In what was otherwise a drab goalless affair, Crag Pawson’s decision to deny Cristiano Ronaldo’s cheeky decision to rob a free-kick off the toe of Nick Pope ensured there was nothing to separate Manchester United and Newcastle United, Abbeylivenetwork.com reports.
Despite justifiably being many people’s favourites to win on the back of just one defeat in 37 home league games against Newcastle, Manchester United started slowly in their bid to keep the pressure on the top-four places. It was in fact the visitors who started the brighter and came tantalisingly close to taking the lead when Joelinton’s header crashed back off the bar straight back to the Brazilian who proceeded to incredibly head the rebound against the post. United were able to mount a bit of pressure of their own before the break, but Antony’s advances were rebuffed by Nick Pope following some sprightly work on the counter from Jadon Sancho.
If the first half was a little flat from a United perspective, their start to the second half certainly wasn’t. In an incredible flashpoint, Fabian Schär touched the ball back from a free-kick for Nick Pope to take, but Cristiano Ronaldo assumed that was the free-kick taken and proceeded to rob the ball off Pope and roll into an empty net. Craig Pawson was on hand to quickly diffuse United’s celebrations, much to the dismay of the ten men in red shirts, who all rushed to surround the referee.
In a strange way, that disallowed goal breathed new defensive life into Newcastle, who became more determined than ever to defend their goal with all their might. Marcus Rashford’s wayward free-kick just about summed up United’s attacking endeavours, with Newcastle relatively comfortable throughout the afternoon, but they should’ve snatched all three points when Rashford rounded Pope and laid the ball on a plate for Fred who missed the target with the goal at his mercy. A point undoubtedly suits the Magpies more, though it wasn’t enough to lift them above United and into fifth.