Pogba wins it for United; Dave Hannigan recalls first taste of emigrant life

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba celebrates scoring his team’s second goal with Bruno Fernandes during the  Premier League win over Fulham at Craven Cottage. Photo: Peter Cziborra/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba celebrates scoring his team’s second goal with Bruno Fernandes during the Premier League win over Fulham at Craven Cottage. Photo: Peter Cziborra/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

After Leicester had beaten Chelsea on Tuesday and Manchester City saw off Aston Villa in the early match last night the pressure was on Manchester United when they met Fulham at Craven Cottage but, thanks to Paul Pogba, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side reclaimed their place at the top of the Premier League. After going behind early to a strike from Ademola Lookman, United responded through Edinson Cavani and then Pogba struck a pearler from 25 yards to seal the three points with the manager full of praise for his French midfielder afterwards. Up in Scotland the woes of Celtic continue after they limped to a draw against Livingston with Scott Brown seeing red shortly after coming on from the bench. However, manager Neil Lennnon says he will not walk away from the job. Meanwhile, in Spain, there was a shock for the ages as semi-professional side Alcoyano knocked the mighty Real Madrid out of the Copa del Rey in extra-time despite being down to 10 men.

Moving to rugby and John O’Sullivan writes in his stats column this morning that Gavin Coombes and Rhys Ruddock are ticking all of the boxes for inclusion in the Ireland squad. “In a quirk of fate they also share several similarities statistically in examining the season to date, possessing overlapping qualities,” he writes. With the Six Nations approaching, competition for spots is heating up and, with Tadhg Furlong out since last year’s competition, Ireland have leaned heavily on Andrew Porter who has responded to the call. This weekend he will be part of the Munster side to take on Leinster in a rivalry he feels is as strong as ever. Meanwhile, Garry Ringrose and Béibhinn Parsons were named Rugby Writers Players of the Year yesterday.

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