Jackson converted and slotted four penalties, to trump Zebre centre Gonzalo Garcia’s six-point haul with the boot. Home full-back Guglielmo Palazzani crossed for Zebre’s only try of the clash. So that left Ulster to wear their hosts down, and force them into conceding the penalties for 21-year-old Jackson to convert. Attack-minded Jackson also had a hand in Ulster’s try, his smart reverse pass sending wing Craig Gilroy into space. Five-cap Ireland centre Cave cut a close line off Gilroy to complete the move. Ulster led 13-6 at half time, with Jackson adding his second two penalties after the interval. Palazzani claimed his try late on as the Italians finally breached Ulster’s stingy defence. Mark Anscombe’s Ulster side may have craved more try-scoring opportunities, but will be pleased to leave with victory. Italy forwards Mauro Bergamasco and Marco Bortolami led the Zebre charge, fighting hard to incite their team-mates to crack Ulster’s defence open in the second half. But the home side were unable to find the creativity required to outfox their Northern Irish visitors. Jackson continued his strong start to the season, leading the Ulster line with confidence. New Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt was impressed with Jackson’s progress during the autumn international series. Jackson controlled Ireland’s 40-9 victory over Samoa with ease. But he dropped out of the match squad for the Australia and New Zealand defeats, with Johnny Sexton fit again and Ian Madigan considered more versatile on the bench. Ireland boss Schmidt wants his young stars playing regularly and controlling matches. So the former New Zealand schoolteacher will be quietly contented to see Jackson still making solid progress, especially with Madigan battling for chances at Leinster with Kiwi Jimmy Gopperth. Press Association Ireland fly-half Jackson’s solid goal-kicking guided Ulster past the gritty Italian franchise in Parma, to their sixth win in seven league matches. Centre Darren Cave crossed for Ulster’s only try after 26 minutes. Paddy Jackson’s 14 points from the kicking tee proved decisive as Ulster ground out a hard-earned 19-11 RaboDirect Pro 12 victory at Zebre.
Juan Mata feels Ryan Giggs is the perfect man to lead Manchester United. Press Association Giggs’ reign as United manager got off to the best start possible on Saturday as the Red Devils strolled to a 4-0 win over Norwich at Old Trafford. After a slightly cumbersome first half United sprang into life after the break, playing with width, pace and flair – just as Giggs had demanded. Mata, another of Moyes’ signings, was happy to end a tumultuous few days for the club on a high. “It has been a difficult week for us,” the Spaniard told MUTV. “A change of manager is never good news because it means that you are not doing the things right but today it was very important to win and give the fans what they deserve.” Moyes made no mention of the United playing squad in his midweek statement, but Mata, for one, was sad to see the 51-year-old go. “I will always be grateful to him because he was the one who brought me here and gave me the chance to play for this amazing club,” said Mata, who signed for United from Chelsea for £37.5million in January. “I wish him and his staff the best in the future.” Giggs admitted he barely slept on the eve of the match as he was worried about dropping some of his team-mates, such as Mata. But it turned out all right for the interim United boss. Norwich never looked like beating David de Gea once the hosts found their rhythm. Giggs was happy with his team’s performance, but he knows he must stay grounded. “I thought we ended the game really well,” said Giggs, who has been told he will be in charge until the end of the season. “It would have been nice if Chicho (Javier Hernandez) had scored a fifth at the end but I can’t get too greedy. “And I can’t get carried away either. It’s the first game. We are at Old Trafford and we are expected to win. “We will look forward to the Sunderland game and hope for the same performance.” Giggs, who is taking his coaching badges, added: “Maybe I should retire now with a 100 per cent record!” Norwich, meanwhile, face a real battle to stay in the Premier League. The Canaries, who have lost their last five matches, face Chelsea and Arsenal in their remaining two games and interim manager Neil Adams knows time is running out for his men. “There are two massive, massive games now, and we need to take points from both of them,” Adams said. “I’ve seen character in the dressing room. There are people in there now who are hurt.” Giggs may not be under consideration for the post on a full-time basis, but many of the 75,208 fans who were inside Old Trafford wish he was. Mata is also a big fan of Giggs, even though he was dropped to the bench by the Welshman for Saturday’s game. “If we speak about Ryan we speak about a Manchester United person,” said Mata, who scored twice following his introduction on the hour. “He was very successful here as a player and now he is leading the team. We are all happy because who is better to do it?” Giggs said prior to kick-off that he wanted to “restore the positivity” around the club following an extremely disappointing campaign under David Moyes. The 40-year-old certainly did that. The greeting Giggs received from the fans as he strode down the touchline in his club suit was real Roy of the Rovers stuff. There was little mention of Moyes at Old Trafford. The ‘Chosen One’ banner had gone and Giggs did his best to make a clean break from the Scot’s reign. Giggs made six changes to the team that lost 2-0 to Everton in Moyes’ final game in charge while Marouane Fellaini – the Scot’s £27.5million signing – was not even on the bench.
