SHEFFIELD, England (Reuters) – An early header by Allan Saint-Maximin and a controversial Jonjoy Shelvey goal gave Newcastle United a smash-and-grab 2-0 win at Sheffield United in the Premier League on Thursday.
French forward Saint-Maximin fired the visitors ahead in the 15th minute and Shelvey netted in the 70th after Andy Carroll, who nodded the ball into his path, was initially ruled offside, only for a VAR check to let the goal stand.
The VAR review confirmed Carroll was onside but Shelvey raced clear and steered the ball past goalkeeper Dean Henderson after the linesman had raised his flag and the home team’s defenders went with the on-pitch decision.
While the freakish goal is likely to stir up more debate on the use of VAR, the evening’s plaudits will go to Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka who pulled off a string of superb saves to keep the Blades at bay.
Saint-Maximin got on the end of Javier Manquillo’s cross against the run of play as Dubravka kept frustrating the home side, having denied Oliver McBurnie and Enda Stevens before he palmed away a ferocious Oliver Norwood free kick.
Dubravka tipped over a close-range McBurnie header and with the home team’s onslaught fizzing out, Shelvey took advantage to confirm United’s first league defeat in eight games and lift Newcastle into mid-table.
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Xxxxx)