Manchester United have secured a vital three points in the race to finish in the top four of the Premier League after beating Newcastle United 1-0 thanks to Ashley Young’s late winner.
Angel di Maria was presented with a great opportunity within the first minute of the match when Wayne Rooney slipped him in through on goal. Bizarrely, the Argentine elected to try a faint rather than shoot and the chance was lost.
It set the tone for an opening period which was controlled by Man United, with Newcastle occasionally breaking on the counter. It was an effective tactic for the Magpies and they were very unlucky not to get a penalty when Chris Smalling felled Emmanuel Riviere in the box.
At the other end, Ander Herrera’s effort flew wide following some good hold-up play from Rooney. The United captain then squandered an excellent chance to give his side the lead. Di Maria had fizzed a ball in from the right which Ashley Young touched on but, with the Newcastle defence statuesque, Rooney could only chip the ball wide.
The game settled down for a while after that, but a dramatic few minutes gave both sets of fans plenty of talking points. First of all, Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse appeared to spit at each other following an altercation before Marouane Fellaini and Riviere both wasted golden opportunities at each end of the pitch just before half time.
After the break, Newcastle really should have gone in front when an unmarked Ayoze Perez latched onto Fabricio Coloccini’s header from three yards out. Fortunately for United, David de Gea made himself big to deny the striker. De Gea’s save was impressive but Tim Krul more than matched him minutes later after denying Fellaini and Young with a terrific double save.
It was mystifying how there hadn’t been a goal in the match and this continued as Cisse wasted another massive chance for the hosts. This time, Ander Herrera was caught on the ball, leaving Cisse and Perez two-on-one against Evans. Perez squared for his striker partner and he only had De Gea to beat but somehow skewed wide.
Rooney had a header saved low by Krul but United struggled to find a way through. That was until Young finished into an empty net after Rooney forced the Newcastle keeper to scuff the ball into his path. It was a huge moment in United’s season.