Newcastle held strong to keep Manchester United at bay but a late goal from Cristiano Ronaldo handed the hosts a 1-0 lead at halftime. The Red Devils had the bulk of possession and outshot The Magpies by a ratio of over 2-1 but clear-cut chances were at a minimum for both sides until the late strike.
Newcastle started in a 5-4-1 with a back three of Hayden, Lascelles, and Clark. Manquillo and Ritchie were the wing-backs with Longstaff and Willock in the midfield. Almiron was on the right with Joelinton on the left. Saint-Maximin was alone upfront.
The hosts came out of the gate with the lion’s share of possession as expected. Newcastle did get a decent chance through Joelinton in the 7th minute. The Brazilian collected the ball down the left and drove into the box but his tame effort was pulled wide of the goal.
Newcastle held strong defensively with Freddie Woodman not having to make a save in the first 20 minutes. Man United came very close as Raphael Varane’s glancing header drifted just wide of the far post. The defender was left unmarked in the box for the corner kick.
Newcastle continued to frustrate Manchester United defensively. The lads kept their shape and prevented any clear-cut opportunities. The hosts applied continual pressure with Newcastle pegged deep. We did offer a threat on the counter but struggled with the final ball.
The referee added two minutes of added time to close the half. It ended up punishing Newcastle as Ronaldo put the hosts ahead in the 47th minute. Freddie Woodman failed to gather a low shot from Mason Greenwood and Ronaldo pounced on the loose ball to give The Red Devils a 1-0 lead just before the break.