|1||Van der Sar|
United moved seven points clear at the Barclays Premier League summit but will feel aggrieved not to have put the other title-race contenders under maximum pressure after a dramatic end to this testing clash with Newcastle.
It's all about fine margins and when Javier Hernandez was felled by former Reds right-back Danny Simpson inside the box in injury time, virtually everybody in St James' Park felt a penalty had been given. Instead, referee Lee Probert cautioned Chicharito for diving, much to the visitors' frustration and bitter disappointment.
The best chances from open play earlier fell to strike partners Hernandez and Rooney - both denied by Newcastle's Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul - and to Ryan Giggs who swept Patrice Evra's cross agonisingly wide of an inviting target.
Further opportunities were scarce, however, and not even the introduction of substitute Michael Owen, to a chorus of boos from the home fans, could provide the golden touch needed to snatch victory.
Sir Alex made five changes from the FA Cup semi-final line-up including Chris Smalling deputising for Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs returning in midfield. Dimitar Berbatov travelled but was unwell and failed to make the bench as Wayne Rooney made his comeback from suspension to play in tandem with Javier Hernandez in attack.
The Reds started like a team on a mission with Patrice Evra releasing Rooney down the left and his centre seemed certain to provide a second-minute opener for Hernandez, only for Krul, deputising for Steve Harper, to pull off a superb save from point-blank range. However, the home side then enjoyed a spell of possession after that early scare with Edwin van der Sar dealing comfortably with efforts from Shola Ameobi and