Man United move within striking distance of Liverpool

Sports Desk, Dec 29 (efe-epa).- Manchester United needed a goal from Marcus Rashford in stoppage time Tuesday to edge Wolverhampton 1-0 and rise to second place in the Premier League, just 2 points behind defending champions Liverpool.

The Red Devils dominated possession against a visiting Wolves side still without top scorer Raul Gimenez, recovering from a head injury.

But Wolverhampton were tenacious on defense and ended the contest with more shots on target.

The visitors had the first serious chance, a strike by Adama Traore in the 13th minute that forced a stop from United goalkeeper David De Gea 10 minutes before Wolves’ Roman Saiss hit the cross-bar.

Bruno Fernandes was thwarted by Wolverhampton keeper Rui Patricio in the 34th minute, while Saiss tested De Gea as half-time approached.

Edinson Cavani put the ball past Patricio in the 70th minute, but the goal was disallowed for offside and United’s pleas for a penalty because the ball brushed the arm of Conor Coady led to nothing.

Patricio denied Paul Pogba in the 75th minute and Wolves looked likely to see out the match until Rashford’s shot deflected off Saiss in the 93rd minute.

Wolverhampton are in the 12th spot with 21 points, just 1 more than Arsenal after the resurgent Gunners won 1-0 away to Brighton & Hove Albion earlier Tuesday.

It was the first time since September that Mikel Arteta’s side put together consecutive wins in the Premier League.

Alexander Lacazette’s goal in the 66th minute was the difference as Brighton slipped to 17th place on 13 points.

The Seagulls have won just once in their last 14 matches.

In Tuesday’s other action, Leeds United pummeled West Bromwich Albion 5-0 in a contest between two promoted sides on vastly different trajectories.

Just days after the Baggies achieved what supporters saw as a moral victory with a 1-1 result against Liverpool at Anfield, they were embarrassed at home by a mid-table side.

West Brom fell behind in the 9th minute thanks to a spectacular blunder by midfielder Romaine Sawyers, whose blind back-pass rolled into the net as keeper Sam Johnstone had come off his line to counter the threat from Rodrigo.

Ezgjan Alioski extended the lead to 2-0 with a fine goal in the 31st minute. Five minutes later, it was Jack Harrison’s turn and Rodrigo made it 4-0 in the 40th.

Raphinha topped off the scoring in the 72nd minute.

Leeds moved up to 11th place and West Brom remained second from the bottom.

Southampton and West Ham United ended 0-0 at St. Mary’s Stadium to leave them where they began the day in ninth and tenth, respectively.

Burnley picked up 3 points at the expense of last-place Sheffield United, winning 1-0 at Turf Moor on a goal by Ben Mee to go 5 points above the drop zone and supplant Brighton in 16th place. EFE apa/dr

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