Football: Rashford inspires Manchester United to 3-1 win over Newcastle

Newcastle United's Emil Krafth in action with Manchester United's Marcus Rashford on Feb 21, 2021.
Newcastle United's Emil Krafth in action with Manchester United's Marcus Rashford on Feb 21, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

MANCHESTER (REUTERS) - An impressive individual performance from Marcus Rashford steered Manchester United to a 3-1 home win over Newcastle United in the Premier League on Sunday (Feb 21) as the England forward scored one goal and had a hand in another.

United moved back into second spot on 49 points from 25 games, 10 behind leaders Manchester City and ahead of third-placed Leicester City on goal difference. Newcastle stayed 17th on 25 points, three ahead of Fulham, who occupy the last relegation spot, after an eighth league defeat in 10 games.

Rashford fired United ahead out of the blue in the 30th minute when he twice beat defender Emil Krafth with neat footwork before firing a crisp, low shot past goalkeeper Karl Darlow inside the near post.

The visitors, who had looked more likely to break the deadlock, hit back six minutes later when Allan Saint-Maximin took advantage of a poor clearance by Harry Maguire and swept the ball into the roof of the net.

United still looked unconvincing in the early stages of the second half but struck from out of nowhere in the 57th minute as a Nemanja Matic pass was touched on by Bruno Fernandes to Daniel James who, rifled the ball past Darlow from eight metres.

Fernandes sealed United's win with a 74th-minute penalty awarded when Joe Willock tripped Rashford after he bedazzled the Newcastle player with sublime close control in the area.

James, who also scored in Thursday’s 4-0 win over Real Sociedad in the Europa League round of 32 first leg, was delighted after making the most of a rare start.

“It is a turnaround,” the Wales winger told BT Sport. “There was a moment last season when I maybe was not performing as well as I wanted to do. I kind of lost my way a bit. I have been working with the coaches to get me back to myself and I’d like to think I’ve got there now.”