced as well.

‘I can’t pat someone on the back and say this is what you need to do, because this is my first Derby runner.

‘I said to Tom, “You should be rooting for this horse because there is a good chance you will get back on him one day, because Frankie won’t be available and if I win the Derby I am likely to have more Derby chances and you and I will be a team partnering up a lot’.

‘We are going into it with a horse we know stays, are pretty sure will handle the track and should enjoy the ground. We also have the world’s greatest Group One jockey on board.

‘The big question is, is he good enough?’ 

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SAM TURNER’S TIPS FOR THE DERBY: Frankie Dettori and English King at Epsom… and all the best bets

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English King may not have found favour with the draw gods but he is still fancied to rule over his Investec Derby (Epsom, 4.55) rivals on Saturday afternoon.  

Historically, stall one has been a tough position to overcome with 1999 winner Oath the last horse to manage victory from the outside berth, and only three winners since 1969 have managed the feat.

The bookmakers were quick to ease English King in the betting once news of the draw emerged but that may prove hasty as the decision by connections to utilise Frankie Dettori may prove a masterstroke.

English King is fancied to outshine his rivals at the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday

English King is fancied to outshine his rivals at the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday

English King is fancied to outshine his rivals at the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday

The Italian takes his 25th ride in the world’s greatest Flat race and will arguably require all of his Epsom knowledge to deliver a third Derby win on Ed Walker’s talented colt.

However, English King displayed a number of useful attributes when landing the Lingfield Derby trial, not least the ability to travel well before quickening smartly off a strong pace.

He also proved a well-balanced individual given how he handled the turn into the Lingfield straight and the form of his comeback win was enhanced by the runner-up filling the same position in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot.

IT’S A DIFFERENT DERBY 

For the first time in the race’s history, the 241st Derby will be run behind closed doors. Epsom and Walton Conservators have approved a three-and-a-half-mile fence around the racecourse to keep fans out. 

Owners will be allowed into the course but will be restricted to a separate zone. They can only stay on track for a limited time around their horse’s run. There will be a presentation for the winning jockey and trainer, then the owner.

The race has been pushed back to its latest-ever time of 4.55pm in the hope of attracting a bumper TV audience.

Prize money has been slashed by two thirds, with the Derby now worth £500,000.

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With English King drifting because of his stalls position, near neighbour Mogul in gate two has arguably been the best-backed horse of the week, despite posting a subdued comeback at Ascot behind Pyledriver in the King Edward VII Stakes.

It would be easy to write off his chance, given how he folded tamely into fourth at the furlong marker and was passed by Mohican Heights.

However, he looked like a horse which was desperately in need of the outing and the fact Ryan Moore rides the son of Galileo in preference to Hampton Court winner, Russian Emperor, suggests he doesn’t particularly rate that event as a valid Derby trial.

If Mogul is a strongly-backed second favourite, housed in a potentially tricky stall alongside English King, there is a theory Pyledriver and Mohican Heights, both of whom finished in front of him at Ascot, are overpriced.

The last named also appeared to be ridden with an eye on Saturday’s prestigious contest and, as a juvenile who won over a mile, he looks sure to progress for a stiffer test at 12 furlongs.

That may not be the case for Guineas hero Kameko, who appears likely to stay in excess of a mile given his run style, but Saturday’s trip and tackling proven middle-distance foes may find him out.

I can’t help thinking Kameko would have lined up in Sunday’s Coral-Eclipse Stakes if three-year-olds had been allowed this year and I’ll rely on Dettori to ensure English King’s Epsom coronation instead.

FRANKLY DARLING (Epsom, 3.40) may well set the Italian maestro on the road to a Classic double in the Investec Oaks.

The daughter of Frankel, trained by John Gosden, has inherited traits from her father as she was arguably too keen in the early stages of the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot before landing the Group One prize.

She must settle a little better but she is fancied to trouble 1,000 guineas.

EPSOM 

ROBIN GOODFELLOW

1.50 Twaasol

2.25 Safe Voyage

3.00 Certain Lad

3.40 Frankly Darling

4.15 Fooraat

4.55 English King

5.35 Corazon Espinado (nb)

GIMCRACK  

 1.50 Modern News

2.25 Safe Voyage (nb)

3.00 Caradoc

3.40 Frankly Darling

4.15 Summer Romance

4.55 Kameko (nap)

5.35 Count Otto

And here are the rest of the best bets for Saturday’s racing…

HAYDOCK 

ROBIN GOODFELLOW

12.00 Redgrave

12.30 Triple Spear

1.00 Redrosezorro

1.30 Dubai Fountain

2.05 Made For All

2.40 Barossa Red (nap)

3.15 First Kingdom

3.50 Poet’s Lady

4.25 Arch Moon

GIMCRACK 

12.00 Redgrave

12.30 Blazing Hot

1.00 Redrosezorro

1.30 Dubai Fountain

2.05 Top Class Angel

2.40 The Met

3.15 Grande Rumore

3.50 Perfect Inch

4.25 Arch Moon

Newmarket – 1.30 Golden Melody (nb)

Northerner – 12.30 Royal Context (nb); 4.25 Arch Moon (nap).

CHELMSFORD CITY 

ROBIN GOODFELLOW 

4.35 Waddat

5.10 Al Watan

5.40 Jack Ryan

6.10 Al Dawodiya

6.40 Mubtasimah

7.10 Blame Culture

7.40 Arafi

8.10 Astro King

8.40 Paradise On Earth

GIMCRACK 

4.35 Waddat

5.10 Recovery Run

5.40 Mayson Mount

6.10 Yes Always

6.40 Billesdon Brook

7.10 Coverham

7.40 Arafi

8.10 Astro King

8.40 Flying West 

YARMOUTH 

ROBIN GOODFELLOW

5.20 Voi

5.55 Hidden Sky

6.25 Songkran

6.55 Ventura Tormenta

7.25 Tsar

7.55 Steal The Scene

8.25 Inner Circle

8.55 Ice Ice Lady

GIMCRACK 

5.20 Capla Huntress

5.55 Arabian Romance

6.25 Songkran

6.55 Surprise Picture

7.25 Tsar

7.55 Roca Magica

8.25 Penarth Pier

8.55 Ice Ice Lady 

GOODFELLOW’S SUNDAY BEST

HAYDOCK 

12.00 Andronicus Beau

12.30 Bungee Jump

1.00 Snazzy Jazzy

1.30 Theatro (nb)

2.05 Duke Of Condicote

2.40 Manuela De Vega

3.15 BABBO’S BOY (nap)

3.50 Lincoln Park

4.20 Internationangel

SANDOWN  

 1.15 Risk Of Thunder

1.50 Liberty Beach

2.25 Cross Counter

3.00 Montatham

3.35 Ghaiyyath

4.05 Global Giant

4.35 Tulip Fields

5.10 Eshaasy  

DONCASTER

1.40 Zookeeper

2.15 Ikebana

2.50 Jumaira Bay

3.25 Rose Hip

4.00 Camacho Chief

4.30 Absolute Dream

5.00 Without A Fight

5.35 Doctor Cross

6.05 Sports Reporter

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