Sep 24, 2016 at 12.30pm UK at ‚ÄčOld Trafford
Man UtdManchester United
LeicesterLeicester City
Smalling (22'), Mata (37'), Rashford (40'), Pogba (42')
FT(HT: 4-0)
Gray (60')
Huth (50'), Simpson (74')

Live Commentary: Manchester United 4-1 Leicester City - as it happened

Paul Pogba scores during the game between Manchester United and Leicester City on September 24, 2016
© SilverHub
Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of Manchester United's 4-1 win over Leicester City, as the Red Devils returned to winning ways in style.

Manchester United made it back-to-back wins in league and cup by beating Leicester City 4-1 at the Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.

All four of the Red Devils' goals came in a pulsating 20-minute spell in the first half, as Chris Smalling, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba each netted.

Three of those attempts came via corner-kick routines, with Leicester completely collapsing for a second game in succession on their travels, but the Foxes did pull back a consolation through substitute Damarai Gray in the second half.

Relive how the 90 minutes of action unfolded with Sports Mole's live text coverage below.

11.30amHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Premier League meeting between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford. The Red Devils may have picked up victory over Northampton Town in midweek to end their barren losing run, but defeat to the champions this afternoon will make it three in a row in the top flight for just the second time ever in Jose Mourinho's managerial career.

11.32amChampions Leicester have not made the brightest of starts to their title defence, either, having lost both games on their travels so far this season. It is far too early for Claudio Ranieri to start panicking just yet, though, particularly after seeing his side start so brightly in the Champions League earlier this month. Defeat today could see them fall 11 points off leaders Manchester City - surely already too big a margin to make up if the early weeks are anything to go by.

11.34amTEAM NEWS!

MANCHESTER UNITED XI: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Bailly, Blind, Pogba, Herrera, Rashford, Mata, Lingard, Ibrahimovic

LEICESTER CITY XI: Zieler, Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Mahrez, Drinkwater, Amartey, Albrighton, Slimani, Vardy

11.36amThe big team news this afternoon is that Juan Mata makes his 150th Premier Leagu -- only kidding. Wayne Rooney has been dropped to the bench for the home side after a poor run of form to kick off the season. The skipper was given a chance to shine in a striking role in midweek, his position of old, but he failed to really do much and his reward is a place on the bench for the visit of the champions.

11.38amNo mention of Rooney's absence via the official United channels, as they look to gloss over what is a huge decision by Mourinho. The likes of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal always kept faith with the club captain, but no such luck with Mourinho now at the helm. It is eight changes in all from the 3-1 win over Northampton, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic among those to be brought back into the fold, along with Paul Pogba and Juan Mata in midfield.

11.40amThe inclusion of Ander Herrera and Mata, the latter presumably in the number 10 position, means that Michael Carrick is overlooked in the Premier League yet again - still just the one start in all competitions for his this term. Anthony Martial is another to miss out due to injury, which is not thought to be linked to the concussion suffered last weekend, while the versatile Daley Blind fills in for Luke Shaw at full-back.

11.42amIn terms of the visitors, Ranieri has gone with an unchanged starting lineup from last weekend. That means Islam Slimani and Jamie Vardy will again link up in attack, with the former scoring a brace on his league debut last time out to make it 22 goals in 23 appearances this calendar year. Vardy alongside him has scored three in four against today's opponents, meanwhile, but there will be no place in the starting lineup for the injured Nampalys Mendy.

11.44amKasper Schmeichel was almost certain to sit this one out due to a muscle strain, having overcome the concussion that had previously ruled him out of action. Marcin Wasilewski is the other absentee from the squad, as he is forced to watch from the stands after picking up a costly red in that frenetic clash with Chelsea in the League Cup four days ago. Former United product Danny Simpson and Christian Fuchs therefore retain their full-back berths.


MANCHESTER UNITED SUBS: Romero, Fosu-Mensah, Rojo, Carrick, Fellaini, Young, Rooney

LEICESTER CITY SUBS: Hernandez, King, Hamer, Schlupp, Okazaki, Gray, Ulloa

11.48amRooney will no doubt feel aggrieved to have finally been omitted from the side after failing to impress in a variety of positions this term, most recently up top in the cup victory at Sixfields. There is an argument to be had that Carrick has harshly been overlooked from that recent outing, as he was arguably United's best performer on the night and capped his performance with a stunning goal to open the scoring in a tricky away tie.

