Manchester United start 2017 with 2-0 win over West Ham

London, Jan 3 (IANS) English football side Manchester United began 2017 with an encouraging 2-0 win over West Ham in a Premier League match.

United beat West Ham in a match where the quality of the officiating played a major, if not decisive, role.

West Ham were reduced to 10 men at the 15-minute mark on Monday as referee Mike Dean showed the red card to Sofiane Feghouli for an arguable offence.

Even so, the hosts held off the star-studded United team until the second half.

Substitute Juan Mata put the visitors up 1-0 with a goal at the hour mark and Zlatan Ibrahimovic got the second in the 78th minute from apparently an offside position.

With their sixth win in a row, sixth-placed United have 39 points, the same as Tottenham Hotspurs, who are ahead on goal differential ahead of Wednesday’s London derby with Chelsea.

United’s crosstown rival Manchester City also won, 2-1 against Burnley while second-place Liverpool gave up valuable points with a draw.

City, coming off a tough 0-1 loss to Liverpool, played two-thirds of Monday’s game against Burnley with only 10 men after Fernandinho was sent off in the 32nd minute for a rough tackle on Johann Berg Gudmundsson.

Burnley held off the City attack until the 58th minute, when Gael Clichy found the back of net. Sergio Agüero made it 2-0 for the Manchester side just four minutes later. Ben Mee clawed one back for Burnley.

The win brings City to 42 points, two behind Liverpool and two ahead of Arsenal, who face Bournemouth on Tuesday.

Liverpool led twice in Monday’s contest at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, but Jermain Defoe converted two penalties to earn a point for the hosts, currently in 18th place.

Liverpool, with 44 points from 20 matches, trail league leaders Chelsea by five points.

Everton dominated Southampton 3-0 and West Bromwich Albion topped Hull City 3-1, while Leicester City held Middlesbrough 0-0 at the Riverside Stadium in Monday’s other fixtures.

–IANS

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