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Report: Ritchie stuns United as the Magpies march on to victory

Manchester United were beaten by Newcastle United at St James Park in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. It was a deserved defeat for a poor all-round performance by Jose Mourinho’s side. Matt Ritchie scored the only goal of the game in the 65th minute of the match, beating United’s defence and David De Gea.

It was not the best of starts for United at St James Park. In the second minute of the match, Mohamed Diame tackled Anthony Martial, who went down clutching his face after Diame caught him in the face with his arm. Martial has to go off for some treatment and the referee gave nothing in favour of United, seemingly not seeing Diame foul on the Frenchman.

United had to make the first save of the game in the opening five minutes after Jonjo Shelvey capitalised from a free-kick, which initially hit the wall with the ball falling kindly for Shelvey allowing him to strike from about 12-yards out with David De Gea making a comfortable save to thwart the former Liverpool midfielder from opening the scoring in this game.

Just a few minutes later, Newcastle were up for challenging United again, this time with Ayoze Perez lashing his shot wide of the target from 20-yards. Newcastle were pressing United well and seemed to control the match in the early stages. The Magpies had five shots on goal in these opening stages, something Rafa Benitez would be proud of – even if it does end up short-lived.

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United started to get themselves into the game in the 15th minute after Alexis Sanchez collected the ball on the left, playing a clever pass into the box for Martial, who was on the run. The Frenchman then looked to cut across the goal for Romelu Lukaku, but the ball did not reach the Belgian striker. Sanchez had another good play moments later, seeing of a challenge from DeAndre Yedlin.

At the half hour stage of the game, United had taken control of the last 14 minutes of the tie with Sanchez orchestrating most of the play. United did seem to be lacking the final pass which was stopping them take advantage of the home side. On the 32nd minute, Sanchez and Lukaku linked up well, slipping the ball to Jesse Lingard, whose shot was palmed away by Martin Dubravka.

In the 36th minute, United looked to capitalise after Nemanja Matic slid his perfectly weighted pass through for Martial, who was one-on-one with Dubravka, who came out on top after sticking his leg out to make the save. At the other end of the pitch, Phil Jones seemingly put the ball out of play with Dwight Gayle wanting a corner, a goal kick was given.

In the 39th minute, Martial had another chance to score after rising to meet a left-wing cross but the Frenchman was unable to direct his header on target from 12-yards. There was some more controversy moments later after Chris Smalling was adjudged to foul Gayle in the box, seemingly winning the ball and the referee not giving Newcastle anything.

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In the 42nd minute of the match, Yedlin was clumsy bringing down Lingard and was seemingly lucky not to have been booked for it. United ended the half looking the more attacking team in the game, despite the opening chances of Newcastle. The Magpies also managed to get back into the game after United took control. It was 0-0 at the end of the first half and all to play for.

There were no changes for either side at the start of the second half. United got straight back to where they were at the end of the first half, looking to advance in the hosts half of the pitch and press for that opening goal of the game. United looked to break through in the game before the 50th minute but a poor pass into the box denied United from taking advantage with Dubravka picking up the ball.

United found the opening goal in the 54th minute of the match but it was ruled out for two fouls with Smalling all over his player and Lukaku pushing his before heading across the line. It was the right decision in the game though. United did not stop there, Sanchez, on the ball in the box, tried to break the deadlock once again, hitting the side netting and winning a corner – which came to nothing.

United almost took the lead in the 57th minute of the match with Sanchez being played in by Lukaku, rounding the keeper, who was taken out by Yedlin, hesitating to fire into an open goal which saw Newcastle clear their lines before the referee blew his whistle for the keeper, who was injured – seemingly recovering seconds later. United should have been one goal to the good at this stage of the match.

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Newcastle United took the lead in the 65th minute of the game, just after Smalling was booked for a dive, simulating a foul by Shelvey, then Matt Ritchie pounced, beating De Gea, to put his side in charge of the fixture. Jose Mourinho made a double change after the goal with Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard being replaced by Michael Carrick and Juan Mata in the 66th minute of the match.

This was starting to show as a poor team performance for United with players looking uninterested in getting back into the game. United had two chances to equalise in quick succession with Martial in the box the first time with nobody in the area with him to help before Lukaku arrived late. Mourinho made his third substitution with Scott McTominay replacing Matic in the 77th minute.

United then had a chance to equalise again but with Newcastle having more players in the box to thwart the effort. It was going to be one of those days for United, possibly one they deserved as the fight to win just did not seem to be there from the players on the pitch. Newcastle made their first substitution in the 80th minute with Gayle coming off for Joselu.

In the 84th minute, Newcastle made their second change of the game with Kenedy coming off and Christian Atsu coming on. United were leaving it late if they were going to take command of this tie, which seems unlikely right now. There was a stoppage in the game with just over three minutes to play after Antonio Valencia kicked Atsu in the head, the Ecuadorian booked for the challenge.

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United had some late chances to get something from the game but did not take them. This United side have been deservedly beaten. There is no passion, no urgency to win and the attacking was not as you would expect from the players who started the game. Newcastle took all three points in this game, which was deserved as they fought for the victory. United need to look at themselves.

United will face Huddersfield Town in the Emirates FA Cup next Saturday and after seeing Mourinho’s sides performance this weekend, and the fact Huddersfield beat Bournemouth 4-1 at home, they will be confident of getting the win over United, who last at their stadium earlier in the season. Mourinho’s season could be falling apart right now with all to play for still.

Key Moments:

65′ Matt Ritchie opened the scoring in the game after beating United’s defence and David De Gea to break the deadlock, despite United scoring early in the second half but the goal being ruled out for a series of fouls in the box leading up to the goal. Newcastle United deserved their lead as United just do not look like the team they should be with the players they have.

Man of the Match: Jonjo Shelvey

United were undeserved of anything in this game. Shelvey was named Man of the Match by the Sky Sports panel and it was deserved. He played the game and led his side to victory, despite United rising from the ashes a few times to take charge of the game. United need to learn that they need to play to beat their opposition, not put a poor performance together then rue the defeat.

The players will now be readying their statements on the defeat for social media. We are sorry for the defeat and we will go out to win our next game. Enough. The summer needs to see a clear out of all the dead wood, and there is a lot of it still. Playing Ashley Young as the left-back over Luke Shaw is becoming a joke now.

Match Statistics:

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Young; Matic (McTominay), Pogba (Carrick 66′); Sanchez, Lingard (Mata 66′), Martial; Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Lindelof, Rojo, Shaw

Bookings: Chris Smalling 64′, Antonio Valencia 88′

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