Manchester United won their first trophy under Erik ten Hag at the first chance, and their first trophy since the 2016/17 season, with a 2-0 win over Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final.
The loss should not detract from how special a journey this has been for the Magpies. Not since the 1998/99 season had they contested a domestic cup final before today.
But United’s win means they’re still able to win the quadruple, as they’re still in the FA Cup, Europa League and have a chance of winning the Premier League, in which they are currently third.
Today’s win – thanks to goals from Casemiro and an own-goal from Sven Botman – ended their longest trophy drought for 40 years and they’ll be hoping it lasts no more than a few months.
It was a painful end to the Magpies’ first final since losing by the same scoreline to the same opposition in the 1999 FA Cup showpiece.
Things could have been so different for Eddie Howe’s men had David De Gea not been alert to deny Allan Saint-Maximin’s close-range shot late in the first half.
Within seven minutes of that save the Red Devils had control of the final, with Casemiro heading home Luke Shaw’s free-kick before Botman deflected a Marcus Rashford strike over Loris Karius.
The third-choice goalkeeper, making his debut and first competitive appearance in 728 days, denied Wout Weghorst putting the game to bed in first-half stoppage time.
Newcastle returned brightly from the break but were unable to mount a comeback, extending their wait for a first trophy since their 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup triumph.
As for the victors, Ten Hag’s first ever trip to Wembley saw him join Jose Mourinho as the only United managers to win a major trophy in their first season.
More could yet follow this season given the Dutchman’s transformational impact on the culture and quality at Old Trafford.
The sides were greeted by an incredible din at a packed Wembley, where expectant fans twirled red scarves at one end as a sea of black and white flags fluttered at the other.
The atmosphere translated into an intense, open start, only for poor decision-making to see moves break down.
There was no danger of Karius being beaten by United’s first shot on target as Weghorst failed to make clean contact under pressure, before easily holding onto an Antony attempt.
United fans turned their attention to their owners as the half wore on, with “we want Glazers out” bellowed in front of watching co-owner Avram Glazer.
A couple of breaks in play for treatment took the sting out of a final that had lost its early intensity, only for Newcastle’s first shot on target to spark a frantic conclusion to the half.
After a cross flew across the face of goal, Saint-Maximin took possession at the far post, jinked past Diogo Dalot and forced De Gea into an important stop from close range.
That 32nd-minute save proved a key moment as United were soon 2-0 up.
The first goal came after returning Bruno Guimaraes fouled Rashford on the left, with Shaw whipping in a fine free-kick that Casemiro met with a powerful header past Karius.
A nervy wait followed to check an offside, with the Brazilian punching the air when it was given the green light.
It was a gut punch that United quickly followed up in front of the dejected Newcastle end.
On-loan Weghorst smartly played through Rashford to get away a hopeful strike that was heading wide until Botman’s block inadvertently sent the ball looping over the goalkeeper.
Dan Burn headed narrowly off target as Newcastle attempted to claw one back, but they would have been further behind in stoppage time had Karius not superbly tipped over Weghorst’s effort from distance.
Dalot, who had been booked for a ninth-minute challenge on fleet-footed Saint-Maximin, was replaced by Aaron Wan-Bissaka at half-time, while Alexander Isak came on for Sean Longstaff.
Howe’s side were looking brighter as United slowed the tempo against a side Ten Hag had called “annoying” for their time-wasting antics in the build-up.
Newcastle could not turn possession into clear-cut chances, with inspired introduction Wan-Bissaka and Lisandro Martinez proving immovable objects.
Karius got down well to stop Rashford fizzing home from distance and dealt with a long-range Wan-Bissaka attempt as play became stretched with Howe’s side chasing a goal.
Newcastle saw penalty appeals overlooked and substitute Jacob Murphy fizzed a stunning long-range effort just wide.
The match ended with captain Harry Maguire being brought on, renewed chants against the Glazers, Karius denying Bruno Fernandes and De Gea becoming United’s record clean sheet holder with 181 shut-outs.
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