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Man U still can’t shake Newcastle hex

The Associated Press

Manchester United’s Anthony Martial high-steps over Newcastle’s Mohamed Diame during their English Premier League match at St. James’ Park in Newcastle on Sunday.

The Associated PressNEWCASTLE, England (AP) — Jose Mourinho tripped up again at St. James’ Park as his Manchester United team was surprisingly beaten 1-0 by Newcastle on Sunday for a second loss in its last three Premier League games.

Matt Ritchie’s 65th-minute goal — following a free kick awarded for a dive by United defender Chris Smalling — gave Newcastle a victory that lifted it out of the relegation zone.

It is now seven Premier League matches without a win at Newcastle’s ground for Mourinho, who lost three and drew three there across two stints in charge of Chelsea.

More importantly for the Portuguese coach, second-placed United wasted a chance to pull clear of its rivals for Champions League qualification, with Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea still in range. Manchester City, which beat Leicester 5-1 on Saturday, holds a 16-point lead with 11 games left.

Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka had a Premier League debut to remember, saving brilliantly in the first half from Anthony Martial, in the final seconds from Michael Carrick, and looking assured as United piled on the pressure in the second half.

Alexis Sanchez delayed his shot in front of an open goal and saw his effort blocked, while Martial also had two efforts blocked near the goal line by Dwight Gayle.

“They fought like animals,” Mourinho said.

“They gave their lives to keep a clean sheet,” he added. “It was not only them, but the gods in football.”

Newcastle had barely troubled United — except for an early long-range shot by the impressive Jonjo Shelvey that was tipped aside by goalkeeper David De Gea — until the goal.

Smalling lost possession and then dived, thinking Shelvey was about to challenge him. The defender was given a yellow card and, from the resulting free kick, Shelvey’s cross was nodded down, Gayle deftly flicked the ball to the incoming Ritchie, who stroked a left-footed finish into the corner for his first goal of the season off his 44th shot.

“For whatever reason we weren’t good enough,” United defender Phil Jones said. “Ultimately, we have conceded a sloppy goal. The lads are devastated in the dressing room.”

Worse was to follow for Mourinho, with Liverpool winning 2-0 at Southampton to trim the gap to second-placed United to two points with 11 games left.

Mohamed Salah was again the star turn, setting up strike partner Roberto Firmino before scoring himself to make it 22 goals in his debut season for Liverpool. One goal behind Tottenham’s Harry Kane, Salah could yet head to his first World Cup with Egypt as the Premier League’s top scorer.

Barca held by Getafe

MADRID (AP) — Barcelona has hit a bit of a slump, and Atletico Madrid is edging back into the title race.

Barcelona stumbled for the second consecutive weekend in the Spanish league on Sunday, being held 0-0 by Getafe and seeing Atletico move within seven points of the lead.

Atletico cut into Barcelona’s lead by defeating bottom side Malaga 1-0 on Saturday, extending its winning streak to three matches.

Diego Simeone’s team hasn’t been this close to the lead since last year, when the gap was at six points in the 16th round. Barcelona had an 11-point lead two rounds ago.

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