Schwarzer in action as Manchester United downs Leicester


Manchester United avenged its humiliating defeat to Leicester City earlier in the season by recording a 3-1 victory over the Premier League's basement club, with goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer starting for the Foxes.

Louis van Gaal's side was beaten 5-3 at the King Power Stadium in September, but it never looked in danger of suffering a similar fate at Old Trafford.

Robin van Persie opened the scoring with his first goal in five matches in all competitions - a well-taken 27th-minute effort after a teasing ball over the top from Daley Blind.

That strike was swiftly followed by Radamel Falcao's bundled second, before Wes Morgan sent the ball beyond his own goalkeeper just before half-time.

United failed to build on its healthy lead after the interval, and conceded a late Marcin Wasilewski header, but it comfortably staved off the kind of comeback that earned Leicester its remarkable win earlier in the campaign.

Victory lifts United above Southampton, which plays Swansea City on Monday morning (AEDT), into third, while Leicester remains at the foot of the table.

United, which wore black armbands to mark the 57th anniversary of the Munich air disaster, made three changes from its goalless FA Cup draw at Cambridge United, while Schwarzer was handed a first Premier League start for Leicester.

Despite United's best efforts to probe the Leicester defence, the veteran stopper went largely untested in the early stages, with Falcao flagged offside when he appeared to have found an opening.

Leicester scored with all five of its shots on target when the sides met in September, and its first opportunity fell to Jeffrey Schlupp, who - with United temporarily down to 10 men as Phil Jones laced up a new pair of boots - raced down the left.  He was unable to shake off the attentions of Antonio Valencia as his shot went high and wide.

United broke the deadlock in the 27th minute as the architects of one of the most memorable goals of 2014 combined again.

Blind, who provided the assist for Van Persie's spectacular diving header against Spain at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, found his Netherlands team-mate with a ball over the top before the striker expertly hooked a shot beyond Schwarzer, despite appeals for offside.

Schwarzer retired from international duty in 2013, but any joy at seeing his former Australia colleagues lift the AFC Asian Cup 2015 earlier in the day was soon fading fast, with Falcao pouncing to force the ball over the line from close range after the goalkeeper had failed to hold an Angel Di Maria strike.

Having provided the assist for United's opener, Blind was again involved in United’s third as his header from a corner led to Morgan inadvertently diverting past Schwarzer a minute before the break.

Leonardo Ulloa went down in the box under the challenge of Marcos Rojo just after the hour mark, but referee Martin Atkinson waved away the visitor's optimistic claims for a penalty.

While United may not have looked as dangerous during the second period, Leicester offered little going forward and looked destined to end the match without registering a single shot on target.

However, Wasilewski nodded home his first goal for more than three years from a Marc Albrighton cross with 10 minutes to go, although that proved little more than consolation for the well-beaten visitor.

Source: Omnisport