Man United wins League Cup to end 6-year wait for trophy

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Manchester United's Casemiro reacts during the English League Cup final soccer match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

LONDON – Manchester United’s six-year wait for a trophy is over after beating Newcastle 2-0 to win the League Cup on Sunday.

United manager Erik ten Hag has wasted no time in guiding the club to silverware just 10 months after being hired.

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Casemiro headed United in front in the 33rd minute of the final at Wembley Stadium and Sven Botman's own-goal made it 2-0 in the 39th.

It is United’s first trophy since winning a League Cup and Europa League double under Jose Mourinho in 2017.

The victory keeps alive Ten Hag’s four-pronged challenge this season, with his team in contention for the Premier League title and still competing in both the Europa League and FA Cup.

For Newcastle, the wait for a first major domestic trophy since winning the FA Cup in 1955 goes on.

The Saudi Arabian-backed club mounted a fightback in the second half, but could not find a breakthrough goal, with David de Gea keeping a club record 181st clean sheet for United.

While Ten Hag and United's fans will have their sights on bigger prizes than the League Cup, it could prove to be an important platform to build on after watching fierce rivals Manchester City and Liverpool dominate English soccer in recent years.

Newcastle arrived at Wembley also hoping for a first major trophy since Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund bought the club in 2021.

The sense of anticipation from both sets of supporters was unmistakable ahead of kickoff, with each hoping to see an end to their respective trophy droughts as Newcastle fans waved a sea of black-and-white flags against the opposing red scarves of United.

United has not had to wait anything like as long as Newcastle for major success. In terms of the club’s storied past, though, a six-year run has felt like a crisis to fans brought up on iconic former manager Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering teams.

There is growing belief among the club's fans that Ten Hag can bring back the glory years and he has certainly made an impressive start by delivering a trophy at the earliest possible point.

His team looked on course for victory from the moment Casemiro headed them in front when rising to meet Luke Shaw’s curled free kick.

For a man who has won it all with Real Madrid, including five Champions League titles, Casemiro's delight at opening the scoring at Wembley was clear to see as he ran to the corner to celebrate with a broad smile on his face.

Perhaps there was also an element of relief given Newcastle had come close to taking the lead just before that goal when Alain Saint-Maximin’s close-range shot was blocked by De Gea.

It was 2-0 to United shortly before halftime when Wout Weghorst played in Marcus Rashford on the left.

The in-form forward miscued his shot, but Botman's attempted block saw the ball fly beyond Newcastle goalkeeper Loris Karius.

Rashford ran away in celebration, but it was adjudged to be an own-goal.

Newcastle's players tried to force their way back into the match in the second half and made United retreat at times.

However, De Gea was not to be beaten and Bruno Fernandes might have extended United's lead late when denied by Karius.

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James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

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