Manchester United have smashed the British transfer record to sign Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid. Press Association United confirmed the signing of the Argentina winger on Tuesday after he completed a medical. United have paid £59.7million for the former Benfica player, who has signed a five-year contract with his new club. The fee eclipses the previous British transfer record of £50million, which Chelsea paid for Fernando Torres in 2011. It also exceeds the £37.1million sum United paid for Juan Mata in January. Di Maria said: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining Manchester United. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Spain and there were a lot of clubs interested in me, but United is the only club that I would have left Real Madrid for. “Louis van Gaal is a fantastic coach with a proven track record of success and I am impressed by the vision and determination everyone has to get this club back to the top – where it belongs. I now just cannot wait to get started.” The 26-year-old, who cost Real around £28million when they signed him from Benfica in 2010, is regarded as one of the best attacking midfielders in the world. His signing is a statement of intent from new manager Van Gaal too. “Angel is a world-class midfielder but most importantly he is a team player. There is no doubting his immense natural talent,” he said. “He is a tremendously fast and incisive left-footed player who puts fear into the most accomplished defence. His dribbling skills and his ability to take on and beat opponents are a joy to watch. He is an excellent addition to the team.” The Argentinian won the man of the match award for his role in Real Madrid’s victory over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final last season. He also made the most assists (17) in the Spanish league last season. The £71million summer signing of James Rodriguez lessened Di Maria’s chances of first-team football at the Bernabeu, however, and Madrid decided to cash in on the player, whose value increased following a successful World Cup in Brazil, where he helped Argentina reach the final. Paris St Germain were the early front runners for Di Maria’s signature, but they pulled out of the race to sign the midfielder after failing to agree a fee with the European champions. It will be interesting to see how Van Gaal attempts to slot Di Maria into his starting XI. There seems no natural place for Di Maria in the 3-4-1-2 formation Van Gaal has used since he took over at Old Trafford. The Dutchman has a plethora of options for the number 10 role, so Di Maria could be converted into a striker, or he could be deployed deeper in midfield. Another alternative is switching United to a 4-3-3 system with Di Maria as one of the front three, with Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Robin van Persie – among others – vying for the two remaining places. United’s summer spending total now stands at over £130million following the signing of Di Maria. Marcos Rojo (£16million), Luke Shaw (£28million) and Ander Herrera (£29million) have already joined the club, and more signings are expected before the transfer window shuts on Monday night. Daley Blind, Arturo Vidal and Kevin Strootman are understood to be on United’s radar. But the club have reservations over the state of Vidal’s right knee, which was operated on in May, and Roma’s Strootman is also recovering from a serious knee injury. Blind, whom Van Gaal knows well from his time with the Dutch national side, has been told he can leave Ajax if United make an acceptable offer. As of yet, no bid has been made for the Ajax utility man, according to his representative Rob Jansen. ”At this moment Manchester United have not been in touch with me or Ajax about Daley and I’m not sitting here waiting for the call,” Jansen told talkSPORT. Press Association Sport understands that contrary to reports, United are not interested in signing Nigel de Jong from AC Milan. A host of departures are also expected before the window shuts. Up to 12 players could depart, chief among them striker Danny Welbeck. Marouane Fellaini was expected to leave, but an ankle injury appears to have scuppered his chances of signing for Napoli. Javier Hernandez, Shinji Kagawa and Anderson are among a long list of names with question marks hanging over their futures.
