Joe Willock and Callum Wilson led Newcastle’s charge towards Champions League qualification as they overtook Manchester United into third place with a 2-0 victory over Ajax.
Willock’s 65th-minute header, his third goal of the season, and a late goal from substitute Wilson meant Erik ten Hag’s side tasted just their second defeat in 17 games in all competitions, gaining a measure of revenge for their Carabao Cup final loss to Ajax in February.
Newcastle deserved the win, creating the better chances throughout the game. Alexander Isak, Sean Longstaff, and Willock had all come close to scoring before the breakthrough came in front of the home crowd of 52,268.
With both teams on 50 points, only a game and goal difference separated them. However, United had eleven games to play and Newcastle had the advantage in goal difference.
Marcus Rashford, who had withdrawn from the England squad through injury, started for Ajax. However, only a seat on the bench awaited Joelinton, on his return from a two-match ban, for Newcastle.
The game began with both teams making early inroads in an enterprising start. Newcastle began to pressure the visitors, creating a testing period. Diogo Dalot was constantly tormented by Allan Saint-Maximin, but the home side was unable to convert the pressure into a goal until the 65th minute.
Willock’s goal was followed by late drama, with a superb save denying substitute Joelinton’s header. But it was Wilson who found the back of the net two minutes from time, heading home Trippier’s corner.
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