Newcastle 3 Man United 0: Brilliant Ba inspires Magpies to famous win
Demba Ba scored the opener and was instrumental throughout as Newcastle condemned Manchester United to consecutive defeats
Sir Alex Ferguson’s woes continued as Newcastle condemned his Manchester United side to consecutive defeats, with an outstanding victory at the Sports Direct Arena.
Goals from Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and a Phil Jones own-goal gave the Red Devils the worst possible start to 2012, as Alan Pardew’s men picked up their first victory against the Red Devils since September 2001.
An out-of-sorts United side, now three points adrift of leaders Manchester City, never got going and were punished for missing chances in the first-half, as a clinical Magpies side rediscovered their early season form, winning for the first time at home since November.
Newcastle started the opening exchanges brightly, with Ba completely missing his kick when in a dangerous position in the penalty area before Cabaye forced a low save from Anders Lindegaard.
But the visitors soon came back into the game. Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul parried a 20-yard curler from Nani, and the returning Wayne Rooney couldn’t react quickly enough to control the ball.
Moments later, in-form striker Dimitar Berbatov was denied a sixth goal league in his last three games when his header hit the post after it took a deflection off Magpies full-back Davide Santon.
The visitors continued to have the better of things going forward and Rooney had a glorious chance to test Krul – but the striker made a mess of Ryan Giggs’ through-ball.
Referee Howard Webb had a big decision to make soon after following a tangle of legs between Ba and Rio Ferdinand in the Manchester United penalty area, but Webb was unmoved.
Ferguson’s side were punished for not making the most of their opportunities as the home side took the lead on 32 minutes.
Krul’s long clearance was pumped deep into United territory and, after Shola Ameobi’s flick-on, Senegalese striker Ba expertly guided a fine finish over a helpless Lindegaard to end the goalkeeper’s five-game run of clean sheets.
It was Ba’s 15th goal since arriving on a free from West Ham, and underlined how much Pardew’s team will miss the striker when he departs for the Africa Cup of Nations after Saturday’s FA cup tie with Blackburn Rovers.
The task then got harder for United just two minutes after the break as Newcastle doubled their advantage.
After a foul by Phil Jones, French midfielder Cabaye curled a sumptuous free-kick over the wall and off the underside of the bar, with Danish shot-stopper Lindegaard unable keep it out despite getting fingertips on the strike.
Former Red Devil, Danny Simpson, made himself a hero on 58 minutes as he cleared Rooney’s goal-bound effort off the line.
Newcastle’s poor run against the visitors finally looked set to come to an end as Ferguson’s men desperately searched for a way back into the game.
The home side missed a chance to make the points safe on 72 minutes, when Ba headed Ryan Taylor’s cross wide – but the famous victory was sealed in the final minute.
Krul’s long kick caused confusion in the visitors’ defence and an indecisive Jones steered the ball past his on-rushing goalkeeper.
Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Michael Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon, Ryan Taylor, Danny Simpson, Cheik TiotÃ©, Yohan Cabaye (James Perch, 78), JonÃ¡s GutiÃ©rrez, Shola Ameobi (Leon Best, 75), Demba Ba (Gabriel Obertan, 90).
Manchester United: Anders Lindegaard, Phil Jones, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Nani, Park Ji-Sung (Javier HernÃ¡ndez, 66), Dimitar Berbatov (Danny Welbeck, 57), Wayne Rooney (Anderson, 75).