Midfielder Lampard signed for Major League Soccer side New York City following his release by Chelsea, only to make a surprise return to the Barclays Premier League with the champions, who along with New York Yankees baseball team purchased the MLS expansion franchise. The good form of the 36-year-old, who scored twice in the midweek 7-0 Capital One Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday to add to the goal against his former club, has led to speculation City will look to extend the loan stint which currently runs to the start of January. The 2015 MLS season is set to start again in March, and Lampard insists there have not yet been any discussions with City over his future past the end of the year. Wenger, who brought former Gunners captain Thierry Henry back from New York Red Bulls during the MLS close season in January 2012, believes any extension of Lampard’s current arrangement might not sit well, even if it would be within Premier League guidelines. “You always have two judgements, one is moral and one is legal and it just depends what you consider,” said Wenger. “I think ‘is it legal?’ You have to respect it after that and the player has to deal with his decisions. “I respect the fact he wants to play at the top level and he maybe didn’t have that opportunity any more at Chelsea. “I don’t really know (what) is behind all that. “Was it always his plan to go to New York and go to Man City? I am not sure. “I genuinely think he wanted to go abroad and to New York, and (then) suddenly was offered this solution to come back to the Premier League and he took it. “He could explain that much better than I do, I don’t know what is behind that.” A potential extended loan spell for Frank Lampard at Manchester City could raise moral questions over the transfer, according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Press Association
Munster were full value for their 28-13 derby victory at Thomond Park as they completed their first Guinness Pro12 double over Leinster since 2009. Stand-in captain Shane Jennings responded with Leinster’s lone try, but they could not avoid their first league defeat since Munster visited them in early October. The Irish Rugby Football Union player welfare programme may have robbed this festive fixture of some of its headline acts – including the likes of Peter O’Mahony, Paul O’Connell, Rob Kearney and Jamie Heaslip – but it was, nonetheless, a full-blooded encounter. Keatley and Ian Madigan swapped early penalties, Munster forcing a maul infringement initially and then their loosehead John Ryan was pinged for not rolling away quickly enough. Faced with bunched midfields, both kickers cleverly exploited the space in behind before the Munster pack got on the front foot with some muscular carries. Leinster had to replace a groggy Dominic Ryan and as they adjusted, the hosts struck for the game’s opening try. Stander, who temporarily lost his jersey, raced onto a Duncan Williams pass to make the line despite the presence of Luke Fitzgerald and Dave Kearney. Keatley missed the conversion but soon threatened on an arcing run over halfway, Leinster scrambling back and then responding with a strong scrum on the hosts’ 22. Keatley was caught offside, allowing Madigan to close the gap to two points, albeit only briefly as Ryan’s replacement Jordi Murphy coughed up a penalty which Keatley forced through the posts. Madigan curled his next penalty effort wide and Leinster fell further behind in the opening minutes of the second period, Keatley’s flat pass seeing Conway crash through three tacklers and he had Isaac Boss hanging off him when he touched down. The left-sided conversion was added by Keatley to open up an 18-6 advantage and despite plenty of endeavour from Fitzgerald and Zane Kirchner, Leinster were getting little change from a resolute Munster defence. Winger Fanning earned his yellow card for pinching a ruck ball that referee Nigel Owens deemed was not out, and that allowed Munster to dictate play approaching the hour mark. Keatley landed the first of two penalty attempts and Foley’s charges then hurt Leinster up front again, picking and carrying at close quarters until O’Callaghan evaded the grasp of both Jennings and Kane Douglas to score with 62 minutes gone. After Keatley’s conversion, Leinster managed to hit back within seven minutes. A prolonged spell of pressure ended with Jack Conan holding off JJ Hanrahan and getting his offload away for Jennings to dot down to the left of the posts. Madigan added the extras and although both packs had sniffs of the try-line late on, impressive Munster had done enough to warrant the 15-point winning margin. Anthony Foley’s men built an 11-6 interval lead in Limerick with CJ Stander crossing for a 16th-minute try. Andrew Conway came back to haunt his former team with a well-taken try in the 44th minute and during Darragh Fanning’s sin-bin period, Munster replacement Dave O’Callaghan collected try number three before Ian Keatley capped off his 13-point kicking haul. Press Association
