Manchester United 2-0 Newcastle: Ten Hag wins a trophy in his debut season – the Red Devils’ first for SIX YEARS – as Casemiro’s header and Rashford’s deflected strike seal Carabao Cup triumph
- Man United ended their longest trophy drought in 40 years by winning the Carabao Cup final at Wembley
- Midfielder Casemiro broke the deadlock after 33 minutes when he headed home Luke Shaw’s free-kick
- Doubled their advantage after Botman deflected Rashford’s shot out of the reach stand-in keeper Karius
A great migration from the north east of England had colonised the centre of London on Saturday night.
The Geordie invasion had overwhelmed Trafalgar Square at the heart of the capital and then on Sunday morning, it had moved north and west to the outskirts of the city.
In this football era of creeping corporatism, the hunger and the fervour of Newcastle’s support felt like a throwback to a different age.
Inside the stadium, the hordes raised their black and white colours in giant stripes at their end of Wembley and displayed giant signs proclaiming ‘Howay the lads’ and ‘We are United’.
It looked like a pirate army come to pillage the football establishment and sweep it away. After so many years in the wilderness, this was their moment to storm the barricades of the old order.
Manchester United claimed their first trophy since 2017 with victory over Newcastle United
Marcus Rashford’s deflected strike doubled Manchester United’s lead in the 39th minute at Wembley
Midfielder Casemiro put Manchester United ahead in the 33rd minute against Newcastle
But this was a rebellion that reached the gates of the palace and then could go no further. Newcastle had the intensity and the will but Manchester United had the class.
Conquerors of Barcelona in the Europa League last week, Erik ten Hag’s team dispatched their opponents coldly and clinically.
This was their first trophy in six years so it was no small thing but they have far greater prizes than the Carabao Cup on their mind.
Above all, this was Ten Hag’s triumph. This was a symbol of the changes he has wrought at Old Trafford. This was a victory for the attitudes he has changed and the values he has instilled and for the banishing of complacency and for the intolerance of the idea that image is more important than substance.
This victory meant Ten Hag became the eighth Manchester United manager to win a major trophy following Ernest Mangall, Sir Matt Busby, Tommy Docherty, Ron Atkinson, Sir Alex Ferguson, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.
This was the clearest sign yet that his club is on the way back and that it is responding more and more to his leadership.
Manchester United were Newcastle’s conquerors when they played each other in the FA Cup Final in 1999, just before Sir Alex Ferguson’s side won the Treble in Barcelona. Newcastle have not played in a domestic final since but once again they had no answer to the men in red. First half goals from Casemiro and Marcus Rashford were enough to get Ten Hag’s side over the line.
So Newcastle’s wait for a first domestic trophy since 1955 goes on. This was the fifth successive final they have lost since 1969. They will be back soon enough and they will try to resuscitate their faltering attempts to gatecrash the top four in the Premier League. They are anticipating new honours now they are owned by the fabulously rich and brutally repressive state of Saudi Arabia but there are some things even the Saudis cannot buy.
Ten Hag’s side did not get out of second gear. It didn’t need to. It was not a classic final by any means. In fact, it was something of an anti-climax. But even if the Carabao Cup is the least of the major trophies on offer in the English domestic game, history tells us that winning it often acts as a catalyst for greater things.
Winning the League Cup in 2005 ushered in Chelsea’s era of dominance under Jose Mourinho and the competition was the first won by Pep Guardiola after he took the Manchester City job. It was a prelude for things to come for them and it feels as if it will be the same for Ten Hag.
Manchester United are still in the Europa League, they are at home to West Ham in the fifth round of the FA Cup this week and they are hanging around stubbornly on the edge of the Premier League title race, ready to pounce if Manchester City or Arsenal slip up. This might have been Ten Hag’s first trophy for the club but it will be a surprise if it is his last.
Everything about the way he has run the club this season and established his authority over it suggests it is edging its way back to the time of Sir Alex Ferguson, who sat alongside former chief executive David Gill in the Royal Box. Ten Hag’s side, rid of the divisive influence of former players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba, puts substance over image now. This victory was another sign it is ready to rejoin English football’s elite.
Luke Shaw’s free kick from the left was headed home by midfielder Casemiro in the first-half
Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez heads away under pressure from Callum Wilson
Newcastle defender Kieran Trippier launches into a challenge on Manchester United Marcus Rashford
Manchester United winger Antony (L) takes on Newcastle defender Dan Burn
Ten Hag’s men have only lost once since November 6 and this final was their tenth unbeaten match on the run. There was a doubt about Rashford going into this match but he is in unstoppable form and he has now scored 25 goals in all competitions this season, two more than his previous best. In the circumstances, it would have been a surprise if he hadn’t scored. Newcastle, who have begun to splutter and fade, came up against them at just the wrong time.
