MANCHESTER, England – Striker Romelu Lukaku netted a brace to lead Manchester United to a thrilling 3-2 win Saturday over visiting Southampton in Premier League action at Old Trafford.
The victory in that matchday-29 contest catapulted the Red Devils (58 points) into the fourth spot ahead of Arsenal (57 points), which earlier in the day was held to a 1-1 draw by host Tottenham Hotspur.
Southampton remains in the 17th spot with 27 points and, with only a two-point lead over Cardiff City, is still precariously close to the relegation zone.
The visiting side opened the scoring on young French defender Yan Valery’s remarkable long-range blast in the 26th minute, and that lead held up until half-time.
After the break, Brazilian playmaker Andreas Pereira drew United level with a right-footed blast that went past visiting goalie Angus Gunn and into the back of the net in minute 53.
Just six minutes later, Lukaku gave United the lead for the first time when he received a pass from Pereira and scored on a close-range right-footed shot.
Midfielder James Ward-Prowse, however, drew Southampton level with a stylish right-footed free-kick that traveled over the United wall and into the top-left corner of the goal in the 75th minute
United still had one more goal up their sleeve though – a strike in the 88th minute by Lukaku that gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men their 17th win of the season.
French midfielder Paul Pogba had a chance to increase Man United’s margin of victory, but his penalty try in the dying minutes was saved by Gunn.
In other Premier League action Saturday, Algerian star Riyad Mahrez scored league-leading Manchester City lone goal in a 1-0 away win over 12th-placed Bournemouth at Vitality Stadium.
Mahrez, who took the field in first-half stoppage time in place of Kevin De Bruyne, sent a right-footed shot from the right side of the box into the bottom-left corner of the goal in the 55th minute.
Teammate David Silva was credited with the assist.
With the win, Man City (71 points) provisionally climbed into first place ahead of Liverpool (69 points), who can move back atop the standings by defeating Everton on Sunday in the Merseyside derby.
Elsewhere in English soccer, Wolverhampton topped Cardiff City 2-0 at Molineux Stadium, Crystal Palace handed host Burnley a 3-1 defeat at Turf Moor stadium, while Brighton & Hove Albion eked out a 1-0 win over last-placed Huddersfield Town at Amex Stadium.
Wolverhampton’s win was a historic one for the West Midlands club, as the seventh-placed Wolves have now earned their highest-ever points tally in a Premier League season (43).