Newcastle United 1 Manchester United 4

Last updated : 19 April 2005 By Footymad Previewer
A week of great expectations turned into a seven-day nightmare for Newcastle United, who must now look to next season's Intertoto Cup for a route back into Europe.

Starting with a defeat at Spurs, United capitulated at Sporting Lisbon to go out of the UEFA Cup and suffered a similar 4-1 mauling against Manchester United to ensure they will not be making a swift return to Cardiff for the FA Cup Final.

Instead, a rampant Manchester United will line up at the Millennium Stadium against arch rivals Arsenal.

The scoreline wasn't flattering to Manchester United - they outplayed, outfought and outclassed their opponents in just about every department.

After falling 3-0 behind, Shola Ameobi - with his first goal in 12 games - offered some hope, but it was only a brief lift for Newcastle despite the vociferous support of a 32,000 strong Toon Army.

Ruud van Nistelrooy, who couldn't buy a goal going into the game twice finished superbly, Paul Scholes scored a magnificent header and Cristiano Ronaldo, who created the first two goals completed the rout 14 minutes from time.

The scene was set from the start with Newcastle unable to get the ball from the more composed Old Trafford side and Given was forced into an early save from van Nistelrooy.

Ronaldo was booked after just seven minutes for deliberately diving in the box as he tried to win a penalty from Steven Taylor even though the young defender failed to make any contact.

Over the years van Nistelrooy has made a habit of destroying Newcastle and despite going without a goal since November, the Dutchman soon put that record straight.

Ronaldo did the damage with a cross from the right and when Jean Alain Boumsong slipped, the striker swept the ball beyond Shay Given.

Newcastle created virtually nothing in the first half while at the other end a Wayne Rooney drive slipped through the hands of Given and went behind for a corner.

Then in the final minute of the half, Newcastle fell further behind from a delightful header from Scholes from another Ronaldo cross.

Celestine Babayaro who never looked fit and Amdy Faye, suffering with a thigh strain, were replaced at the break by Andy O'Brien and Charles N'Zogbia.

But it was Manchester United old boy Nicky Butt who helped hammer another nail into the Newcastle coffin on 58 minutes when his wayward pass was intercepted by Rooney. The powerhouse charged forward to allow van Nistelrooy to stroke in his second goal.

In less than a minute it was 3-1 when Alan Shearer's strength eventually helped him play in Ameobi to shoot through the legs of Tim Howard from a tight angle to offer some hope.

It was also the first goal scored against Sir Alex Ferguson's side this season in the competition.

Ironically the goal was Newcastle's first shot on target whereas Manchester United were thwarted time after time by the overworked Given.

Shearer had an effort held by Howard before Ronaldo rounded it off when he netted from 12 yards.

Manchester United skipper Roy Keane, without being overly sympathetic to Newcastle, said that his side had gone out to exploit the tiredness in Graeme Souness' side.

Now preparing for a magnificent seventh final, Keane said: "We wanted to make it a quick game.

"They've had a tough time in Europe and only played on Thursday night. They didn't really get near us in the first half. We kept them on the back foot."