11.50amRanieri has stuck with the same XI from last time out, meaning only a place on the bench from strike duo Leonardo Ulloa and Shinji Okazaki. Jeffrey Schlupp and Demarai Gray also provide some attacking options from the bench should they be required, while Andy King brings with him years of midfield experience. Ben Hamer is the sub keeper for Leicester this afternoon, incidentally, with Schmeichel failing to make the squad as a result of that muscle strain.

11.52amJose Mourinho makes eight changes in all from the EFL Cup win over Northampton Town, with the headline news being the omission of skipper Wayne Rooney for the first time this season. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is among those to come back into the fold in what is likely to be a 4-2-3-1 formation once again, aiming to make it seven goals in seven home games for both Manchester United and former club Paris Saint-Germain.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic FINALLY in a Manchester United shirt on August 27, 2016© SilverHub

11.54amSo a strange start to life at United for Mourinho, who kicked off his Old Trafford tenure in a perfect manner with four wins from four - including the Community Shield win over today's opponents Leicester - before following that up with three defeats on the spin. The campaign is at a point where it could derail before it has truly got going, with rivals Manchester City already six points clear and looking as though they will drop minimal points between now and next May.

11.56amMourinho has already had to defend himself from numerous critics, who he branded as 'Einsteins' this week. The Portuguese made a fair point, in truth, claiming that the past 16 years of his own career, and a century of United's own history, had essentially been wiped clear in the space of a week. On the flipside, Mourinho is at arguably the biggest club in world football in terms of attention, and therefore slip-ups like we witnessed last week will clearly lead to mass scrutiny from the outside.

11.58amUnited did recover somewhat with a 3-1 win at Northampton in midweek, albeit a victory that was in the balance for some time as the Red Devils were pegged back and failed to truly get going until the arrival of Ibrahimovic and Rashford in the second half. The two-goal margin of triumph was well deserved in the end, though, and Mourinho will now be hoping that this early-season blip is behind him before any more damage is done. Victory today and things are rosy once again; defeat and even more questions are sure to be asked.

12.00pmDID YOU KNOW? Mourinho, as touched upon a little earlier, has only once before lost three league games in a row. It is worth pointing out that it was just last season when that previous dire run of form took place, as his Chelsea side completely collapsed and ended up in 10th place. The Portuguese has lost 12 of his last 23 games in the Premier League, meanwhile, having previously gone 110 games before hitting that 12-loss figure.

12.02pmThis week does provide United with a chance to get things right heading into the international break, with games against Leicester City and Stoke to come, while also hosting minnows Luhansk in the Europa League. Three wins from three will be the target, particularly when taking into account that games against Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City await in quick succession in league and cup when the club season gets back underway.

12.04pmThe Red Devils have not lost two of their opening three home league games in a season since 1986-87, so that is another negative record that could be matched this afternoon. Many have asked just why United have struggled to really push on from such a bright start, but one stat particularly stands out: No side has covered less distance than Mourinho's men this term (526.6km), which could perhaps be put down to their disrupted pre-season campaign, or perhaps due to the manager's love of soaking up pressure and counter-attacking.

12.06pmEither way, this is sure to be a tough test for the Red Devils this afternoon as they welcome the defending top-flight champions. City have also started slowly, with defeats in both away games thus far, but three points today and all of a sudden they are right back in the mix. It is hard to work out just what quantifies as a good season for the Foxes, thought with the arrival of Islam Slimani recently they must be looking to retain their place in the top four at the very least.

12.08pmLeicester got off to the worst possible start when suffering defeat at relegation favourites Hull City on Humberside, while also recently shipping four at Anfield in a largely one-sided game. City did pick up wins over Swansea City and Burnley, however, while also taking a credible point against Arsenal at the King Power Stadium, only for their momentum to be halted when throwing away a two-goal lead to fall 4-2 to Chelsea in the EFL Cup in midweek.

