LONDON: Manchester United crushed Newcastle United’s hopes of a claiming a first domestic trophy for nearly 70 years with a clinical 2-0 victory in the League Cup final at Wembley on Sunday (Feb 26).
A header by Casemiro followed by an own goal by Sven Botman late in the first half silenced the hordes of Newcastle fans who flocked to the capital full of optimism as Manchester United went on to lift the trophy for a sixth time with relative ease.
Much of the build-up was about Newcastle’s first appearance in a major final since 1999 and an uptick in their fortunes instigated by Eddie Howe since a 2021 Saudi Arabia-led takeover.
But Erik ten Hag’s resurgent United side showed them how far they still need to go as they claimed the club’s first trophy since winning the Europa League under Jose Mourinho in 2017 – their longest wait for silverware since 1983.
“It has been an amazing period, first trophy of the season but we want more it is not enough for this club, we want more and we need more because our standards demand more,” Bruno Fernandes, who was denied a third goal in stoppage time, said.
“For me it was about winning trophies and finally we did it. I am satisfied but I want more. I want much more.”
There was little between the sides in a scrappy first half but the English season’s first silverware was effectively decided in the space of six minutes towards halftime.
Newcastle were stunned when Brazilian Casemiro met a superb Luke Shaw free kick in the 33rd minute to head past Loris Karius, the goal allowed to stand after a VAR check for offside.
Six minutes later Newcastle were left totally deflated when the in-form Marcus Rashford was played in down the left and his shot deflected over a helpless Karius for what initially appeared to be his 17th goal since the World Cup.
However, it was credited to the unfortunate Botman.
Kicking towards their fans in the second half Newcastle roused themselves into action and pinned a leggy-looking United back at times but they rarely looked like scoring.
Newcastle’s fans, who had created a sea of black and white with give-away plastic flags at the stadium’s west side during the closing minutes, drifted away before the presentation.
The Tyneside club has now lost each of their last nine matches at Wembley, a run that began in the 1974 FA Cup final.
Instead the stage was left for United whose fans were in full voice as Bruno Fernandes raised the trophy which they hope will be the first of many under Dutchman Ten Hag whose first season goes from strength to strength after some difficult early days.
United, who beat Barcelona in midweek to reach the last-16 of the Europa League and are still in contention in the Premier League title race, were not at their best but managed the game expertly once they got their noses in front.
They had far more goal threat and Wout Weghorst fluffed a chance when he shot tamely at Karius, Newcastle’s third-choice who performed admirably in what was his first competitive match for any club since 2021.
Newcastle were full of energy early on with Allan Saint-Maximin dangerous whenever he got the ball.
But Newcastle’s lack of goals in recent months was evident as they huffed and puffed.
Joelinton headed one chance over and Dan Burn’s header whistled wide on the stroke of halftime but by that stage the writing was on the wall for a familiar tale of woe.
“No complaints with how we played, obviously the scoreline doesn’t say that, and that’s where football can be cruel,” Newcastle manager Howe said.
“I’m sorry we couldn’t deliver for the fans today.”