Much of the build-up had centred on the suspension of Newcastle’s first-choice goalkeeper Nick Pope. With Martin Dubravka cup-tied and Karl Darlow out on loan, former Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius started for Eddie Howe’s side. His selection was met both with apprehension and hope for redemption.
Karius, 29, joined Newcastle in September but had not played a minute for the club before this match. His career has been defined, at least from an English perspective, by high-profile errors he made in the 2018 Champions League Final in Kiev when he was Liverpool’s goalkeeper, errors that helped to hand the trophy to Real Madrid. He had last played a competitive game of football in February 2021 for Union Berlin against Hoffenheim in Germany’s Bundesliga.
He and Sven Botman had the hint of a misunderstanding in the opening seconds, which may not have done Karius’s confidence much good but the first real chance of the game did not come for half an hour. It was carved out of a piece of individual brilliance from Saint-Maximin, who retrieved a cross and then squared up Dalot inside the area.
Saint-Maximin dragged the ball one way and then the other and danced past Dalot as if he was not there. He advanced to the edge of the six-yard box and lashed his shot goalwards but David de Gea stuck out his left arm and the ball cannoned off it and away to safety.
A minute later, Manchester United were ahead. Rashford won a free kick on the United left and it was curled in by Luke Shaw. Casemiro ran on to it and climbed between Sven Botman and Fabian Schar. He glanced his header across Karius, who was powerless to intervene, and the ball nestled in the far corner of the net. Hope flickered briefly for Newcastle fans that Casemiro had strayed offside but VAR dashed that hope.
United went further ahead six minutes before half time. It was an innocuous build-up but when Wout Weghorst slipped a short pass behind the Newcastle defence, Rashford was on it in a flash. Botman closed him down but when Rashford shot with his left foot, the ball deflected off Botman’s leg and looped into the air. Karius was wrong-footed. He flapped his hand at it but he could only divert it into the roof of the net.
Poor Karius. The goal was not his fault. It was not a howler. And most neutrals would have been willing him to keep it out. If he had made the save, maybe it would have breathed some confidence into him but now there was something else for him to berate himself for. A few minutes later, he made a superb one-handed flying save to tip over a curling shot from Weghorst. It was his first shot at redemption.
Newcastle huffed and puffed in the second half but Casemiro was supreme in United’s midfield. He was the man of the match by a distance, a player who has made a significant difference to his side since he arrived from Real Madrid. All that was left was for Karius to make a brilliant late save from Bruno Fernandes and for Newcastle’s fans to wave those black and white flags in one last gesture of devotion.
Within seven minutes of that save the Red Devils had control of the final, with Casemiro heading home Luke Shaw’s free-kick before Botman deflected a Marcus Rashford strike over Loris Karius.
Manchester United striker Wout Weghorst clashes with compatriot Sven Botman during fiery encounter
Newcastle winger Allan Saint-Maximin was denied by Man United goalkeeper David de Gea in the first-half
Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez and Newcastle’s Fabian Schar required treatment following a clash of heads
Manchester United co-chairman Avram Glazer sat with Sir Alex Ferguson and former chief executive David Gill at Wembley
The third-choice goalkeeper, making his debut and first competitive appearance in 728 days, denied Wout Weghorst putting the game to bed in first-half stoppage time.
Newcastle returned brightly from the break but were unable to mount a comeback, extending their wait for a first trophy since their 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup triumph.
As for the victors, Ten Hag’s first ever trip to Wembley saw him join Jose Mourinho as the only United managers to win a major trophy in their first season.
More could yet follow this season given the Dutchman’s transformational impact on the culture and quality at Old Trafford.
Man Utd: de Gea, Dalot (Wan-Bissaka 46),Varane,Martinez,Shaw, Fred (Sabitzer 70), Casemiro, Antony (Sancho 83),Bruno Fernandes, Rashford (Maguire 88), Weghorst (McTominay 70).
Subs Not Used: Lindelof, Malacia, Heaton, Garnacho.
Booked: Dalot, Fred, de Gea, Casemiro, Martinez.
Goals: Casemiro 33,Botman 39 og.
Newcastle: Karius, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Longstaff (Isak 46),Bruno Guimaraes (Willock 79),Joelinton, Almiron, Wilson, Saint-Maximin (Murphy 78).
Subs Not Used: Lascelles, Ritchie, Targett, Manquillo, Gillespie, Anderson.
Booked: Joelinton, Schar.
Ref: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).
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