United outclassed by Man U
NEWCASTLE UNITED'S Premier League safety was still uncertain tonight after Manchester United pulled off a solid away win St James's Park.
A goal from Abdoulaye Faye with 12 minutes to go was as good as the night got for the Toon Army after two each from Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney and strike from ex-Mag Louis Saha completed somewhat of a rout on Tyneside.
Shay Given was back from a groin injury to take his place between the posts and Keegan selected Abdoulaye Faye in front of him.
Faye was playing his first game since returning from the African Cup of Nations but Oba Martins was absent due to an ankle injury sustained in the same tournament.
That meant Michael Owen partnered Alan Smith in attack while Charles NÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢Zogbia returned from a ban to take a place at left-back.
Owen had the first real chance of the game on five minutes when NÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢Zogbia crossed from the left and the England star stabbed it the wrong side of the upright.
Necwastle kept up the pressure on Man U and on 12 minutes a right wing cross from James Milner caused havoc for the visitors but nobody in a black and white shirt was able to get on the end of it.
KK had called on his players before the game to sweat blood for the Toon cause and this was certainly apparent in the opening 20 minutes with both NÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢Zogbia and Milner nailing Ronaldo and Nani when they tried to venture into the box.
And when Ronaldo did get a sight of goal on 22 minutes the Portugal international sliced a shot into the Gallowgate End.
Two minutes later and Toon players protested furiously at ref Chris Foy when Owen burst into the penalty box only to be upended by Ferdinand but the official waved away the protests.
Then to rub salt into the wounds Man U snatched the lead against the run of play on the 25 minute mark as Ronaldo ÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬" who had switched wings with Nani just minutes earlier - crossed from the left and an unmarked Rooney ghosted in at the back post to slot past Given.
But Newcastle reacted positively and offensively by forcing a couple of corners and on the half hour a Milner shot flashed just wide.
Yet Man UÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢s response was to punish Newcastle again and after almost lulling Newcastle to sleep suddenly a pass through the middle from Geordie boy Michael Carrick found Ronaldo who calmly picked his spot to make it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time.
During the break Keegan was forced to withdraw Given who suffered a recurrence of his groin problem.
It took Newcastle six minutes to test Van der Sar in the second half as a twisting run from Duff forced the Dutchman to save with his feet.
Yet Man U struck a third goal on 57 minutes as Ronaldo was released by Darren Fletcher before he rounded Harper and slammed it from an acute angle and into the net.
With Newcastle trailing by three Keegan introduced raw teenager Andy Carroll just after the hour mark.
Five minutes later and Smith played the ball out to the left for Duff but his low shot was easily gathered by Van der Sar.
Newcastle were handed a glimmer of hope with 12 minutes left.
Carroll forced a corner and after Milner whipped in the flag kick Faye rifled home at the second attempt.
But the joy lasted less than two minutes.
And after Harper pulled off a great save to deny Scholes to force a corner Man U cashed in again.
On this occasion a poor clearance by Smith fell to Rooney from the corner to allow the England ace to curl home a great effort.
And just to rub salt into the wound Louis Saha fired home number five in stoppage time.
Chances from Smith and Owen failed to reduce arrears as Newcastle lost by more than three clear goals at home for the third time this season.
UNITED: Given (Harper 46), Beye, Faye, Taylor, NÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢Zogbia, Milner (Geremi 84), Butt, Barton (Carroll 61), Duff, Smith Owen.
Subs: Cacapa, Ameobi.
MAN UNITED: Van der Sar, Evra (OÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢Shea 46), Ferdinand, Brown, Ronaldo (Saha 67), Rooney, Vidic (Scholes 74), Carrick, Nani, Fletcher, Tevez.
Subs: Anderson, Kuszczak.
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