Man United 3-2 Newcastle United: European fate on the line for wasteful Magpies

For once it wasn't about poor records or hoodoos at Old Trafford for Newcastle United.

True, that awful run of results continues to rumble on with just one victory in the Premier League here since 1993, but this was all about a golden opportunity for Newcastle to win at Old Trafford and win well. It was a performance that contained some outstanding moments from Newcastle like the move for Anthony Gordon's equaliser and the Lewis Hall howitzer but that opportunity went begging.

Some charitable defending left even Man United surprised by such generosity and given this is their worst season in Premier League history they were never going to turn it down. However, this is a 3-2 loss that leaves Newcastle still uncertain of their European fate going into the final game.

On a night when Chelsea beat Brighton, it could now be about the Europa Conference League but another late splutter could leave them completely empty handed. It's simple now, if Newcastle get more points than Man United they will scrape into that last Euro slot.

READ MORE: Live blog from Old Trafford - all the action as it happened

READ MORE: Newcastle transfer state of play: Tosin deal claim, Kelly on list & early exits

Newcastle had started the game with something of a swagger rather than the fear factor they'd carried with them down the decades at this venue but would run into problems later. With a couple of minutes on the clock, Alexander Isak strode forward but sent his shot wide of the target.

The Magpies earned a corner on seven minutes with the returning Kieran Trippier launching the ball to the back post for Dan Burn to knock down but the move would come to nothing. Man United responded when Casimero attempted an audacious overhead kick after a Bruno Fernandes free-kick but it flashed wide at the Stretford End.

Newcastle absorbed some early pressure from the home side but responded well and made some good reaction presses. A right wing cross from Aaron Wan-Bissaka found Scott McTominay in the box on 13 minutes but he headed straight at Martin Dubravka.

Dubravka was called into action again two minutes later as he pushed away Amad Diallo's low curving effort before Newcastle cleared up the resultant corner. After being pegged back for long periods in the opening quarter, Newcastle eventually got out with Lewis Hall sending a low shot at André Onana after a good run.

If anything the break was a reminder that Newcastle were up against an aging centre-back pairing of Casimero and Jonny Evans. Isak had spent part of the opening restricted to an almost false 9 position.

But it was the home side who kept asking the questions as Bruno Fernandes released Alejandro Garnacho who prodded a low shot at Dubravka with the Slovakia international saving with his feet on 28 minutes. Moments later, Anthony Gordon forced a corner after Elliot Anderson sent him free down the left but it conjured up nothing to write home about.

After failing to take the game by the scruff of the neck, Man United weren't in the mood to turn down such an opportunity. Diallo worked the ball down the right before Fernandes flicked on and with Kobbie Mainoo completely unmarked, even to his surprise, the Man United youngster took a touch and casually stroked it past Dubravka.

Newcastle defenders appealed for offside but the back four completely switched off to gift a more than grateful Man United side what would have been classed a surprise lead in any pre-match chatter in the pub.

Toon fans thought their side had levelled when Dan Burn's header bounced along the line before Casimero nodded clear but his luck was out after Jacob Murphy had sent in a fine cross. Newcastle went in at the break a goal down, but would soon rectify the matter.

A poor clearance from Onana was headed straight back down the pitch by Burn. Then Isak slipped the ball out to Murphy who curved in a fine cross for Gordon to poke home inside the six-yard box and make it 1-1.

The equaliser came just four minutes into the second half and a clearly fired up Newcastle knew that they had to raise their game with some quality options on the bench. But just as Newcastle looked like the side who would get a grip of the game, the Red Devils rallied and struck again.

Fernandes' corner on 57 minutes did not make it over the first man in Murphy who somehow managed to head it into the path of Diallo. Like the opening goal, he was left free to pick his spot and he powered it past Dubravka to give the home side a 2-1 lead.

If anything, Man United players could not believe their luck. And those changes that may have been threatened by Howe at the break would soon follow.

Howe introduced three fresh players on 62 minutes in Joelinton, Miguel Almiron and Fabian Schar. Murphy, Anderson and Trippier went off. Joelinton slipped in Sean Longstaff for a great chance on 67 minutes but his shot struck the shoulder of the goalkeeper. Seconds later a towering Joelinton header was whipped in by Emil Krafth but the Brazil international's header was pushed over the bar.

With 18 minutes left a great piece of play from Gordon saw him drift past Casimero and play a ball to that back post but Almiron could not connect and it rolled out. Howe's last real roll of the dice came when he introduced Harvey Barnes for the final stages.

But Man United introduced their own trio of changes for the last throes of the game. Lisandro Martinez, Marcus Rashford and Rasmus Hojlund came on and the move quickly paid off.

Newcastle had looked nervous when Burn's back-pass caught Dubravka napping and he struggled to control it. But the Magpies backed off again after Fernandes slipped in Hojlund and the Danish star trickled the ball along the box and slammed a finish beneath Hall and then Dubravka to make it 3-1 with six minutes left.

Howe's team gave themselves a lifeline two minutes into stoppage after Gordon's half-cleared corner dropped to the Chelsea loanee on the edge of the box. Having stunned Man United here in the Carabao Cup, Hall poised himself and directed another rocket into the back of the net to reduce arrears.

But it was too little, too late for Newcastle. By then, their opportunity to deliver a long awaited win over the Red Devils had been and gone, and even Man United knew it.

Newcastle must now better Man United's points tally. The Magpies head to Brentford on Sunday and Man United travel to Brighton.

Talk about going right to the wire.

Referee: Rob Jones (Merseyside)