Manchester United 2-0 Newcastle United: Casemiro on target as Ten Hag's men lift EFL Cup
Manchester United won their first trophy under Erik ten Hag as Newcastle United were beaten 2-0 in Sunday's EFL Cup final at Wembley.
Casemiro's opener came somewhat against the run of play as United started slowly, but the Red Devils assumed control before the break as Marcus Rashford's shot deflected in off the unfortunate Sven Botman.
Newcastle faded following a positive start as United kept them at arm's length, ensuring there was to be no end to the Magpies' 68-year wait for a major domestic trophy.
For United, a first trophy since 2017 validates Ten Hag's impact at Old Trafford, and with the Old Trafford outfit still competing in the Premier League, Europa League and FA Cup, there could be more to come.
David de Gea was tested at his near post by Allan Saint-Maximin as Newcastle started brightly, but United soon took charge with two goals in the space of six minutes.
The first came when Casemiro nodded Luke Shaw's free-kick into the bottom-right corner after 33 minutes, with a VAR check adjudging the Brazilian to have remained onside.
There was a hint of fortune about United's second as Rashford took Wout Weghorst's pass in his stride and saw a shot deflect off Botman, only for the ball to spin beyond stand-in Magpies goalkeeper Loris Karius.
Karius prevented further damage with a flying save from Weghorst's strike before the break, when Newcastle introduced club-record signing Alexander Isak in search of a response.
Joelinton saw efforts blocked by Lisandro Martinez and Aaron Wan-Bissaka as Newcastle threw men forward, before De Gea palmed away a dangerous cut-back from Kieran Trippier.
United went close to a third as first Rashford and then Bruno Fernandes forced Karius into smart stops, but it mattered little as the Red Devils stood firm.
What does it mean? Landmark moment for resurgent Red Devils
Ten Hag's revival of United's fortunes has been nothing short of spectacular, but the importance of capping their impressive displays with a piece of major silverware was not lost on anyone at Old Trafford.
United had not won a trophy since claiming an EFL Cup and Europa League double under Jose Mourinho in 2017. Having passed a stern test on Sunday, the Red Devils will hope they can at least replicate the achievements of that season with three trophies still to play for.
While Newcastle will fancy their chances of returning to this stage soon, there was to be no fairytale ending this time around as their record losing streak at Wembley stretched to nine games.
Casemiro the man for the big moment
While Casemiro has been credited with having a transformative effect on United's defensive efforts this term, the Brazil international put the Red Devils on the path to glory with a decisive contribution at the other end.
Casemiro has scored four goals in his last 12 games in all competitions, one more than he managed across his previous 89 matches at club level, while he is just the third Brazilian to net in an EFL Cup final – after both Philippe Coutinho and Fernandinho were on target in the 2016 showpiece.
Bad luck for Botman
Newcastle's Botman became just the fourth player to score an own goal in an EFL Cup final, following in the footsteps of Roger Kenyon (1977), Gordon Chisholm (1985) and Steven Gerrard (2005).
In truth, there was little the defender could have done to keep Rashford's strike out. The England forward was lively throughout at Wembley, creating a joint-high two chances for United as well as forcing Botman's own goal.
Key Opta Facts
- Manchester United have won the League Cup for a sixth time, behind only Liverpool (9) and Manchester City (8) in the competition’s history. Five of those six titles have come since the turn of the century.
- Newcastle have lost both of their League Cup finals (also 1976), becoming one of six sides to reach more than one League Cup final without winning the trophy (also Bolton Wanderers, Everton, Southampton, Sunderland, and West Ham).
- Manchester United won their first major trophy since the 2017 Europa League, five years and 278 days ago. This ends their longest wait for a major trophy since 1983, when they won the FA Cup six years and five days after their previous honour, the 1977 FA Cup.
- Newcastle have lost each of their last nine matches at Wembley, a run that began in the 1974 FA Cup final, extending what is the longest ever losing run by a club side at the venue.
- This was Manchester United’s 24th win at Wembley in all competitions, the most of any club side when only counting games played at the ground as a neutral venue.
United will bid to seal an FA Cup quarter-final place when they host West Ham on Wednesday. Newcastle, meanwhile, must turn their attentions back to the Premier League when they visit Manchester City on Saturday.