12.10pmLeicester City head into this weekend's Premier League action sitting 11th in the table, with seven points from the first 15 on offer. Defeats to Hull and Liverpool on the road, as well as a home draw with Arsenal, has seen them slip off the pace at this early stage in the campaign. Defeat to today will likely see them fall 11 points adrift of leaders Manchester City, while at the same time equalling the amount of losses suffered throughout the entirety of their title-winning campaign.

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri kisses the Premier League trophy on May 8, 2016© Getty Images

12.12pmSupporters can be forgiven for perhaps having one eye on the upcoming European tie with Porto at the King Power Stadium - the first taste of Champions League football in the East Midlands. That comes fresh on the heels of a hugely impressive triumph away at Club Brugge recently, which has set the Foxes up for a memorable run in Europe's elite competition. Ranieri will be taking it one game at a time as ever, though, meaning United - and indeed three points - will be the only thing on his mind right now.

12.14pmLeicester have actually now gone four games without a win on their travels in the league. They last suffered three in a row in December 2014, which marked the start of their incredible turnaround in fortunes which would end with survival and then the title in quick succession. It is worth pointing out that Ranieri has not lost any of his four most recent games against opposite number Mourinho, winning two and drawing two, with the most recent encounter ending with the Portuguese being sacked as Chelsea boss following another defeat.

12.16pmPREVIOUS MEETINGS! Manchester United are unbeaten in seven home games against Leicester City in the Premier League; the most recent Foxes win here coming in January 1998 when Tony Cottee scored the winning goal. Three of the visitors' six Old Trafford wins arrived before the Second World War, while they have also won just one of the 16 most recent encounters overall - a 5-3 triumph at the King Power Stadium in September 2014.

12.18pmWith kickoff at Old Trafford now a little over 10 minutes away, lets us turn attention to some pre-match comments from both camps.

Jose Mourinho: "We had a bad week. I know that the world is full of Einsteins, I know that they tried to delete 16 years of my career, they tried to delete an unbelievable history of this football club and to focus on a bad week with three bad results."

Claudio Ranieri: "We are fearless. Why are we scared to go there? More than lose, what can we do there? I enjoy - 70,000 people is amazing, fantastic. I don't want to go when there is just you and me to play. When you go in this big stadium you want to show your best."

12.20pmMourinho making the point their about so-called 'experts' writing off the best part of 16 years of his career and an entire history of Man United's. There is no denying that he needs a victory this afternoon to truly get the critics off his back, though, with a win over League one outfit Northampton only going so far to showing that his side are back on track following this disappointing recent run of form.

12.22pmRanieri again using the word "fearless" to describe his group of players, meanwhile, claiming that he is here for a positive result much like the last time they visited towards the end of last season. The Foxes required victory in that game to seal the Premier League title but, having narrowly missed out on all three points, they were made to wait just a couple more days for Tottenham Hotspur to slip up away at Chelsea.

12.24pmPREDICTION! Kickoff is now fast approaching at Old Trafford, so it seems like a good time to offer a prediction for this opening Premier League fixture of the weekend. Often stats do not tell the whole story, but in this instance Leicester's disappointing run at this famous ground is pretty telling. It is also just the one win in 16 overall, albeit coming just a couple of seasons back, so I am going to back the home side to claim a 2-0 win to get their top-flight campaign back on track.

12.26pmBoth sets of player are now making their way down the tunnel area. Plenty of focus on Wayne Rooney, of course, who has finally been left out of the starting XI following a string of disappointing displays. United have taken the bizarre decision to give the players shirts sporting the names of the mascots alongside them this afternoon, which for my own sake I'm hoping they change before that first ball is kicked!

12.28pmIt has been a tough fortnight for Jose Mourinho, who has had to watch his side fall to three defeats in their last four games in all competitions. Another setback today will likely prove costly in the title run-in, but they head into this match - which is now just a minute or so away - as favourites despite Leicester's tag of champions.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho on August 19, 2016© SilverHub

1 minKICKOFF! Leicester City ended Mourinho's Chelsea reign not so long ago, but defeat to Manchester United today will unlikely prove as disastrous for the Portuguese. Three points a must for the hosts, though, as this intriguing contest gets underway.

3 minIbrahimovic already dropping deep into midfield, behind an advanced Pogba. Vital for the hosts to begin strongly this afternoon, but no real sign of that happening inside these first few minutes at the Theatre of Dreams.

