Newcastle United avenged their League Cup final loss against Manchester United as Joe Willock and Callum Wilson clinched a 2-0 win that lifted the Magpies into third place in the Premier League on Sunday.

Eddie Howe’s side were beaten 2-0 by United at Wembley five weeks ago in their first major final for 24 years.

But Newcastle might swap silverware for a lucrative Champions League berth and second-half goals from Willock and Wilson at a raucous St James’ Park moved them closer to that ambition.

Newcastle’s third successive league win – and their first against United since 2019 – took them above their fourth placed opponents on goal difference.

They sit one point ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who visit Everton on Monday, as the race hots up to qualify for next season’s Champions League via a top-four finish.

It is 46 years since Newcastle last finished above United, but the Magpies, fuelled by Howe’s astute management and the financial backing of their Saudi owners, now have a rare chance to emulate that feat.

United are without a win in their last three league games, thrashed 7-0 at Liverpool and then held to a goalless draw by lowly Southampton before this setback on Tyneside.

United’s first major trophy in six years was supposed to be the start of a new golden era, but instead they have failed to score in three successive league matches for the first time since February 2020.

It was a dispiriting start to a busy run of nine fixtures in April as Erik ten Hag’s men look to nail down a top-four finish, while aiming to advance to the Europa League semi-finals and FA Cup final.

Marcus Rashford started for United after missing England’s recent Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine due to a toe injury.

Yet, in the midst of a superb personal campaign, this was a rare dud for Rashford and United looked toothless as a result.

David De Gea made a brilliant double save to keep United level, repelling Alexander Isak’s header from Jacob Murphy’s cross and then blocking Willock’s close-range effort on the rebound.

Source: AFP

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