Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 1
- Anthony Taylor
A brace from Cristiano Ronaldo and a further strikes from Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard meant Newcastle United fell to a 4-1 defeat at Manchester United on Saturday.
Portuguese forward Ronaldo, making his second debut for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, prodded home the opener in first half stoppage time.
But Steve Bruce’s men came out fighting after the break and levelled through wing-back Javier Manquillo’s first goal for the club – a well-taken finish in front of the travelling supporters.
But Ronaldo’s second of the day quickly put the hosts back in front, before Fernandes’ 25-yarder and substitute Lingard’s late curler put the result beyond doubt.
The visitors actually threatened first at Old Trafford, despite the hosts’ command of possession. Joelinton dragged an effort wide after a counter-attack and there were brief spells where United’s speed on the break, with Allan Saint-Maximin in particular, caused Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane a few problems.
But Solskjaer’s men, with the returning Ronaldo, asked the majority of the questions. Their new frontman showed glimpses of the threat he brings early on, skipping past Manquillo and firing into the sidenetting on one occasion.
After Varane glanced a Luke Shaw corner just wide, Matt Ritchie’s deflected low drive called David De Gea into action and, after a speculative Fernandes shot from near halfway drifted over, the Magpies spurned a great opening. It owed much to Joe Willock’s tenacity as he stole a loose ball from Fernandes after a wayward throw-in, but his quickly-taken shot was too high and wide.
The Red Devils continued to push, with Mason Greenwood turning an effort past the post, Jadon Sancho’s shot charged down and Maguire’s tame header saved by Woodman, but in the second minute of added time at the end of the first half, they made their breakthrough. Greenwood cut inside onto his left and when his low strike took a nick off Ciaran Clark and was parried by Woodman, Ronaldo pounced from close range.
Ten minutes into the second half, though, United clawed themselves back onto level terms. It was a rapid break from Bruce’s side with Miguel Almirón and Saint-Maximin combining before the Frenchman beat his compatriot Varane to the ball to release Manquillo, who confidently drilled home his first goal for the club on his first start of the Premier League season.
But United weren’t able to keep themselves on level terms for long. Five minutes later, a similarly fast breakaway from the hosts brought their second. Shaw’s run and through ball left Ronaldo with work to do, but his speed took him away from Isaac Hayden and his left-footed finish flashed through Woodman’s legs on its way in.
The Magpies responded, with Joelinton forcing a save from De Gea and substitute Jacob Murphy testing the Spaniard from range, but moments later Fernandes took aim from distance. His effort was swerving and fierce, leaving Woodman with little chance of keeping it out as it flew into the top left-hand corner.
In the 92nd inute Lingard, who had replaced Sancho, added further gloss to the scoreline, making it four with a neat shot which evaded Woodman – and leaving Newcastle still searching for their first win of the campaign.