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Football Liverpool follows up with City, Ronaldo’s hat-trick hero

Premier League - Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur
Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur – Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – March 12, 2022 Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their third goal with Alex Telles REUTERS/Phil Noble

March 12, 2022

By Simon Evans

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Liverpool continued the chase with Premier League leaders Manchester City by winning 2-0 at Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, while Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Manchester United beat Tottenham Hotspur 3: 2 defeated.

Luis Diaz scored from a fine ball from Joel Matip and headed Liverpool ahead in the 19th minute before Mohamed Salah struck from the point after a handball from Yves Bissouma for his 20th goal of the season.

Liverpool’s victory at Brighton’s Amex Stadium was their eighth consecutive league win and cut the gap to leaders Manchester City to three points.

“Difficult game, good opponents, it took us a few minutes to get into the game. From the moment we got into the game, we controlled it really well,” said Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp.

Pep Guardiola’s City side have 69 points with Liverpool on 66 but City can restore their lead to six when they travel to Crystal Palace on Monday.

After a week of speculation about his fortunes as part of Ralf Rangnick’s regime at United, Ronaldo reacted strongly – ahead of recently retired NFL quarterback Tom Brady.

Ronaldo put United ahead in the 12th minute with a spectacular long-range shot from over 20 yards, but a Harry Kane penalty gave Spurs the equalizer in the 35th minute.

Three minutes later, however, the 37-year-old had put United back ahead after Jadon Sancho broke the offside trap and set the Portuguese striker up with a low cross.

Spurs restored par in the 72nd minute with an own goal from United captain Harry Maguire slipping into a low Sergio Reguilon cross.

But Ronaldo, who tested Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris twice after the break, decided the battle with a header from an Alex Telles corner nine minutes from time.

It was the 807th goal of his career, claiming the all-time leading scorer in professional football.

Spurs manager Antonio Conte conceded that one player had simply made the difference.

“Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the two best players in the world in this era. When playing against these types of players, they are crucial. It wouldn’t have been a good night for United without Cristiano Ronaldo,” he said.

The result puts United two points clear of Arsenal and back to fourth place, despite the Gunners having four games in hand, starting with Sunday’s home game against Leicester City.

Brentford’s in-form striker Ivan Toney has scored twice in his last two Premier League games and scored five goals as the newly promoted side beat Burnley 2-0 and moved further from the relegation zone.

Toney, who scored a hat-trick last time out in Brentford’s 3-1 win against Norwich City, headed in a superb left cross from playmaker Christian Eriksen in the 85th minute to put his side ahead.

His second stoppage-time goal was a potent penalty following a foul by centre-back Nathan Collins, who was red-carded for a clumsy tackle in the penalty area.

The result put Brentford nine points above the drop zone and bolstered his quest to remain in the English top flight, while 18th Burnley suffered their third straight defeat.

(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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