Stoke striker Peter Crouch came off the bench to snatch a draw at Newcastle with a dramatic late equaliser. Colback might not have been on the pitch to put the Magpies ahead had referee Kevin Friend issued a second caution for a 71st-minute foul on Victor Moses. The goal briefly raised the spirits of a crowd of just 47,763 – the lowest at St James’ Park this season – but there were boos on the final whistle with Carver’s men having passed up an opportunity to climb into the top 10. Newcastle ran out knowing a second successive victory would see them leapfrog Stoke with two points separating them in the table before kick-off, and there was little to choose between the sides during a tight opening 45 minutes. The visitors, who employed Moses and Mame Biram Diouf as wide men in support of striker Jonathan Walters, enjoyed the greater share of possession before the break without creating clear-cut chances until deep into injury-time at the end of the half. But the Magpies made more of their time on the ball as they attacked largely on the break through the pace of Ayoze Perez and the skill of Remy Cabella and Sammy Ameobi. Walters fired across the face of goal after turning Mike Williamson with eight minutes gone, but it took a fine reaction save from Asmir Begovic to deny Cabella at the other end three minutes later. Ameobi slid the ball out to Moussa Sissoko wide on the left and when he crossed to the near post, Cabella glanced a header towards goal, only to see Begovic throw out a hand to turn it past the post. The Bosnian was quick off his line to prevent Sissoko from reaching Cabella’s 27th-minute return pass, but he was more comfortable in collecting Ameobi’s well-struck shot on the turn seconds later. Press Association The Magpies looked to have won an instantly forgettable game when Jack Colback fired them into a 74th-minute lead. However, Crouch headed fellow substitute Geoff Cameron’s 90th-minute cross over keeper Tim Krul to claim a 1-1 draw on Tyneside, denying head coach John Carver back-to-back Barclays Premier League victories and leaving Newcastle still awaiting a first home win of 2015. However, he was mightily relieved to see Perez’s shot fly inches past the far post two minutes before the break after he had been played in behind defender Marc Muniesa by Cabella. For all their possession, Stoke, who had Moses, Stephen Ireland and Glenn Whelan booked before the break, did not force Krul into a save of note until the second minute of stoppage time, although it was a good one when it finally arrived as the Dutchman palmed away Diouf’s point-blank header after good play by Steven Nzonzi and Ireland. The second half started in scrappy fashion with neither side able to exercise any real control, although the Magpies almost worked their way in with 53 minutes gone when Perez and Cabella combined only for the final ball to let them down. If anything, a game of little genuine quality deteriorated further as the half wore on with neither side able to summon up the inspiration to turn it in their favour. Carver made his move with 25 minutes remaining when he replaced defensive midfielder Vurnon Anita with striker Papiss Cisse. Gabriel Obertan replaced Cabella as the game limped towards its conclusion and saw Cisse head his 73rd-minute cross well wide of the target, but redemption was close at hand. The former Manchester United winger’s cross seconds later was laid off by Sissoko to Colback, who had been booked for a foul on Muniesa before catching Moses late, and he fired home first time off the inside of the post to snatch victory. Krul made smart saves from Phil Bardsley and Walters to preserve his clean sheet, but Obertan and Perez both passed up glorious opportunities to cement the win in a frenetic conclusion, and they were made to pay when Crouch rose at the far post to loop a header home despite the best efforts of Fabricio Coloccini on the line.
