Manchester United 3 Newcastle United 2
Manchester United came up with a famous Old Trafford comeback to snatch a thrilling 3-2 victory against Newcastle United, with Alexis Sanchez heading a 90th-minute winner.
The Reds had gone 2-0 behind in the opening 10 minutes, but a sensational second half saw Jose Mourinho's men get up off the canvas and hit three goals with Juan Mata and Anthony Martial levelling before Alexis’s effort in a heart-stopping finale.
It was a shocker of a start by United. Just when calm and solidity were paramount, the Reds' defence struggled to contain Newcastle and were soon 2-0 down. It was the first time in the 26-year history of the Premier League that United had been down by two goals so early at Old Trafford.
It began in the seventh minute when Mourinho’s one-time teenage buy for Chelsea, Kenedy, stunned the home crowd. The Brazilian is now on loan with the Tynesiders and he showed his class when put through to glide past last defender Ashley Young and drill in the opener with a clinical left-foot finish.
Old Trafford was shellshocked and, before anyone could recover their composure, Rafa Benitez’s side had carved a way through again easily. This time it was Yoshinori Muto who benefited as he turned United’s rearguard in the penalty area and again, like Kenedy before him, finished with confidence.
The Reds' support immediately responded to the body-blow with a loud chord of ‘United we love you', but it took a David De Gea save from Jonjo Shelvey to save further face. Jose had seen enough and decided action was needed to change the situation. He brought Juan Mata on for Eric Bailly in the 19th minute to enable the Spaniard to take up Marcus Rashford’s wide-right job and allow the Mancunian to move into the centre alongside Romelu Lukaku.
The switch almost paid off, three minutes later, when Rashford was only yards out but glanced a header from Lukaku’s cross wide to allow a brilliant opportunity to go begging. Newcastle were again on the prowl and looking to add further damage to United when, in the 34th minute, scorer Muto had a free header from six yards but De Gea again saved United with a block.
The manager made a second substitution at half-time, swapping McTominay for Marouane Fellaini. The change saw the Belgian move straight into midfield and Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba made up a back three with Chris Smalling.
Pogba still had attacking ideas and was high up the pitch to collect a pass that the Frenchman thrashed goalwards. It took a deflection but keeper Martin Dubravkawas able to get his hands behind the strike. However, the loose ball was a gift for Matic but he ballooned his effort into the Stretford End, even if the linesman appeared to be flagging.
At least the Reds were putting the Magpies under the cosh.
Pogba, again, was instrumental in United’s build up of momentum and sent an inviting cross over for Rashford in the 55th minute. But once again the striker’s connection wasn’t spot on and his header flashed wide.
Mourinho played the last Ace up his sleeve by bringing Alexis into the action. However, it was his first substitute who dragged United back into the match in the 70th minute when Mata curled in an expertly executed free-kick to set up a grandstand finish.
It lifted United and the crowd and Newcastle faced an immediate bombardment. Goalkeeper Dubravka was their hero twice in quick succession as the Reds laid siege to his goal. He kept out both Fellaini and Smalling.
The hosts' tails were up and the noise level was deafening. And there became an inevitability about the outcome with the stadium like a cauldron.
The decibels reached new ear-splitting heights when Martial equalised. The Frenchman played a wonderful one-two with Pogba, who cleverly played his part back-heeling into his fellow countryman’s path. It needed a good hit to beat Dubravka and Martial provided it.
Newcastle were taking all the time in the world trying to run down the clock if they wanted a point from the match as they knew that, in this mood, United were going to be hard to contain any longer.
Mourinho was certainly playing his part keeping the temperature up as he was in very animated mode in the technical area, chasing every ball that went out of play and bawling at his team.
It was all too much for the visitors and, once again, it was a sub who came up with the goods as Alexis scored his first goal of the season just as the clock reached 90 minutes.
The Chilean was in the Land of the Giants in the box as Young slung in a cross but the striker got his head on it to convert the winner as Old Trafford exploded.
United: De Gea; Young (c), Bailly (Mata 19), Smalling, Shaw; McTominay (McTominay 45), Matic, Pogba; Rashford (Alexis 66), Lukaku, Martial.
Subs not used: Romero, Lindelof, Fred, A. Pereira.
Newcastle: Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Manquillo, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy (Murphy 67), Perez (Joselu 88), Muto (Atsu 78)
Subs not used: Darlow, Clark, Schar, Hayden
Goals: United: Mata (70), Martial (76) Alexis (90). Newcastle: Kenedy (7), Muto (10)
Booked: United: Shaw, Pogba. Newcastle: Ritchie, Diame
Referee: Anthony Taylor
It is the international break for the next fortnight but United will be back in action in two weeks' time, on Saturday 20 October in the Premier League, when travelling to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea (KO 12.30 BST)