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Player ratings as Los Blancos win in Bilbao

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Real Madrid secured their first La Liga win since 30 December by beating Athletic Club 2-0 at San Mames, ensuring Barcelona’s lead at the top of the table remains just three points.

The Catalans had put pressure on their Madrid rivals earlier on Sunday evening by landing a narrow win against Getafe to at least temporarily open up a six-point gap.

But Real responded in kind on their travels to the Basque region of Spain.

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Carlo Ancelotti’s side were beaten by Villarreal in their last La Liga fixture way back on 7 December and have been exclusively in Supercopa de Espana and Cope del Rey action since then.

Having seen off Villarreal in the Copa in midweek to right the wrongs of their league defeat, Real came into this game in Bilbao needing to win.

Big chances were relatively few and far between and it was actually Athletic who tried their luck more freely. That being said, all but three of their 18 efforts were off target and didn’t bother Thibaut Courtois. Real themselves only had four shots on target but were much more clinical.

Los Blancos took the lead midway through the first half when Karim Benzema scored a stunning left-footed volley on the swivel. Marco Asensio gets credited for the assist, but it wasn’t a particularly great header down and it was definitely all Benzema’s work.

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Both sides had been feeling each other out, trading half chances before that. But the goal did seem to lift Real and Athletic backed down, nor could they particularly rouse themselves at the start of the second and Nacho should have doubled the lead at the hour with two chances one after the other.

Athletic started to pull themselves together a little more as the half continued, yet it was Real who were still closest to scoring next. This time, Asensio was guilty of missing the target from a good position when all he had to do was slot it past Unai Simon.

Nico Williams went on to squander a chance at the far post, while Athletic did later have the ball in the net from Inaki Williams, only to be ruled out by an offside flag. The hosts were then pushing hard for an equaliser, rediscovering their earlier energy, but the hammer blow from Real came courtesy of substitute Toni Kroos in the final moment when he converted a low shot from 20 yards.

GK: Simon (5); RB: De Marcos (6), CB: Vivian (6), CB: Paredes (6), LB: Berchiche (7); CM: Zarraga (7), CM: Vesga (6); RM: N. Williams (6), AM: Sancet (6), LM: Berengeur (6); ST: I. Williams (6)

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Substitutes

Guruzeta (6), Herrera (6), Muniain (6), Lekue (6), Garcia (N/A)

GK: Courtois (8); RB: Nacho (7), CB: Militao (7), CB: Rudiger (7), LB: Mendy (7); CM: Valverde (7), CM: Camavinga (7), CM: Ceballos (6); RW: Asensio (7), ST: Benzema (8), LW: Vinicius Jr (7)

Substitutes

Modrid (5), Rodrygo (7), Kroos (7)

Player of the match – Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)



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EPL

When did the Magpies last win a cup?

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Newcastle are planning for success at the highest level following the 2021 takeover by a consortium of the Saudi Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners, and David and Jamie Reuben.

On-pitch fortunes have turned around pretty drastically since Mike Ashley’s departure, with Eddie Howe coming in as manager and the likes of Bruno Guimaraes, Sven Botman and Alexander Isak all arriving for big transfer fees.

The squad’s aim in the near future will be to break the trophy duck the club has endured for many years now. They’re well set in the 2022/23 Carabao Cup, but when was the last time the Magpies brought silverware back to Tyne and Wear?

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Newcastle have not won a domestic trophy since 1955. They did earn silverware in 2009/10 and 2016/17 for winning the Championship, while their European honours are the 1968/69 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1973 and the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2006.

The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup is naturally seen as a predecessor to the UEFA Cup and now Europa League, though the tournament itself did not fall under UEFA jurisdiction. As such, it is not seen as prestigious in the modern age, though Newcastle fans of a certain vintage will almost certainly disagree.

In 1955, the Magpies defeated Manchester City to win their sixth FA Cup. Strikes from Jackie Milburn, Bobby Mitchell and George Hannah gave them victory despite Bobby Johnstone’s equaliser in the verge of half time.

Newcastle have been a consistent feature in the top league in England since the club was founded in 1892. Four league titles and six FA Cups help make the Magpies the ninth-most decorated team with trophies in England.

