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Manchester United 3-2 Newcastle: Red Devils move level with Magpies in Premier League

Manchester United put on a show in their final Premier League home match of the season against Newcastle.

Old Trafford

Manchester United beat Newcastle 3-2 in a thriller at Old Trafford to keep their European hopes alive.

The hosts went ahead courtesy of Kobbie Mainoo’s delicate finish after finding space and time in the box, but the Magpies hit back early on in the second half through Anthony Gordon.

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Amad Diallo restored United’s lead soon after, smashing an effort home after Newcastle failed to clear a corner.

Rasmus Hojlund got his goal after coming off the bench.

The Danish striker latched on to a ball from Bruno Fernandes and hit a tidy finish into the back of the net to put his side into the driving seat.

Lewis Hall grabbed one back for the visitors with a great effort in added time, but it was not enough for Eddie Howe’s men and they head back to Tyneside empty-handed.

How things unfolded

It was a lively start to the game, with both teams charging from end to end in search of an early goal.

A brilliant late tackle from Sofyan Amrabat in the box denied the visitors but Newcastle continued to advance in the opening stages and looked livelier in the final third.

However, the best chance of the first 15 minutes came for the hosts.

Diallo found space on the right-hand side, cutting in and curling an effort towards the far corner, but Martin Dubravka was equal to it and pushed it out and eventually away from danger.

In another brilliant move, United hit on the counter-attack with Alejandro Garnacho running onto a return ball from captain Fernandes but was denied by Dubravka at the near post.

From the resulting corner, Diallo took one on the volley but it was well off target.

It would not matter as United found the breakthrough minutes later.

Mainoo wandered into the box and was in plenty of space as Fernandes flicked on Diallo’s ball. The midfielder had time to pick his spot and did so with precision.

There was almost an instant response from Newcastle who had an effort cleared off the line.

Dan Burn’s header looked goalbound but Casemiro was there to avert the danger in the nick of time.

Newcastle came out on the hunt in the second half and struck just a few minutes in.

Andre Onana sent a goal kick up the pitch but it was sent straight back towards the home goal.

Jacob Murphy then swung in a teasing cross which Gordon met, levelling the match.

But the equaliser was short-lived and no sooner were they level than the Magpies found themselves behind again.

Fernandes delivered a dangerous corner that was headed out as far as Diallo, who rifled a shot in from just outside the box, restoring United’s lead.

Onana made sure the lead was kept intact with a fine save from Sean Longstaff.

The goalkeeper got up to tip his header onto the crossbar, but the visitors were again knocking on the door.

Eddie Howe could urge his players to knock all they liked, but they would find themselves 3-1 down before long.

Substitute Hojlund did well to drive past a few black-and-white defenders and score with his weak foot, leaving Dubravka outstretched but hopeless as his shit settled in the far corner.

The Old Trafford crowd did lose its voice momentarily in added time when Hall grabbed one back for the visitors.

Casemiro headed a corner out as far as the defender, who curled his effort past Onana from 20 yards.

United did what they needed to in the end and held on for the victory, but it was a great game for the neutral.

What it means

The Red Devils move level with Newcastle on 57 points, but their hopes of qualifying for the Europa League are all but dead with Chelsea’s win at Brighton.

Tottenham are out of reach in fifth and it would take a Blues loss and a monumental swing in goal difference to overtake their rivals.

Instead, they must battle with Newcastle for the final European place.

The Magpies have a much better goal difference but if they lose or draw to Brentford on the final day, a United win will secure their place in the Europa Conference League.

It may not be the glamorous competition fans were hoping for at the start of the season, but it would likely present them with a great opportunity to win a trophy next season.

Picture of Mitch Fretton

Mitch Fretton

Mitch is a freelance sports journalist with experience working for LiveScore, GOAL and Colchester United. He has experience working from both his desk at home and in the press box at games covering the Champions League and international football.

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