Van Nistelrooy scores hat-trick

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Ruud Van Nistelrooy scored three goals as Manchester United demolished Newcastle 5-3 at Old Trafford, with an unfamiliar lineup dominating for a much needed win

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:28 IST
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Ruud Van Nistelrooy scored three goals as Manchester United demolished Newcastle 5-3 at Old Trafford for a much-needed win. Alan Shearer scored his 100th Premier League goal for Newcastle, a landmark he also achieved with Blackburn. But even with Olivier Bernard's freak goal and a Craig Bellamy header, the Magpies could not end a 30-year winless streak at Old Trafford. United also scored through Paul Scholes and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer in a side missing most of its first choice midfield. It was only United's second win in six league matches. Today's match was the first time two soccer managers given knighthoods had been pitted against each other. United's Alex Ferguson received the royal honour in 1999, while Newcastle manager Bobby Robson was knighted on November 21. Today's early game gave United 26 points. Leader Arsenal (32 points) travels to Southampton and second place Liverpool (31 points) plays Fulham. Third place Chelsea (26 points) plays Bolton and in-form Everton (26) seeks its sixth straight win, with a match against bottom club West Bromwich Albion. On a newly laid pitch at Old Trafford, the scoring started in the 25th minute. Solksjaer took two touches before crossing the ball back for Scholes to chip past Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given. Newcastle equalized in freakish fashion nine minutes later. Newcastle's Olivier Bernard hit the ball, which ricocheted off United defender John O'Shea. Bernard collected the rebound and lofted the ball onto the inside corner of the goal post where it bounced past the reaching arms of United 'keeper Fabien Barthez. Van Nistelrooy scored his first goal in the 37th minute, heading home at close range from a Mikael Silvestre lobbed cross. The Dutchman added his second in first half injury time, with Silvestre again the key. The Frenchman passed to Diego Forlan, who turned to aim his cross at Van Nistelrooy, who was waiting to score in the box. Newcastle pulled back to 3-2 in the second half, when Shearer scored in the 51st minute with a free kick into the top corner of the net. The 32-year-old former England captain is the only person to have scored 100 goals for two Premier League clubs. But Newcastle celebrations barely lasted for a minute later Van Nistelrooy scored his hat-trick and his 50th goal for United, heading home a Forlan cross. Solksjaer then collected a Forlan through ball to beat Given one-on-one. Cruising at 5-2, Ferguson took off Van Nistelrooy and defender Laurent Blanc, replacing them with young players Kieron Richardson and Lee Roche. Newcastle then scored again to make it 5-3 in the 73rd minute. Bellamy headed the goal from a headed Shearer cross. (AP)

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