5 minUnited dominating possession, as Valencia swings a ball in from the right which Ibrahimovic cannot quite get on the end of. Bailly then blasts over from 30 yards out to end what looked like being a promising attack for the Red Devils.

7 minNot sure if Ranieri will be happy with quite how deep his side are at the moment. Rashford is having to do with a place out on the left wing, but his attacking burst into the box gets supporters off their seat, only for an overhit touch to give Morgan the chance to clear away.

9 minMata sends in a peach of a cross from the right, having seen his initial corner cleared away, but Ibrahimovic hooks his volleyed attempt over the bar from a difficult angle. Real bright start from the Red Devils in these opening stages.

11 minSome more good play from United, as Pogba brings the ball forward and plays in Ibrahimovic. The ex-Sweden international was always looking to slip through Rashford, but his pass had just too much on it and Zieler was there to collect.

12 minA first real attack from Leicester of the afternoon, as Albrighton gets the ball to his feet inside the box. His cross is easily collected by De Gea, with Vardy well positioned to head home if his teammate had just kept his composure.

14 minMuch better from Leicester, as they again get forward and work a position where Mahrez is up against Blind. Only a corner on this occasion, which culminates in Huth blasting into a see of red shirts from around 30 yards out.

16 minWell the last five minutes or so of this game have been a complete reversal to what we witnessed in the opening 10 minutes. Leicester have been on top, getting in behind United's full-backs with far too much ease but just unable to pick out that killer final ball.

18 minLeicester have certainly worked their way into this game, winning the midfield battle at the moment but failing to get a shot away on goal, with Drinkwater and Huth both being thwarted. That has been the case at the other end of the field, too.

20 minUnited looking vulnerable every time their opponents get at them in the final third. Still no shots on target in the opening quarter of the contest at Old Trafford, though it has been a decent enough match for the neutral so far.


23 minBlind is given some space to attack down the left, which ends with United winning another corner. The cross is aimed at the back post, where captain for the day Chris Smalling heads down low to open the scoring from the first on-target attempt of the match. Rather poor from Leicester, as Huth was outjumped and Zieler was also well positioned.

25 minCHANCE! Leicester step things up after falling behind and win a contentious corner. From that Pogba clears and Ibrahimovic is on his way to lead a counter-attack. The Swede did well to slide the ball across for Rashford, who had just Zieler to beat. It was the worst finish of the youngster's career, though, ending nearer to the corner flag!

27 minCLOSE! That miss has not put Rashford off, as he has just attempted on overhead kick inside the box which was closer to the target this time but still not enough to test Zieler. There was better to come, though, as Pogba slips a fine ball over the top for Ibrahimovic, who swivelled inside the box and volleyed on the turn with a rocket then was inches over the bar.

29 minCity just need to see out this wave of United pressure, because the Red Devils are really knocking on the door at the moment. That Ibrahimovic strike would have been right up there had it found the net, but it was just too powerful in the end.

31 minSAVE! This has already been Pogba's best performance in a United shirt, in my opinion, as he takes on a shot from more than 30 yards out which looks destined for the top corner. Zieler got across well to turn it aside, however, meaning just a corner for the hosts.

33 minLeicester had a five-minute spell where they were really on top in this game, but either side - and particularly since the opening goal - it has been pretty much all United. Still just the one goal in it, however, with 10 minutes until half time.

35 minPlenty of probing from the hosts at the moment, but they have been unable to test Zieler since that Pogba drive a short while ago. City unable to wrestle back any sort of control on the game since falling behind to Smalling's header.


38 minUnited have a second goal of the contest, which is just about deserved on what we have seen over the past 15 minutes or so. Pogba's latest scooped pass into the box is flicked into the path of Mata by Lingard, and the Spaniard was able to powerfully blast the ball into the corner on the half-volley.


41 minLeicester have completely collapsed at Old Trafford, with United scoring a third prior to the interval. Less than two minutes after shipping a second, City conceded a corner which was taken short for Mata to charge into the box and blast across the face of goal. Rashford was on the line to score from a simple finish, extending his incredible run in the first team.


