Champions United stunned by promoted Burnley

Manchester United’s defence of the Premier League title suffered an early blow as the champions slumped to a shock 1-0 defeat at promoted Burnley on Wednesday.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s team were beaten for the first time this season as Robbie Blake scored the first half winner for Burnley, who were indebted to goalkeeper Brian Jensen for saving Michael Carrick’s second half penalty.

Burnley were playing their first home match as a top-flight club for 33 years and marked the occasion with a dynamic display that was too much for lacklustre United.

Ferguson made three changes to the team that beat Birmingham on Sunday with Michael Owen handed a first start after his close-season move from Newcastle.

But it was Burnley, promoted via the Championship play-offs last season, who seized the initiative in the 19th minute at Turf Moor when Blake seized on a half-cleared cross and lashed a ferocious volley past Ben Foster.

United had a chance to level when Blake hauled down Patrice Evra, but Brian Jensen, the giant Burnley keeper nicknamed “the beast” by fans, kept his side ahead by turning away Carrick’s penalty.

Ferguson sent on Dimitar Berbatov for Owen, who is still waiting for his first goal since January, a drought stretching over 12 hours of playing time, but United were unable to avoid their first defeat against the Clarets since 1968.

Liverpool gave the perfect response to Sunday’s defeat at Tottenham as Rafael Benitez’s team claimed a 4-0 victory over Stoke at Anfield.

Fernando Torres opened the scoring for the Reds early on and Glen Johnson’s first goal for Liverpool made it two before Dirk Kuyt and David Ngog struck late on.

Torres took just four minutes to put Liverpool ahead as he met Steven Gerrard’s cross with a fine finish.

Benitez’s team took complete control in the 45th minute when James Beattie cleared Kuyt’s header off the line and the ball fell for Johnson, who volleyed home from close-range.

Kuyt added the third in the 78th minute before Ngog’s stoppage time strike sealed the rout.

Tottenham maintained their impressive start to the campaign as England striker Jermain Defoe scored a hat-trick in a 5-1 win against Hull.

Harry Redknapp’s team caught the eye with victory over Liverpool on Sunday and they showed that was no flash in the pan by cruising to victory at the KC Stadium.

Defoe and Wilson Palacios gave them a two-goal lead before Stephen Hunt got one back, but Defoe completed his hat-trick either side of a goal from Robbie Keane.

Redknapp’s team took the lead in the 10th minute when Defoe displayed the predatory instincts that have so impressed England coach Fabio Capello.

The former West Ham star, who scored twice in England’s friendly against Holland last week, took Tom Huddlestone’s pass on the edge of the penalty area and worked space to drive home a fine finish.

Honduras midfielder Palacios increased Tottenham’s lead four minutes later when he finished Keane’s pass for his first goal in English football.

Hull winger Hunt, who also scored on his debut at Chelsea on Saturday, reduced the deficit when he curled in a long-range free-kick in the 25th minute.

But Defoe restored Tottenham’s two-goal advantage on the stroke of half-time when he collected Keane’s flick and blasted past Boaz Myhill.

Keane got on the scoresheet himself in the 78th minute to put the seal on Tottenham’s victory and Defoe’s treble arrived in the 90th minute.

Birmingham claimed their first win of the season as James McFadden’s stoppage time penalty sealed a 1-0 victory over Portsmouth at St Andrews.

Alex McLeish’s side, promoted as Championship runners-up last season, were awarded the spot-kick when Portsmouth goalkeeper David James collided with Sebastian Larsson.

On Tuesday, Chelsea maintained their 100% start under new boss Carlo Ancelotti as the Blues came from behind to beat Sunderland 3-1 at the Stadium of Light, while Wolverhampton won 1-0 at Wigan.—Sapa, AFP

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