False start for Manchester United as EPL season kicks off

Swansea spoilt van Gaal’s Premier League debut at Old Trafford
London: Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United reign got off to a false start on Saturday as Swansea City won 2-1 in the season’s opening Premier League game at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal was taking charge of his first competitive game as United manager, but his new side exhibited many of the same failings from last season — when they finished seventh — as they slumped to a surprise defeat.
South Korea midfielder Ki Sung-yueng exploited inattentive marking to give Swansea a 28th-minute lead with a left-foot shot from the edge of the box.United’s new captain Wayne Rooney equalised early in the second period, but Gylfi Sigurdsson condemned the hosts to a first opening-day home defeat since 1972 with a close-range finish in the 72nd minute.
It gave Swansea back-to-back wins at Old Trafford, following their shock FA Cup success in January, and was a reversal of United’s 4-1 win at the Liberty Stadium on the first day of last season.
“It is very disappointing that we have lost our first home match,” said Van Gaal, who took over at United after leading his native Holland to the World Cup semi-finals.
“We were very nervous in the first half, made the wrong choices, and that is a pity. In the second half, we never played as a team. Therefore, I’m responsible.”
Injuries obliged Van Gaal to hand competitive debuts to Tyler Blackett, 20, and 21-year-old Jesse Lingard, but Lingard was forced off by injury in the 24th minute.
United bossed possession in the first half, but Swansea struck from their first sight of goal when Ki stroked home a lay-off from Sigurdsson.
Van Gaal switched formations from a 3-4-1-2 to a 4-2-3-1 at half-time and United responded immediately, with Rooney acrobatically volleying in at the back post after Juan Mata’s corner was flicked on by Phil Jones.
Rooney then hit the post with a free-kick, but Swansea claimed victory when Icelandic midfielder Sigurdsson — back at the club after two years at Tottenham Hotspur — slammed home Wayne Routledge’s mishit volley.
Elsewhere, New Zealand striker Chris Wood came off the bench to earn promoted Leicester City a dramatic 2-2 draw at home to Everton in their first top-flight game since 2004.
After Leicester new recruit Leonardo Ulloa had cancelled out Aiden McGeady’s precise 20th-minute opener, Steven Naismith looked to have given Everton victory, only for Wood to fire home four minutes from time.Eric Dier enjoyed a dream debut for Tottenham by scoring a 93rd-minute winner at West Ham United in manager Mauricio Pochettino’s first game at the Spurs helm.
After Spurs’ Kyle Naughton and West Ham’s James Collins had both been sent off, substitute Dier coolly rounded goalkeeper Adrian in stoppage time before scoring the game’s only goal. James Chester’s 52nd-minute header gave Hull City a 1-0 win at QPR.
( Source : AFP )
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