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FULL-TIME: Good way to go into the international break for Man United. Newcastle will feel they could have had something from the game, but the Red Devils held firm and after that lovely Cleverley goal, there was no way back. As it stands, Man Utd are second in the table, still four points behind leaders Chelsea.
80 minutes: Paul Scholes comes on for Wayne Rooney. Rooney’s had a good game and a couple of shies at goal. 10 minutes to go and that’s ample time for RVP to get on the score-sheet.
GOAL!! 72 minutes: What a goal! What a goal!! Rooney plays it to Tom Cleverley on the left-hand side of the box, he takes a touch and curls one in to the top right corner of the goal. That has to be special.
70 minutes: To be true, United have been poor. If they win, it will be a match won on set-pieces and that is not the way Ferguson will have it. Three points is still three points, but they need to improve in finding the final ball. Newcastle are still likely to get something from this.
62 minutes: Rooney’s been put through on goal but it’s on his left foot and beaten away by Harper. Apart from that horrendous moment earlier on, Harper’s played pretty okay.
57 minutes: The match has gone into a bit of a lull. Valencia has been brought on to brighten up Man Utd’s attacks… most of which are killed away in the attacking third.
50 minutes: Cisse hits the post after some confusion in the box. United’s defence were run ragged with that move and it almost counts for the Magpies.
HALF-TIME: Newcastle go in the more confident side at half-time… confident that they can get something from this game if they keep pushing the Man Utd back-four. But for all their dominance in the last 20 minutes, they have nothing to show. United still look dangerous on the break.
40 minutes: Rooney threads the perfect pass to Welbeck, but he’s forced wide before he can manage to put the ball in the danger area. Newcastle have a couple of runs forward… one of them resulting in a Cabaye shot, but it’s over.
32 minutes: Yellow, yellow, yellow… it’s raining yellow cards at the Sports Direct Arena. Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, RVP and Tiote are all cautioned. It’s getting hot in there.
25 minutes: Newcastle are slowly getting into the game. They win a corner and put it low in the path of Demba Ba, whose shot is off target. Evans has been taken off for some treatment. Another centre-back out for them?
20 minutes: Low fizzing shot from Gutierrez is just wide of the post. De Gea saw that one late, but at least the home team have got their first meaningful attack.
GOAL!! 15 minutes: Almost similar. Corner conceded by Harper as he saves Rooney’s freekick. Rooney then takes the corner and Patrice Evra’s headed it in. 2-0 to Man United.
13 minutes: Mad football at the Sports Direct Arena. First Rafael gets forward and sends a ball right across the face of goal. Nothing comes off that one but Welbeck should have done better moments later. Harper carries the ball forward, out of the ‘D’, Welbeck wins the ball and has dragged it wide of the empty goal.
This is probably the first and last time I’ll ever say this: That Jonny Evans goal was Ronaldo-esque.
— Noz (@BeardedGenius) अक्टूबर 7, 2012
GOAL!! 8 minutes: Carrick pings a ball into Van Persie‘s path but his knock-back is blocked by Harper. RVP puts in the resulting corner and Jonny Evans heads it in. 1-0 to Man Utd.
5 minutes: First attacking move comes from Man United. Cleverley plays a ball to the right and it comes to Evans whose cheeky back-heel in the path of Welbeck is wasted by the young striker.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew quoted on the BBC: “Van Persie’s confidence levels set him apart at the moment. He is one of those players who actually believes he’s the best, and that’s dangerous. Usually even when things are not going well and they are missing chances, they still think they are going to score. Demba is a little bit like that.”
Howard Webb, yes, Howard Webb is the referee today. So the anti-United jokes have already begun on Twitter.
@firstpostsports I expect Utd to be awarded a goal instead of a penalty today, given their poor penalty conversion rate.
— The Hellrider (@don_juan24) अक्टूबर 7, 2012
Newcastle United: Harper, Santon, Perch, Williamson, Ferguson, Ben Arfa, Tiote, Cabaye, Gutierrez, Cisse, Ba.
Subs: Alnwick, Simpson, Anita, Bigirimana, Obertan, Shola Ameobi, Sammy Ameobi.
Manchester United: De Gea, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Cleverley, Carrick, Welbeck, Rooney, Kagawa, van Persie.
Subs: Lindegaard, Valencia, Anderson, Giggs, Hernandez, Scholes, Wootton.