LONDON: The opening day of the 2012-13 Premier League season was a triumph for new managers. Michael Laudrup saw his Swansea win 5-0 away to Queens Park Rangers but even more satisfied perhaps was Steve Clarke whose West Bromwich beat Liverpool 3-0. Clarke was sacked at the end of last season as assistant at . . . Liverpool. The victory margin might have been greater but Shane Long missed a penalty.
The Baggies took the lead late in the first half when Zoltan Gera drilled a shot past Pepe Reina after Luis Suarez had missed two fine chances to give Liverpool the advantage.
It could have been 2-0 soon after the break when Liverpool defender Daniel Agger was sent off for bringing down Long but the striker missed the penalty. He atoned quickly atoned when he was tripped by Martin Skrtel to gain another penalty with Peter Odemwingie, time, taking the kick and firing into the bottom left corner. Substitute Romelu Lukaku sealed the win in the 78th minute with a close-range header.
That completed Liverpool’s worst opening day for 75 years.
Swansea midfielder Michu scored a goal in each half on his Barclays Premier League debut as the Swans thumped QPR 5-0 at Loftus Road. The Spaniard scored this season’s first goal in the Premier League when his shot crept past surprised Robert Green in the eighth minute before he doubled his tally after the break thanks to Wayne Routledge’s inch-perfect ball from the left which he fired into the net.
Nathan Dyer fired the third, again from a Routledge assist, before he beat the offside trap to score Swansea’s fourth, with Scott Sinclair’s strike rounding off new manager Michael Laudrup’s perfect start to the season.
Fulham thrashed Norwich by the same scoreline at Craven Cottage on two goals from new signing Mladen Petric. Republic of Ireland international Damien Duff opened the scoring when he latched on to the end of John Arne Riise’s diagonal long ball from the left in the 25th minute before Petric headed the home side’s second with five minutes remaining in the first half. The striker then added his second before Alex Kacaniklic’s goal and Steve Sidwell’s 87th-minute penalty wrapped up the win.
Hatem Ben Arfa stroked home a late winner from the penalty spot as Alan Pardew’s Newcastle rode their luck to get their new season off to a flying start with a 2-1 victory over Tottenham.
The Frenchman sent Brad Friedel the wrong way in the 80th minute having been hauled down by Rafael van der Vaart, restoring the Magpies’ slender advantage after Spurs had pulled back to level four minutes earlier.
A low-key encounter had sprung into life in the 55th minute when Demba Ba fired his first goal since February to put the home side ahead before Jermain Defoe prodded a 76th minute equaliser at the second attempt.
The late drama proved too much for Pardew, who was sent to the stands by referee Martin Atkinson for a furious response to a touchline incident shortly before Andre Villas-Boas’ men had snatched their leveller.
Stoke drew with Premier League new-boys Reading 1-1 at the Madejski Stadium after they gave away a penalty and were reduced to 10 men in the dying minutes.
Michael Kightly fired Tony Pulis’ side into the lead from close range, with the ball slipping through goalkeeper Adam Federici’s fingertips, but the Royals salvaged a point when Adam Le Fondre equalised from the spot as Dean Whitehead was sent off for his second bookable offence.
Elsewhere, Kevin Nolan’s strike gave promoted West Ham a 1-0 win over Aston Villa in their season-opening game at Upton Park. Nolan scored from close range in the 40th minute from Ricardo Vaz Te’s assist to edge the Premier League new boys ahead before they had a penalty shout turned down after the break.
Arsenal dominated Sunderland in north London in their first game after the sale of Robin van Persie to Manchester United but were unable to break through. New signing Olivier Giroud missed a golden chance t mark his debut after his summer arrival from Montpellier with a goal and it ended 0-0.
Later Arsenal confirmed agreeing terms with Barcelona for the sale of midfielder Alex Song.
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