43 minWow! It's a fourth goal of the afternoon for United, with half time still a couple of minutes away! Pogba is the latest scorer - his first since rejoining the club from Juventus in the summer. Again it came via a corner, which the Frenchman flicked home after beating his man seven yards out.

45 minDamage limitation for the visitors now, having shipped four goals in the space of 20 first-half minutes. Vardy almost pulled one back after Mahrez cut the ball back, but he was outmuscled and the chance went begging.


1.19pmHalfway through this heavyweight tussle in the Premier League and, essentially, it is game over. Leicester City, the defending top-flight champions, have completely collapsed at Old Trafford to go into the break four goals down against Manchester United. That big decision to drop Wayne Rooney is proving an inspired one at this stage.

1.22pmThe first half actually got off to a slow start, with neither side attempting a shot on target in the opening quarter of the contest between these two heavyweight team. It was United, minus skipper Wayne Rooney, who drew first blood 21 minutes in when Chris Smalling outjumped Robert Huth and got the beating of stand-in keeper Ron-Robert Zieler to head home the opener.

1.25pmLeicester had enjoyed a decent spell of possession up until that key breakthrough goal, arguably getting the better of the midfield battle and creating some promising positions down either flank which they struggled to capitalise on. It was a different story the moment Smalling's goal hit the net, though, as a breathtaking 20-minute spell saw three more goals arrive. Marcus Rashford and Zlatan Ibrahimovic had both missed good chances to add a second, the latter coming close to scoring a Goal of the Season contender with his half-volley on the swivel, while Paul Pogba's 30-yard strike was turned aside by Zieler.

1.28pmUnited then stepped things up a level, scoring at the end of an 18-pass move when Pogba's scooped pass was flicked into the path of Juan Mata by Jesse Lingard for the Spaniard to blast into the corner. A short corner led to the third of the match, with Mata driving into the box and blasting across goal for Rashford to continue his impressive scoring run, before another well-worked corner led to Pogba glancing home his first for the Red Devils since returning to the club in the summer.

1.31pmA truly astonishing 20-minute spell in that first half has put United well on their way to all three points, then, while Leicester now have it all to do to avoid a real humiliation. Ranieri will surely make a change or two at the break, with plenty of attacking options to choose from, but he may look to shore up at the back instead through Hernandez.

MANCHESTER UNITED SUBS: Romero, Fosu-Mensah, Rojo, Carrick, Fellaini, Young, Rooney

LEICESTER CITY SUBS: Hernandez, King, Hamer, Schlupp, Okazaki, Gray, Ulloa

Jose Mourinho and Claudio Ranieri greet each other prior to the game between Manchester United and Leicester City on September 24, 2016© SilverHub

46 minRESTART! We are back under way at Old Trafford, where Ranieri has inevitably made some changes. Andy King and Damarai Gray are both on, with Vardy and Mahrez off as the Foxes now turn attention to the midweek tie with Porto in the Champions League.

48 minA mix-up between Morgan and Simpson early in the second half suggests that Leicester are still rattled by that United onslaught in the first half. A case of damage limitation now, with star men Vardy and Mahrez playing no further part in the game.

50 minYELLOW CARD! Not a great deal happening at the moment, with Leicester looking to keep things far tighter, but Huth is now walking a tightrope after picking up a yellow for a late challenge on Pogba in the middle of the park.

52 minLeicester need a couple of goals to make things interesting once more, yet that seems impossible to happen at this stage with Slimani cutting a lone figure up top. United instead the side probing away, as Ibrahimovic is just about beaten to a header six yards out by Huth.

54 minAn extremely rare attack for the visitors, as Slimani looks to get at United's backline. An awkward bounce nearly fell nicely for him, but De Gea was quickly out to collect the ball ahead of the former Sporting Lisbon striker.

56 minSo, so easy for United down the left-hand flank at the moment. Ibrahimovic drifts towards that side to pick up possession, sending in a pass for Mata at the second attempt which is well blocked side 10 yards from goal.

58 minA promising run from Gray ends with the winger being clattered into on the edge of the box, but referee Mike Dean claims that Bailly fairly won the ball back. Still awaiting for first on-target attempt of the second half.

60 minWe are now an hour into the match at Old Trafford - a time in the game where Mourinho must surely be thinking about making a change or two. No real rush to do so, but this is a good chance to give some players a run out in a more positive environment.