“To be honest, I’ve been a bit disappointed with him this season,” said Wylie. “I thought he was going to finish seventh when he came over the last in last year’s Gold Cup, but by the end, I thought he’d maybe won it. He stormed up that hill, and to come second was brilliant. I had to supplement him for the race, and I was just thinking ‘don’t make an idiot of me’. “He ran well in the Lexus, but the ground was heavy that day and it was a stamina test. That’s what he wants. In the Hennessy, it was better ground, and Ruby got off and said three miles wasn’t far enough for him. “He’s going back to the Gold Cup. It’s three-mile-two, with a hill at the end, and hopefully the greater stamina test, run at more of a pace, might suit him.” Speaking to The Northern Echo, he said: “He’ll run in the Albert Bartlett over three miles. He’s a monster, and I’m sure he’ll stay that no problem. He’s been in great form, although it’s a bit of a shame that we haven’t been able to get him out since December. “There haven’t been that many three-mile races to put him in, and that’s what he needs. Willie’s looking forward to seeing him in action again, and there’s also a chance he could roll on to Aintree and Punchestown too.” Wylie will be represented in all three novice hurdles, with last year’s Cheltenham Bumper runner-up Shaneshill in the Supreme and Nichols Canyon the favourite for the Neptune. The owner went on: “Shaneshill hasn’t been out since he came second at Navan in December because he had a setback. Willie says he’s hoping to get him to Cheltenham for us. He’s not there yet, but he’s getting there and if he lines up it’ll be in the Supreme and he’ll have a decent chance. “Willie obviously has Douvan in the race as well, and some people are saying the Supreme is not the right race for him (Shaneshill), but Willie is adamant it is. Hopefully, his stamina will come into play. “Nichols Canyon has been excellent all season, and it’s just a shame he stepped on that hurdle over Christmas (at Leopardstown) because that’s the only blemish on his record. He would have won three Grade Ones if that hadn’t happened. “He’s still a double Grade One winner, though, and if he jumps well, Ruby (Walsh) says he has tons of stamina. He’ll run in the Neptune, and he’s got a great chance.” Wylie came within inches of winning the Gold Cup 12 months ago with On His Own and while his form this year has not set the chasing scene alight, he will have another crack at the feature. The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old has only run twice over hurdles, winning at Cork both times, with his most recent outing coming over three miles. Wylie did, however, admit his lack of jumping experience is playing on his mind a little. Owner Graham Wylie has described Black Hercules as “a monster” ahead of his run in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Press Association
Adnan Januzaj appears to be available despite coming off in the same under-21 match as Rafael with an ankle injury. “(His injury) is not so heavy,” Van Gaal said. Another piece of good news for Van Gaal is that centre-back Jonny Evans is available, having served his six-match ban for spitting at Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse. Sunday will be the first time in-form Marouane Fellaini has returned to Goodison Park since Everton sold him to United for £27.5million. Fellaini was a cult hero at Goodison Park after spending five successful years at the club, so his decision to leave for United did not go down well with a number of Everton fans. But Van Gaal has no concerns about Fellaini’s temperament, nor his ability to take his old team apart. “Marouane Fellaini has qualities and we want to let them dominate in a team and that’s why his performances are better just now,” Van Gaal said. “I have spoken with Fellaini because I know this (is his first game back there). “Fellaini is always dry in his answers. He said, ‘It’s a game…’. (I said,) ‘Yes, but it’s a special game for you’. “I hope the fans shall receive him like the Chelsea fans received Juan Mata because I like that very much. I hope it’s like that.” Last week’s defeat at Chelsea brought to an end a run of six straight wins for United. That streak had cemented their place in the top four, but Van Gaal is still not completely happy with his team’s position in the table. Ideally he would like them to be top of the pile, but he acknowledged last week that was almost impossible after dropping 11 points behind leaders Chelsea. He would still like to finish above Manchester City, who are one point behind the Red Devils in fourth, as that would mean United would qualify directly for the Champions League. Van Gaal experienced a nervy Champions League