Three relegated teams get off to winning starts


Manchester City, Bradford and Coventry, the three clubs relegated two months ago from the Premier League, got off to winning starts Saturday as England’s first, second and third divisions opened play. In the most anticipated match, Man City under new manager Kevin Keegan, won 3-0 over Watford and its new manager Gianluca Vialli. Keegan, the former England manager who left the England job 10 months ago, got as winning start with goals from Shaun Goater (59th), Israeli international Eyal Berkovic (64th) and Stuart Pearce (87th). Man City and Watford are the early favorites to win the first division, partly because of the presence of Keegan and Vialli, the former Italian international and Chelsea manager. Bradford, with two goals on penalties from Ashley Ward, and others from Benito Carbone and Eoin Jess defeated Barnsley 4-0. Coventry, out of the Premier League for the first time in 34 years, won 2-0 at Stockport with goal from Lee Carsley and Lee Hughes. Hughes moved in a 5 million pound (US$7 million) transfer earlier this week from fellow first-division side West Brom. It was a high scoring day in the first division as Gillingham defeated visiting Preston 5-0 and just-promoted Millwall won 4-0 at home against Norwich. England’s Premier League begins play next weekend, although defending champions Manchester United and FA Cup champion Liverpool were to meet Sunday in the annual warm-up Charity Shield match in Cardiff, Wales. In other first-division games Saturday: Grimsby 1, Crewe 0; Nottingham Forest 1, Sheffield United 1; Rotherham 2, Crystal Palace 3; Walsall 2, West Brom 1; Wimbledon 3, Birmingham 1; Wolverhampton 2, Portsmouth 2.