Man United thrash Chelsea to clinch Champions League spot

Sports Desk, May 25 (EFE).- Manchester United beat Chelsea 4-1 Thursday to assure themselves of Champions League play in 2023-2024 with one game left in the Premier League season.

The Red Devils climbed to third place with 72 points, 2 better than Newcastle United, who booked their ticket to the Champions League earlier this week with a draw against Leicester City.

The result at Old Trafford means that Liverpool, now on 66 points, will have to settle for fifth and a berth in the Europa League.

Regardless of the outcome of their final match next Sunday against the Magpies, Chelsea – currently 12th – are going to finish in the bottom half of the table for the first time in the 21st century.

With nothing at stake but their pride, the Blues would have jumped out to a lead in the 4th minute if Mykhailo Mudryk had been able to finish after Lewis Hall’s cross found him unmarked in front of the United goal.

Less than two minutes later, Casemiro got his head to Christian Eriksen’s free kick to put the hosts up 1-0, but Anthony Martial flubbed an opportunity to double the advantage in the 19th minute Chelsea got a good performance from 18-year-old midfielder Hall, who served up a great cross to Kai Havertz only to see the German send his header wide.

The Blues’ Conor Gallagher missed the target twice before Martial scored deep in first-half stoppage time to make it 2-0.

United’s Bruno Fernandes hit the post early in the second half and the let-off was followed by another Chelsea charge, culminating with a Mudryk shot that forced David de Gea into action.

At the other end, Blues goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga denied Eriksen to keep the deficit to two goals until the 73rd minute, when Fernandes converted from the spot after drawing a foul from Wesley Fofana.

Five minutes later, Marcus Rashford transformed a giveaway by Fofana into United’s fourth goal of the night and his 30th of the season in all competitions.

The England international is the first United player to reach 30 goals in a season since Robin van Persie in 2012-2013.

Late sub Joao Felix got a consolation goal for Chelsea in the 89th minute, bringing the club’s Premier League total to 36. Only Everton, already relegated Southampton, and Wolverhampton have scored fewer goals this season.

EFE apa/dr

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