Shane Long breaks Premier League record, Gordon D’Arcy on Leinster v Saracens

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

Shane Long scored the fastest goal in Premier League history for Southampton at Watford. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

Shane Long scored the fastest goal in Premier League history for Southampton at Watford. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

Shane Long scored the fastest goal in Premier League history last night, with the Republic of Ireland striker needing just 7.69 seconds to break the deadlock for Southampton in their clash with Watford. However, despite Long’s early intervention, his side were denied a crucial three points in their bid for survival by Andre Gray’s 90th minute equaliser at Vicarage Road. There was also a late goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where Christian Eriksen’s wicked late strike broke Brighton hearts and gave Spurs a crucial 1-0 win as they look to secure a place in the top four. Tonight all eyes will be on Old Trafford, as 20-times champions Manchester United take on bitter rivals City as they look to bounce back from last Sunday’s galling and gutless 4-0 defeat to Everton. Elsewhere, Arsenal travel to play Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux.

The battle for the Heineken Champions Cup throne is nearly over, as the continent’s two finest sides - Leinster and Saracens - prepare for the battle of all battles at Newcastle’s St James’ Park. And in his column this morning Gordon D’Arcy has looked ahead to the mouth-watering European showpiece, he writes: “The season has been building to this moment. These past few years have brought us here. Saracens or Leinster to rule the decade? This really feels likes a game to decide the best team in a generation.” And as well as bringing together the two best teams, the final also sees the northern hemisphere’s two best outhalves renew their rivalry: “The differences between Sexton and Farrell are minimal. Farrell is a stronger man. Sexton likes to go for it more often. If he sees an opportunity he won’t hesitate. This can prove crucial in a tight game, especially when your team is on the back foot.”

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