Manchester United moved into the League Cup fourth round with a 3-0 win at Luton, while West Ham boss David Moyes and two of his players contracted the coronavirus ahead of their 5-1 victory against Hull as the pandemic caused chaos on Tuesday (Sept 22).
Moyes, Josh Cullen and Issa Diop all left the London Stadium after learning of the tests before kick-off and will self-isolate, with the trio said to be asymptomatic.
West Ham were not the only Premier League club affected by the virus as Tottenham’s tie at Leyton Orient was postponed after their fourth tier opponents suffered a Covid-19 outbreak.
The news of the virus striking at football’s heart came after British Prime Minster Boris Johnson dealt a major blow to the sport’s financial future on Tuesday.
Johnson said fans would not be allowed back into stadiums in October as originally planned due to a spike in virus cases.
He suggested the measures introduced on Tuesday would remain in place for “perhaps six months”, leaving teams facing the prospect of playing most of the season behind closed doors.
At Kenilworth Road, United bounced back from a dismal 3-1 home defeat against Crystal Palace in their Premier League opener on Saturday.
In United’s first meeting with Championship side Luton since 1992, boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made 10 changes, giving full debuts to goalkeeper Dean Henderson and close-season signing Donny Van De Beek.
United went ahead in the 44th minute when George Moncur fouled Brandon Williams and Juan Mata dispatched the penalty.
Henderson is hoping to replace the error-prone David De Gea after an impressive loan at Sheffield United last season.
He preserved United’s advantage with his only save of the match in the final minutes, keeping out Tom Lockyer’s header at the far post.
Marcus Rashford came off the bench to net in the 88th minute before fellow substitute Mason Greenwood’s stoppage-time goal put a flattering gloss on the scoreline.
United will travel to Brighton or Preston in the fourth round.
‘BAD FOR FOOTBALL’
West Ham’s match went ahead as planned despite the virus tests, with assistant manager Alan Irvine taking charge of the Hammers.
Sebastien Haller and Andriy Yarmolenko both struck twice for the east Londoners after Robert Snodgrass opened the scoring.
West Ham will play Fleetwood or Everton in the last 16.
Tottenham’s clash with Orient has yet to be rearranged amid reports Jose Mourinho’s men could be given a bye into the last 16, where they would face Chelsea or Barnsley.
Orient had revealed the positive cases on Monday after Tottenham paid for their opponents’ testing, but the match was not called off until two hours before kick-off.
“If I was doing this again I would not do the testing – this is an incentive not to test and that is bad for football and bad for health and safety,” Orient chairman Nigel Travis told the BBC.
In the midst of a hectic spell of five games in 10 days, Tottenham might not be disappointed to get a night off before they travel to Macedonia for their Europa League third qualifying round tie against Shkendija on Thursday.
West Bromwich Albion crashed out against second tier Brentford, losing 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns.
Albion pipped Brentford to promotion from the Championship last season, but they became the Bees’ second top-flight victims this season after Thomas Frank’s men won at Southampton in the second round.
Hal Robson-Kanu scored two penalties in normal time for Albion, only for Emiliano Marcondes and Marcus Forss, with a spot-kick of his own, to equalise for Brentford.
Grady Diangana was the only Albion player to miss in the shoot-out and Christian Norgaard netted Brentford’s winner to earn a tie against Fulham or Sheffield Wednesday.
Newport reached the competition’s last 16 for the first time in their history as the fourth tier side beat Championship club Watford 3-1.