Daily Star

LEAKY BLINDERS

Ten Hag home and dry as kids raise the roof

- ■ by JEREMY CROSS

MANCHESTER UNITED went back to the future to spare themselves a lap of dishonour at Old Trafford.

Goals from youngsters Kobbie Mainoo, Amad Diallo and Rasmus Hojlund sank Newcastle to give United just their second win in 11 games, on their final home outing of an otherwise miserable season.

It allowed Erik ten Hag’s men to at least do a circuit of the pitch with their heads held high for a change – instead of being buried in their shirts.

United are now level on points with Newcastle in the table – and in with a chance of securing European qualificat­ion, with the FA Cup final to come.

During Sunday’s defeat to Arsenal the cracks appeared at Old Trafford as water leaked through the stadium roof and poured down the concourse steps and they were unable to be watertight on the pitch last night.

Anthony Gordon had cancelled out Mainoo’s first-half strike.

But goals from Diallo and substitute Hojlund killed off Eddie Howe’s men, who fired late through Lewis Hall, to leave Newcastle needing to beat Brentford in their last game this weekend to stand a shout of European qualificat­ion themselves.

Ten Hag made just one change, and recalled Bruno Fernandes at the expense of Hojlund, who was rested. It meant United went into the clash without a recognised centre forward.

Newcastle, meanwhile, welcomed back Kieran Trippier for the first time since the start of March, while Alexander Isak was well enough to start, having gone off ill during his side’s 1-1 draw with Brighton last time out.

United found themselves under the pump within a matter of minutes, when Isak broke forward

and fired just wide. It then a took a desperate challenge from Sofyan Amrabat to stop Gordon from giving Newcastle the lead. Casemiro went close with a spectacula­r overhead kick at the opposite end, while Scott McTominay failed to beat Martin Dubravka with a weak header.

The Toon shot-stopper again had to be sharp to snuff out the danger from Alejandro Garnacho, who had latched onto a wonderful chipped pass from Fernandes.

But there was nothing he could do to stop Mainoo from putting United ahead on 32 minutes with his fourth of the season.

There seemed no serious danger, but somehow Diallo’s ball was allowed to go through a host of Newcastle defenders on the edge of the box to Mainoo, who had a simple finish.

Casemiro was having one of his better games, and was in the right place to clear Dan Burn’s header off his own line, having also stopped Gordon with a crucial tackle moments earlier. But Newcastle levelled four minutes into the second half, when a mistake from Amrabat allowed Jacob Murphy to charge into space and pick out the sliding Gordon, who finished from close range.

Amrabat made amends, somehow managing to deflect Isak’s shot onto the crossbar and stop Howe’s men going ahead.

It proved crucial, because Diallo’s rocket restored United’s lead.

Hojlund then scored after just coming off the bench to finally give the home fans something to smile about, before Hall’s late effort made it a frantic finish, but United held on.

MANCHESTER UNITED (4-2-3-1): Onana 7; Dalot 7, Casemiro 7, Evans 6, Wan-Bissaka 6; Mainoo 7 (Martinez 82), Amrabat 7; Garnacho 6 (Rashford 82), McTominay 6, Diallo 8 (Hojlund 82); FERNANDES 9 (Eriksen 89).

NEWCASTLE (4-3-3): Dubravka 7; Trippier 6 (Schar 63, 7), Krafth 7, Burn 7, Hall 7; Longstaff 7 (Barnes 77), Guimaraes 8, Anderson 7 (Joelinton 63, 7); Murphy 7 (Almiron 63, 7), Isak 8, Gordon 8.

REFEREE: Robert Jones 6.

 ?? ?? ■ AMAD ABOUT THE BOY: Amad Diallo rifles home to put United 2-1 ahead
■ AMAD ABOUT THE BOY: Amad Diallo rifles home to put United 2-1 ahead
 ?? ?? ■ LAP TIME: Erik ten Hag applauds fans at Old Trafford
■ LAP TIME: Erik ten Hag applauds fans at Old Trafford
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 ?? ?? ■ MAINOO MAN: Kobbie Mainoo slots United in front
■ MAINOO MAN: Kobbie Mainoo slots United in front
 ?? ?? ■ SUB-LIME: Rasmus Hojlund celebrates scoring after stepping off bench
■ SUB-LIME: Rasmus Hojlund celebrates scoring after stepping off bench
 ?? ?? ■ GORDON BENNETT: Anthony Gordon slides in to level at 1-1
■ GORDON BENNETT: Anthony Gordon slides in to level at 1-1

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