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Newcastle have never won the League Cup, their closest run being a runners-up finish to Manchester City in 1975/76. They were beaten as strikes from Peter Barnes and Dennis Tueart made Alan Gowling’s equaliser redundant.

They have never won the Premier League in its current format, having come closest in 1995/96 and 1996/97 when they came second behind Manchester United on both occasions.

Newcastle came close to lifting the FA Cup on two occasions in the late 1990s, reaching the finals in 1998 and 1999. However, they came up against English giants Arsenal and Man Utd respectively and they couldn’t make the step up in either final.

Arsenal proved too strong in 1998 as strikes from Marc Overmars and Nicolas Anelka separated the two sides, while another 2-0 defeat came a year later when Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes downed Alan Shearer and co.

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Man Utd close to signing Marcel Sabitzer on loan from Bayern Munich

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Man Utd are close to signing Marcel Sabitzer from Bayern Munich on a loan deal until the end of the season, 90min has learned.

United have moved for Sabitzer on transfer deadline day following the news that Christian Eriksen will be out until late April or early May with an ankle injury sustained in the FA Cup win over Reading on Saturday.

The Dane’s injury leaves United light in the midfield department, with Donny van de Beek also out for the remainder of the season with an injury of his own.

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Sabitzer, 28, boarded a flight to Manchester from Munich on Tuesday evening after an agreement of a straight loan deal was largely fleshed out between the two clubs, and the player has also agreed personal terms. 90min reported earlier in the day that Sabitzer was “very excited” about the potential move to Old Trafford.

The club were not planning to move for a new player prior to the deadline, though the severity of Eriksen’s injury has convinced Erik ten Hag to push for United to act, as they chase a place in the Premier League’s top four and attempt to win their first trophy since 2017. They are currently competing on four fronts.

United have until 11pm GMT to push through the transfer before the deadline, though could request a short extension from the Premier League to complete the deal if necessary.

On this deadline day edition of TPL, Scott Saunders & Rob Blanchette discuss Man Utd’s move for Marcel Sabitzer. If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast, and subscribe on YouTube!

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List of titles in Magpies history as they chase Carabao Cup 2023

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Newcastle United fans are certainly enjoying their season so far as they fight it out for a place in the Champions League places, but things could get even better as they remain in the mix for a trophy.

The Magpies are in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup and they have got a 1-0 lead over Southampton to take into the second leg. They are likely to be facing Manchester United should they reach the final, a team in direct competition with them for a top-four place.

When was the last time that Newcastle fans were able to cheer their team being the champions of something?

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The most recent time that Newcastle fans were able to celebrate a trophy was in 2017, although it was one that they wish they weren’t contesting in the first place. They got back into the Premier League by winning the Championship in the 2016/17 season.

You’ll have to be chatting to some of the much older Newcastle fans to here stories about Newcastle winning the FA Cup, though. Their last silverware recognised as a major trophy was back in 1969 when the Magpies lifted the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup – which is these days known as the Europa League.

Whilst Newcastle fans may be set for a lot more success in the near future, it is a very long time since their fans travelled down to Wembley en masse for a cup final. That was back in 1999 when they were beaten 2-0 by Manchester United in the FA Cup final.

That is why heading down for a potential Carabao Cup final would be a first for so many of the current Newcastle fan base and they would certainly be travelling in great numbers.

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For the League Cup itself, they have only been in that final one time before. That was in 1976 and it also ended in defeat, this time to Manchester City.

Newcastle have not exactly sailed through to the semi-final of the Carabao Cup. They needed a penalty shoot-out to knock out Crystal Palace before narrowly beating Bournemouth 1-0.

The quarter-final was more simple as they beat Leicester City 2-0, and a dramatic game in the semi-final first leg at St Mary’s ended 1-0. They are certainly the favourites to get through to the final with Southampton struggling for form.

The Saints have found a safe haven in the cup competitions but they will have their work cut out to turn it around at St James’ Park.

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Considering Manchester United beat Nottingham Forest 3-0 away from home in their semi-final first leg, you’d think that they are the team waiting for either Newcastle or Southampton at Wembley.



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