LONDON: Manchester United´s dismal season lurched into crisis on Saturday after a 1-0 loss at home to Newcastle United condemned the champions to their fifth defeat of the campaign.
Yohan Cabaye´s goal just after the hour gave Newcastle their first victory at Old Trafford since 1972 and consigned United to back-to-back home defeats in the league for the first time since May 2002.
Having lost 1-0 to Everton on Wednesday, United have now lost as many games as they did in the whole of last season´s title-winning campaign and David Moyes´s side could fall 15 points behind leaders Arsenal before the weekend is out. “I´m disappointed with the result,” Moyes told BT Sport. “I think there were bits of the game where we needed a bit of luck to go for us and to take our opportunities a bit better, and that didn´t happen. “However, the United manager refused to admit defeat in his side´s title defence, saying: “I stand firm that we´ll be very close to it and I hope we´re in and around it when it comes to the end of the season. “United were without Wayne Rooney through suspension, but they restored Robin van Persie to their starting XI following a four-game absence with a groin strain and saw Phil Jones test visiting goalkeeper Tim Krul with an early shot.
Newcastle´s five-man midfield frustrated United though, and it was the visitors who came closest to breaking the deadlock before half-time, with David de Gea thwarting Mathieu Debuchy twice in first-half stoppage time.
United attacked the game with renewed vigour in the second period, but they saw Krul save from Javier Hernandez and Adnan Januzaj before a header from Patrice Evra hit the post.
Newcastle hit the champions with a sucker-punch in the 61st minute, with Moussa Sissoko galloping down the right flank after winning a duel with Evra before cutting the ball back for Cabaye to sweep home.
Moyes responded by introducing Anderson and Antonio Valencia and handing Wilfried Zaha a league debut from the bench, but despite sporadic late pressure, an equaliser would not come.
Van Persie had a close-range header ruled out for offside and Zaha curled narrowly wide, leaving Newcastle´s jubilant fans to taunt Moyes with crowing chants of ´You´re getting sacked in the morning! (AFP)