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Inexperienced United keep European hopes alive with victory over Newcaslte

Amad Diallo's rocket and Rasmus Hojlund’s fine finish secured Manchester United and under-fire Erik ten Hag a much-needed win against fellow European hopefuls Newcastle in their final home match of a season to forget.

The injury-ravaged Red Devils have lost 19 in all competitions this term and knew defeat on Wednesday would set unwanted records, as well as end any hope of continental qualification through the Premier League.

But as United’s new decision-makers Ineos consider how to turn the club around, there was a glimpse of what could have been – and perhaps could yet still be – under Ten Hag as they ran out 3-2 victors against Newcastle.

It was far from perfect but Kobbie Mainoo put United into a deserved lead midway through a first half that saw Anthony Gordon’s penalty appeals rejected and a Dan Burn header cleared off the line by Casemiro.

Gordon drew Newcastle level early in the second half and Sofyan Amrabat’s block sent an Alexander Isak strike looping onto the bar as Ten Hag’s team wobbled, only for Diallo to laser the hosts back ahead.

Recently criticised substitute Hojlund drove home a third as the clock wound down, meaning Lewis Hall's wonderful stoppage-time strike was only a consolation.

The win puts eighth-placed United level on 53 points with Newcastle in seventh, but they are well behind on goal difference heading into the final day of the season.

It was a thrilling end to a game that began with Amrabat helping to save the blushes of makeshift centre-back Casemiro, who acrobatically hooked narrowly over once the hosts settled.

Scott McTominay and Diallo soon got away efforts on Martin Dubravka’s goal, before the Newcastle goalkeeper stopped Alejandro Garnacho at his near post after fine link-up with returning

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