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BBC Five Live's Ian Brown
"It was a gentle stroll for Sir Alex's team"
 real 14k

Sir Alex Ferguson
"You're always apprehensive in your first match"
 real 14k

Bobby Robson
"Fortunately you only have to come to Man United once a season"
 real 14k

Sunday, 20 August, 2000, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
Fergie's men on the march
Ronny Johnsen heads home United's opening goal
Ronny Johnsen heads home United's opening goal
Manchester United 2-0 Newcastle United

Manchester United sent a chilling warning to those hoping to steal their Premiership crown with a massive show of authority against Newcastle United.

United threw down the gauntlet to their rivals as they demonstrated their hunger for silverware remains as great as ever.

Newcastle's slim hopes that Manchester United might suffer some early season rustiness were swept aside in front of an ecstatic crowd.

Norwegian defender Ronny Johnsen put his months of injury misery behind him by breaking the first half deadlock.

And following a series of narrow escapes, United finally added to their tally when Andy Cole struck after the interval.

It was exactly the sort of display manager Sir Alex Ferguson demanded from his players as they shook off the cobwebs of last Sunday's Charity Shield defeat against Chelsea.

United - in front of almost 68,000 fans at rebuilt Old Trafford - wasted no time in stamping their supremacy on Newcastle.

Alan Shearer and Carl Cort hinted at an early threat, but it was no surprise when Ferguson's champions took the lead after 20 minutes.

Ryan Giggs on the rampage
Ryan Giggs on the rampage
Newcastle were grateful to goalkeeper Shay Given when he produced a magnificent one-handed save after Jaap Stam met David Beckham's corner.

It was a brief reprieve as Johnsen met the next Beckham corner to head into the top corner via Given's hand.

Teddy Sheringham - in attack with Dwight Yorke on the bench after international duty with Trinidad and Tobago - should have extended United's advantage eight minutes later.

Cole pulled the ball to Sheringham after rounding Given, but he shot into the side-netting, wasting a glorious opportunity.

Newcastle were pinned in their own half with United on the rampage, and they had another let off when Giggs, who had been refused a clear penalty by referee Stephen Lodge, struck an upright with a left foot volley.

We were on song - just terrific. The first half performance was as good as a lot of the games last year
  Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson
Bobby Robson needed to act to stem the relentless red tide, and he responded in a positive manner by removing defender Alain Goma and sending on England midfield man Kieron Dyer.

It provoked Newcastle's first shot in anger, with Gary Speed's long range drive comfortably saved by Barthez seconds after the interval.

Given was Newcastle's hero again after 53 minutes when he made a brilliant save low to his right from Beckham's first time shot.

United's position was still not secure despite their supremacy, and Robert Lee tested Barthez - whose distribution was already proving a potent addition to the Old Trafford armoury - from the edge of the area.

The good thing about Manchester United is that we only play them once in the league at Old Trafford. Our season starts now
  Newcastle United manager Bobby Robson

Barthez faced his biggest test so far when Daniel Cordone turned and hit his shot towards goal, but the French World Cup winner swooped to his left to save.

Roy Keane asserts his authority
Roy Keane asserts his authority
Cole finally gave United the lead their superiority deserved after 68 minutes when he punished his former club with a crisp right foot finish after a link with Giggs.

It was his ninth goal against his former club, and no more than the champions deserved.

Ferguson sent out what almost might have been a psychological message to his title rivals late on when he replaced Cole and Sheringham with the not inconsiderable striking talents of Yorke and OIe Gunnar Solskjaer.

And United ended on cruise control as they conserved energy against a well beaten Newcastle side.

Manchester United: Barthez, G. Neville, P. Neville, Stam, Johnsen, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Cole, Sheringham, Giggs. Subs: Van Der Gouw, Wallwork, Yorke, Solskjaer, Fortune.

Newcastle United: Given, Barton, Marcelino, Goma, Lee, Shearer, Speed, Cort, Cordone, Hughes, Dabizas. Subs: Domi, Dyer, Harper, Solano, Charvet.

Referee: S Lodge (Barnsley)

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See also:

20 Aug 00 |  Eng Prem
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