Manchester United 5 Newcastle 3

Last updated : 23 November 2002 By Footymad Previewer

One minute there was talk of a crisis at Old Trafford & the next Man United are hammering five goals past Newcastle ....Football certainly is a funny old game.

Ruud van Nistelrooy, so often forced to soldier on up front on his own for the Red Devils, had support coming out of his ears.

Partnered by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the Duthchman also found Diego Forlan, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs as bosom brothers, and he celebrated with his second league hat-trick for Manchester United.

There were some worrying moments at the back, particularly late on, but the fact that the Red Devils have at last found their scoring touch will more than compensate as they begin the next stage of their European Champions League Campaign in Basel on Tuesday.

After a dreadful opening spell, the home side took the lead with a peach of a goal in the 24th minute.

Van Nistelrooy 's raking pass to the right found Solskjaer, who brilliantly slipped passed Aaron Hughes before beating Nikos Dabizas and rolling the ball back in to the centre for Paul Scholes to score with a crisp right-foot shot from ten yards out.

Newcastle equalised with a bizarre goal 11 minutes later. Craig Bellamy found Olivier Bernard on the left.

Bernard 's first attempt at a cross crashed in to the body of Manchester defender John O'Shea, but the Frenchman collected the rebound and curled his left footed cross in to the net off the far post.

The home side responded within three minutes.

Mikael Silvestre ploughed down the left past attempted tackles from Kieraon Dyer and Jermaine Jenas before crossing to the far post, where van Nistelrooy headed home from four yards.

With the half two minutes in to injury time van Nistelrooy struck again. Silvestre found Forlan on the left corner of the Newcastle box and he mis-hit his shot to van Nistelrooy and the Dutchman was left with a simple right-foot tap in from 10 yards.

If the first half had ended on a high, the second exploded in to life with three goals in the opening ten minutes.

Alan Shearer scored his 100th Premiership for the Magpies in the 51st minute with a stunning 25 yard right foot drive, after Gary Speed had rolled a free kick in to the path of the former England captain.

Back came the Red Devils with a vengeance as Forlan's 52nd minute drag back from the left byline was headed in by van Nistelrooy from close range to complete his hat-trick.

Three minutes later Silvestre's glorious through ball set up Solskjaer to drive home right footed 12 yards out.

Manchester wobbled a little late on, but Newcastle took advantage only once when, in the 74th minute, SolanoÂ’s corner was headed forward by Shearer for Craig Bellamy to nod in to the net from six yards