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EPL: Romelu Lukaku scores, sets up winner as Manchester United beat Chelsea 2-1

Lukaku's 39th-minute equaliser, canceling out Willian's opener, was his first goal against any of the division's leading eight sides this season.

Reported by: AP , MANCHESTER [ Updated: February 25, 2018 23:26 IST ]
Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United celebrates scoring his sides first goalPhoto:GETTY IMAGES

Romelu Lukaku ended his scoring drought against the Premier League's top teams before setting up the second-half winner for Jesse Lingard as Manchester United came from behind to beat Chelsea 2-1 and reclaim second place on Sunday.

Lukaku's 39th-minute equaliser, canceling out Willian's opener, was his first goal against any of the division's leading eight sides this season and took him onto 22 in all competitions in his first season at United.

The Belgium striker then demonstrated another part of his game in the 75th by clipping over a cross that was headed in by Lingard, who had only been on the field for 11 minutes.

With this attritional win, earned with Paul Pogba back in the starting lineup, United climbed back above Liverpool and opened up a six-point cushion to Chelsea in fifth place in the race for Champions League qualification. There are 10 games left.

The match came after weeks of rancor between the two managers, with Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho firing off increasingly edgy barbs at each other in news conferences. Thinking Mourinho had called him a "clown," Conte went as far as claiming the Chelsea boss had dementia. Conte then offered to meet Mourinho "in a room" after the United manager brought up match-fixing allegations that were leveled at — and subsequently dropped against — Conte from his time in Italy.

There was a frosty handshake between the pair before kickoff and they avoided any confrontation during the game, which Chelsea started well and took the lead through the latest scorcher from Willian.

The Brazilian began a counterattack from his own box after heading clear a free kick. Bursting forward, Willian exchanged passes with Eden Hazard before running into the box and firing in a shot that was near to David De Gea but was so powerfully struck that it flew past the goalkeeper.

United hadn't committed many players forward up to that point. Once they did, the equalizer arrived. Alexis Sanchez fed a pass to Anthony Martial, who laid the ball across for Lukaku to control and sidefoot home from 10 meters (yards).

Chelsea faded after the break, with Willian and Hazard less effective and Pogba growing into the game for United.

Lukaku had a shot off a scissor kick tipped over by Thibaut Courtois, then showed a different facet of his game to create the winner by curling over a cross that was headed home by Lingard.

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FIFA 2018 Points Table

  • TEAMS PL W L D PTS
  • RussiaRussia 2 2 0 0 6
  • UruguayUruguay 2 2 0 0 6
  • EgyptEgypt 2 0 2 0 0
  • Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia 2 0 2 0 0
  • SpainSpain 2 1 0 1 4
  • PortugalPortugal 2 1 0 1 4
  • IR IranIR Iran 2 1 1 0 3
  • MoroccoMorocco 2 0 2 0 0
  • FranceFrance 2 2 0 0 6
  • DenmarkDenmark 2 1 0 1 4
  • AustraliaAustralia 2 0 1 2 1
  • PeruPeru 2 0 2 0 0
  • CroatiaCroatia 2 2 0 0 6
  • IcelandIceland 1 0 0 1 1
  • ArgentinaArgentina 2 0 1 1 1
  • NigeriaNigeria 1 0 1 0 0
  • BrazilBrazil 2 1 0 1 4
  • Serbia Serbia 1 1 0 0 3
  • SwitzerlandSwitzerland 1 0 0 1 1
  • Costa RicaCosta Rica 2 0 2 0 0
  • SwedenSweden 1 1 0 0 3
  • MexicoMexico 1 1 0 0 3
  • GermanyGermany 1 0 1 0 0
  • Korea Republic Korea Republic 1 0 1 0 0
  • BelgiumBelgium 1 1 0 0 3
  • EnglandEngland 1 1 0 0 3
  • TunisiaTunisia 1 0 1 0 0
  • PanamaPanama 1 0 1 0 0
  • JapanJapan 1 1 0 0 3
  • SenegalSenegal 1 1 0 0 3
  • PolandPoland 1 0 1 0 0
  • ColombiaColombia 1 0 1 0 0
FIFA World Cup 2018 Schedule