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Manchester United hold on to beat Newcastle 3-2 in home finale

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Amad Diallo scored his first Premier League goal and assisted on another to power Manchester United to a 3-2 victory over Newcastle United on Wednesday at Old Trafford in a battle between teams fighting for a European berth next season.

Erik ten Hag’s team remained eighth in the table but level on 57 points with seventh-placed Newcastle. Chelsea are sixth on 60 points after beating Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 earlier on Wednesday to take a big step toward clinching a European berth.

“Obviously the job isn’t finished yet,” Manchester United skipper Bruno Fernandes told Sky Sports. “We still have one game in the Premier League then the biggest game of the season, the FA Cup final (on May 25 against holders Manchester City).

“It has been a tough season,” he added. “The table shows that and we are all aware of that. The fans have been amazing and behind us all season. We all appreciate what they have been doing for us. We want to do better and do differently and (the fans) deserve that.”

Kobbie Mainoo capitalised on Newcastle’s appalling defence to get the home side on the scoreboard in the 31st minute. Diallo spotted the 19-year-old unmarked near the penalty spot and Mainoo — kept onside by a half-asleep Kieran Trippier — turned and fired home.

Anthony Gordon drew Newcastle level in the 49th minute when he slid to stab in a cross from Jacob Murphy. But Diallo put Ten Hag’s team back on top eight minutes later when Fernandes’ corner was headed out, and Diallo, prowling alone just inside the 18-yard-box rifled in a shot which keeper Martin Dubravka had little chance of saving.

Rasmus Hojlund, who entered the game in the 82nd minute, scored two minutes later when he cut inside two defenders and slotted home from 16 yards, holding up a finger as if to silence the crowd.

Newcastle’s Lewis Hall pulled one back in injury time, but Ten Hag’s men held on to end one of the most miserable home seasons in years with a victory.

Ten Hag addressed the Old Trafford crowd after the game, thanking them for being the “best supporters in the world.”

“As you know it wasn’t an easy season, but one thing remained constant and that was the backing of you for the team,” Ten Hag, whose job has been the subject of speculation amid his team’s struggles this season, said to cheers from the red-clad crowd.

“This season is not over yet. First we go to Brighton where we travel for three points (on the final day of the season on Sunday) and then we go to Wembley. And I promise you those players will give everything to get that cup and bring it to Old Trafford.”

If Ten Hag’s men win the FA Cup, they will play in the Europa League next season. However, if they fail to win the Cup, they will need to finish seventh to secure a place in the Europa Conference League.

Manchester United, who have never finished lower than seventh in the Premier League, need to better Newcastle’s result at Brentford on Sunday to move up to seventh place.

Both teams had numerous scoring chances and Newcastle screamed for a penalty late in the first half after Gordon was taken down in the box in a tackle that left a gaping hole in the back of his sock. After a VAR review, no penalty was given.

“I don’t understand the point in VAR? (Sofyan) Amrabat fouled me and it’s a clear penalty,” Anthony told Sky. “Get rid (of VAR) or get better.”

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