qualifier against Skonto Riga in 1997 when his Barcelona team – which included the likes of Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique and Luis Figo – edged into the group stages with a 4-2 victory over two legs. The Catalans needed a last-minute goal from Hristo Stoickhov to win the first leg at the Nou Camp and Van Gaal wants to avoid another qualifying round in August. “It is more easy (if you finish third),” he said. “Your preparation for the new season is more easy then. “Normally you have to win that kind of match because Manchester United shall be in the stronger group so it’s not very difficult. “They (the board) have set this goal (of a top four finish) for me to achieve. “I am always in a club to win the championship, not the third or fourth position. “If we achieve our goal my board and the owners will be very happy.” Van Gaal’s predecessor David Moyes was sacked after this fixture last year, with United languishing in seventh position. Van Gaal’s job is secure – even if United do not finish in the top four. In fact, the Dutchman has already started planning for next season. His scouts have been assessing potential targets and new deals have been handed to a number of players including Chris Smalling, who signed a new four-year contract this week. “We have already extended a few contracts. We are busy with next season,” Van Gaal said. Van Gaal refused to comment on speculation PSV Eindhoven forward Memphis Depay had already flown in for talks. “I don’t discuss it with the media,” Van Gaal said of the 21-year-old, who was a regular for Holland under the United manager. “I have a lot of relationships with players. I cannot buy all the players I’ve coached already.” Manchester United right-back Rafael will miss the rest of the season with a rib injury, manager Louis van Gaal has said. Rafael came off during an Under-21 game against Leicester on Monday after an aerial collision with Anthony Knockaert. And Van Gaal told MUTV on Friday that the player will miss the final five games of the campaign. Van Gaal said of the setback: “It’s unbelievable. “He has broken his ribs so he shall not play any more this season for Manchester United. It’s very unfortunate.” In truth, the news about Rafael is not such a big blow for Van Gaal. The Brazilian has not started a Barclays Premier League game for the club since October. Of more concern to the United boss is the long list of other players who are out through injury. Phil Jones (ankle), Michael Carrick (calf) and Marcos Rojo (adductor) all missed last weekend’s defeat to Chelsea and are not fit to feature at Everton on Sunday. The only man who could return is midfielder Daley Blind, who missed the 1-0 loss at Stamford Bridge due to an ankle problem. “Only Blind maybe can reach the game against Everton but Jones, Carrick and Rojo cannot play,” the Dutchman added. Press Association
Captain Andy Waterworth put last season’s Danske Bank Premiership runners-up ahead in the 57th minute and Guy Bates added a second in the 73rd minute to leave Linfield in a healthy position heading to the Faroe Islands. It is not looking so good for two of Northern Ireland’s other representatives though, with Glentoran and Glenavon both suffering home defeats. Cup-winners Glentoran were beaten 4-1 by MSK Zilina of Slovakia, for whom Matej Jelic (13), Jakub Paur (20), Lukas Cmelik (59) and Ernest Mabouka (81) struck the goals. Conor McMenamin got Glentoran on the scoresheet, but they face a huge task to get through. Glenavon also have work to do, but not as much as Glentoran, as they were beaten 2-1 by Belarus side Shakhtyor Soligorsk. It looked set to be a bad night for the hosts at Mourneview Park when Mikhail Afanasiev and Dmitri Komarovski put the visitors 2-0 up inside 30 minutes, but Mark Patton’s 86th-minute strike has given Glenavon a lifeline. In-form SSE Airtricity League Premier Division side St Patrick’s were unable to extend their five-match domestic winning streak as they lost 2-1 at Skonto Riga. Saints took a 21st-minute lead through Aaron Greene’s fine volley but the visitors failed to make the most of their chances and ended up paying the price as Skonto snatched victory with goals from Arturs Karasausks (38) and Vladislavs Gutkovskis (65). Cork City were held 1-1 at home by Icelandic side KR Reykjavik, captain Alan Bennett’s 19th-minute strike being cancelled out by Oskar Orn Hauksson nine minutes later, but University College Dublin did manage to claim a victory. UCD, who play in the Airtricity League first division after being relegated from the Premier Division at the end of the 2014 season, were handed a place in the competition when the Republic of Ireland was granted an extra berth for its third place in UEFA’s