After six years chasing after a trophy, Manchester United made their experience and superior attacking potential speak for themselves to dominate Newcastle (2-0), Sunday February 26 in the final of the English League Cup, at Wembley.
Two goals in quick succession after half an hour of play, a deflection of Casemiro’s uncrossed header from a free kick and a throw-in from Marcus Rashford deflected into his goal by Sven Botman, made the difference.
The first trophy awarded in England of the season, the League Cup may seem like a very modest reward on the scale of the club’s record, but the supporters did not shy away from their pleasure after what must have seemed like an eternity to them. Their wait was certainly shorter than that of Newcastle fans, whose last final dated back to the FA Cup in 1999, and the last title to the European Fairs Cup, the first version of the “C3” (current Europa League), in 1969.
As for the players, only David de Gea and Marcus Rashford were victorious against Southampton (3-2), in 2017, in the same competition, with a double from Zaltan Ibrahimovic. Anthony Martial too, but he is currently injured. Three months after this coronation, the Red Devils had also won the Europa League, but had only finished 6th in the championship.
Confidence for the future
They could do better this year, as they have qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League and the FA Cup, as well as 3rd in the league. The mastery they have shown in the management of this major meeting can give them confidence for the future.
Facing the Magpies, 5th and best defense in the championship, they knew how to be patient and realistic, before defending their advantage without much fear, De Gea appropriating the record of matches without conceding a goal in the club (181), overtaking Dane Peter Schmeichel.
Everything settled down after half an hour of play and the “Toons”, another nickname for players in black and white, will long think back to this dance step with which Allan Saint-Maximin got rid of Diogo Dalot before seeing his shot from a tight angle repelled by a headline by David de Gea (32nd) . On the following action, Manchester obtained a free kick on the left, shot by Luke Shaw and which found the victorious header from Casemiro (1-0, 33e).
Barely minutes later, Wout Weghorst launched Rashford perfectly into the box which caused Botman’s counterattack (2-0, 39e).
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Replacing Nick Pope, the English international goalkeeper expelled during the match against Liverpool, Loris Karius had nothing to reproach himself for his first match for two years. He even made three good saves on a curled long shot from Weghorst (45e+3), a low shot from Rashford (74th) and in a one-on-one with Bruno Fernandes in added time.
Newcastle full-back Dan Burn came close to getting the black and white half of Wembley up with a header in the 43rde, but it was ultimately not framed. And in the 68th minute, two Manchester defenders had to block their bodies on two strikes at the entrance to the surface to offer the first success of the Ten Hag era, which seems to call for others.