Manchester United 3 Newcastle United 2

Wednesday 15 May 2024 22:00

Manchester United battled to a 3-2 victory against Newcastle United in the Premier League on Wednesday night, claiming all three points in our final home game of the 2023/24 season.

It was the final time Erik ten Hag's team will turn out at Old Trafford this term - with the Women's side set to face Chelsea here on Saturday - and the Reds ensured a positive conclusion to our home performances.

Academy graduate Kobbie Mainoo fired us ahead in the first half, gratefully receiving the assist from fellow youngster Amad, before coolly dispatching his finish, meaning we headed to the interval in front.

Newcastle responded minutes after the break through Anthony Gordon, but Amad was instrumental once more, this time taking the shot on himself and thundering the strike beyond Martin Dubravka between the Magpies' sticks.

A fine goal from Rasmus Hojlund, just moments after he entered the field of play, looked to seal the deal, but there was a late scare when Lewis Hall hit a stoppage-time long-ranger. In the end, however, it mattered little, as the Reds saw the game out and claimed all three points.

Casemiro came to the rescue on multiple occasions throughout the night.


With European places still in play for both sides, the visitors came out fighting but the Reds' defensive unit had the early answers. It looked like danger was on when Casemiro misplaced a pass in an advanced position and Gordon drove into the vacated space inside the first five minutes, but Sofyan Ambrabat rushed back and put in a perfectly timed tackle in the penalty area to prevent an early opener.

Five minutes later, Casemiro, still taking up his improvised centre-back position of late due to injuries elsewhere, nearly atoned for that minor early error in the most spectacular fashion, embodying his inner Alejandro Garnacho and almost catching former Red Dubravka off guard with a close-range overhead kick lifted marginally over the bar.

United were growing solidly into the game by the midpoint of the half, pressing the Magpies high up the pitch and working Dubravka through on-target efforts from Scott McTominay and Amad, but were unable to breach the Newcastle goal.

Regular striker Hojlund started this game from the bench, with Ten Hag citing prior to kick-off the need to keep the Denmark international fresh for the final two games of the season, so the line-leading duties were left to Bruno Fernandes from the off.

The Portugal international, who was himself only just returning from absence - the previous two fixtures being the first he has ever missed through injury in his entire club career - was instrumental in the opening goal. Amad rolled the ball into our captain's path from the right flank, but a smart dummy from Fernandes saw the ball go straight through to an isolated Mainoo in the box.

Given so much time in a dangerous area, Old Trafford stood still as Mainoo, played onside by Kieran Trippier, calmly picked his corner and placed his shot beyond the grasp of Dubravka just past the half-hour mark.

It was the Magpies' time to try to fashion a response and they almost did so just moments later, saved only by the heroic last-ditch sliding challenge of Casemiro, stealing the ball away from Gordon just yards out from goal, preventing a certain quickfire equaliser. Despite appeals for a penalty with Amrabat also challenging Gordon, these were dismissed.

The pressure was cranking up and it was the Brazilian Casemiro on call once more, just seconds after his first intervention, this time popping up in exactly the right place, at exactly the right time, to head the ball out of the goalmouth and back into play. In under a minute, our no.18 had single-handedly kept the Reds in front and likely left Newcastle kicking themselves as they headed back into the dressing rooms a goal down.

Academy graduate Kobbie Mainoo gives Ten Hag's side the lead.


Having received Eddie Howe's half-time message, the visitors came out fighting strong and this time made it pay. Jacob Murphy picked up the ball on the right flank, quickly sweeping a cross into the Reds' box, and Gordon was first on the scene to knock it past Onana.

The Reds looked to hit back as the hour-mark approached. Fernandes picked up the ball on the edge of the box, following a corner, and thought he'd found a gap to fire a rocket through the Newcastle defence. It was blocked, and so powerful was the shot that the rebound threw the Magpies forwards into a counter-attack.

Caught unaware, it was just Amrabat left as the final line of defence to fend off three on-rushing Magpies. As they reached the penalty area, the honours were handed to Alexander Isak, but the Morocco international miraculously managed to throw his body i nfront of the ball, getting enough contact to send it looping onto the top of the crossbar and out for a corner.

It would prove a vital block, as it gave the Reds the platform to bolt to the other end of the pitch and reply to that close encounter.

Having laid on an assist for the opener, Amad rocketed us back into the lead after the break.

Fernandes had another corner, and, this time, it was glanced away on the near post, but it was a contact that would prove deadly for the visitors as they hadn't clocked Amad lurking with intent beyond the far post. The ball fell to the young Ivory Coast international and he only had one thought in his mind: launching a rocket at goal.

That he did, restoring the Reds' lead less than 10 minutes after the equaliser.

Newcastle commenced battle once more to get themselves back into the game and Ten Hag sensed changes were needed to maintain the advantage.

On came Marcus Rashford, Lisandro Martinez and Hojlund, with our no.10 making his 400th appearance for the Reds, but it was his Danish colleague that would make an instant impact. Having been on the pitch for just over a minute, the striker received the ball from Fernandes before embarking on a run around the edge of the visitors' box past Dan Burn. He outmuscled the centre-back, before finding a tight angle to squeeze the ball home for our third.

It looked like it was just the icing on the cake of a productive night for Ten Hag's side, but it would prove to be far more important than originally thought when Hall fired a long-distance strike beyond Onana in stoppage time, the ball curling away from the keeper, to give the Magpies late hope of redemption.

Newcastle threw everything forward, but the Reds stayed strong and added three more points to our campaign for European football. It all comes down to the final day, with Newcastle ahead only on goal difference. Chelsea won 2-1 at Brighton & Hove Albion, our last opponents, and cannot be caught by the Reds due to their superior goal difference.

Rasmus Hojlund struck a superb third almost immediately off the bench.


United: Onana; Wan-Bissaka, Casemiro, Evans, Dalot; Mainoo (Rashford, 83), Amrabat, McTominay; Amad (Hojlund, 83), Fernandes (Eriksen, 89), Garnacho (Martinez, 83).

Substitutes not used: Bayindir, Kambwala, Collyer, Antony, Forson.

Bookings: Casemiro, Amad, Amrabat.

Goals: Mainoo 31, Amad 57, Hojlund 84.

Newcastle: Dubravka; Trippier (Schar, 62), Krafth, Burn, Hall; Longstaff (Barnes, 77), Guimaraes, Anderson (Joelinton, 62); J.Murphy (Almiron, 62), Isak, Gordon.

Substitutes not used: Pope, Dummett, A.Murphy, White, Ritchie.

Bookings: Anderson, Gordon, Schar.

Goals: Gordon 49, Hall 90+2.