Fair Play League. And they got off to a winning start as Ryan Swan’s goal on the stroke of half-time earned them a 1-0 home triumph over Luxembourg club Dudelange. There were mixed results for the three Welsh clubs in action, with Newtown picking up a win but Airbus UK and Bala both losing. Bala were beaten 3-1 away by Differdange, although it could have been even worse for the Welsh Premier runners-up as they found themselves trailing 3-0 inside 26 minutes through goals from Omar Er Rafik, Gauthier Caron and Dejvid Sinani before Ian Sheridan pulled a goal back before the break . Broughton also suffered a 3-1 loss. They took a 28th-minute lead at home to Lokomotiva Zagreb through Wayne Riley but then conceded goals to Damir Sovsic (48), Mirko Maric (61) and substitute Marko Kolar (68) and only prevented a fourth thanks to goalkeeper James Coates, who saved a late penalty from Sovsic. It was a better night for Newtown, for whom Jason Oswell scored a stoppage-time winner to give them a 2-1 lead to take to Maltese side Valletta. Luke Boundford’s 40th-minute opener was cancelled out by Jhonnattann midway through the second half but Valletta lost captain Ian Azzopardi to a red card with five minutes to go, and Newtown capitalised through Oswell. Linfield struck twice in the second half to earn a 2-0 win over NSI Runavik in the first leg of their Europa League first qualifying round tie. Press Association
Schweinsteiger, who will become the first German to play for United’s first time, will leave behind a sizeable gap in Bayern’s squad by leaving the Allianz Arena. He has been on the Bavarian club’s books for 17 years and won eight Bundesliga titles, seven DFB-Pokals and the Champions League with Bayern among other successes. Bayern defender Philipp Lahm told Sport1 television: “It’s a pity that our paths are now dividing. We’ve been through so much together so it really is a shame. “We played football together for the first time when we were 16. We’re going to miss him. “Anybody who knows him knows that he is always looking for challenges so we’ve got to accept his decision.” Forward Thomas Muller, who has also been linked with a move to United, added: “It’s strange that Basti’s gone. He’s done sensationally for this club. “He’s not going to be forgotten in a rush. I wish him a lot of luck. This is how things work in football.” Meanwhile, former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson described Schweinsteiger as “top drawer” and a “true leader of men” who can drive the Red Devils back to the top. Robson, 58, told The Sun: “Schweinsteiger is the kind of player and personality United have been short of. “There is Michael Carrick, of course, who has that same experience and knowledge. When he was not playing last season, we saw that United were not the same team. “Schweinsteiger is absolutely top drawer and his record and reputation speak for themselves. “He is the kind of player that can lead United back to the very top.” “It started in the Olympiastadion and continued into the Allianz Arena. It was a really fantastic time and we experienced some great moments with 15 national titles, including the historic treble and other highlights. “We are always going to have a bond and I will keep you in my heart forever. “I also want to thank all the employees at the Sabener Strasse (training ground) for the great time we had together – unfortunately I can’t name everybody, but thanks for everybody, you helped me a great deal. “I hope you, dear fans, understand that I have chosen this path now. I think it’s a great challenge and I’m looking forward to it, although I will never forget you. “I will always hold you here [in my heart] and I hope we see each other again soon. Yours, Basti.” The 30-year-old midfielder added in a written statement: “The decision was very hard to make because you and FCB have and always will be an extremely important part of my life. “Nevertheless, I would like to again gain experience at a new club. “My destination is Manchester United. I hope you understand my decision. No one can take away the incredible journey we had together. #MiaSanMia.” Bastian Schweinsteiger has bid farewell to Bayern Munich fans in a statement and video posted to Twitter ahead of his move to Manchester United. The Germany captain is set to join the Premier League club upon the successful completion of a medical and said goodbye to the supporters who have followed him in Munich for the past 17 years. “Hi dear Bayern fans, and the South Stand in Munich,” Schweinsteiger said in a Twitter video. “I know that has been a lot of speculation about my future in recent weeks and months and I just wanted to thank you for the fantastic time we spent together. Press Association