62 minWell this is likely to be a mere consolation, but what a goal it was from Damarai Gray. The half-time sub cut inside from the left and picked out the top corner in a superb manner, beating De Gea with ease to give Leicester the faintest of hopes.

64 minLEICESTER CITY SUB! Albrighton has been replaced by Jeffrey Schlupp with a little over 25 minutes still to play at Old Trafford. Ranieri looking to give Slimani a little more support in attack, with a second goal really making things interesting.

66 minIt might sound strange to say with a three-goal margin, but this is a crucial moment in the game for United. Leicester have been on top since Gray's goal, looking for a second to put the home players a little more on edge.

68 minSHOT! Lingard gets over the ball a little too much as he sends a shot over the bar from the edge of the box, before Ibrahimovic slotted one inches wide. Just about the hosts' best chance of the half to add to their tally. Mourinho must surely be thinking about a change or two at this point to freshen things up.

70 minSAVE! A good chance for King to pull back a second goal for his side, as he just holds his run to be picked out unmarked 12 yards from goal. Usually a clinical finisher, the Welshman sends his shot straight down the throat of De Gea.

72 minHard to be too critical of United after that incredible first-half display, but they have certainly let Leicester off the hook here. I'm surprised Mourinho has opted against bringing on Carrick alongside Pogba, or even Fellaini, just to freshen things up.

74 minGray loses out to Herrera, who can only blast the ball high over the bar. Rooney, Carrick and Young have just been sent to warm-up, with a little over 15 minutes of this match left to play. City have been unable to truly build on that Gray goal.

76 minYELLOW CARD! Not seen a great deal of Rashford in this second half, but he is given a ball to chase down which draws a foul from Danny Simpson. The former United product is shown the game's second yellow as a result.

78 minValencia gets the beating of his man on the right and flashes a cross into the box, which Ibrahimovic cannot quite turn home at the back post. He will be disappointed not to have prolonged his scoring run on home soil, which stands at six in six for United and PSG.

80 minSAVE! Gray has been very good since coming on halfway through this game, albeit with essentially nothing to lose. His latest attempt may well have been an overhit cross, but either way it forced De Gea to turn the ball over at full reach.

82 minMANCHESTER UNITED SUB! Michael Carrick, a little unlucky to be dropped today, is on for Lingard for the remainder of the match. Leicester now asking plenty of questions, coming close through Drinkwater, but time is now well and truly against them.

84 minMANCHESTER UNITED SUB! Wayne Rooney is introduced for the final six minutes, taking the place of Marcus Rashford. Far from vintage from United in this second half, although all they had to do after the restart was remain professional.

86 minMANCHESTER UNITED! Ashley Young is brought on for Juan Mata in the closing stages of the contest. Pogba has been announced as the sponsors' Man of the Match, which is just about justified for his part in the firs-half onslaught.

88 minIbrahimovic is still on the field after those three alterations, desperate to prolong his scoring run on home soil. Just no real momentum in this second half, though, with very few attempts on target at either end. City have done well on the balance of things this half.

90 minThree minutes of added time to come at Old Trafford, before Leicester are put out of their misery. It could have been so much worse for them had United not taken their foot off the gas, but credit to the Foxes for not completely rolling over in the second half.

90+2 minUnited just seeing the remainder of the game through, much like they have done throughout this second half really. Around 60 seconds left to play at Old Trafford, with Leicester unable to get the ball into the final third to cause some damage.


2.26pmMike Dean blows his full-time whistle to bring the game to a close at Old Trafford. The contest was essentially over at the midway point, with Manchester United finding themselves four goals ahead following a pulsating 20-minute spell in the first half. Four different scorers and, more importantly for Jose Mourinho, three points after two league defeats on the spin. For the Foxes, meanwhile, this is a third away loss in succession and already the title looks out of reach.

2.28pmThat concludes Sports Mole's text coverage of events from Old Trafford, but there is still plenty of live updates to come from elsewhere in the Premier League and La Liga. Reaction aplenty from the Theatre of Dreams is also still to come, so be sure to stick around for that. Enjoy!

Claudio Ranieri celebrates at the end of the Premier League game between Watford and Leicester City on March 5, 2016
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