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Man United beats Newcastle 3-0 in Premier League

(AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

NEWCASTLE, England (AP) Manchester United ruthlessly exploited lackluster defending by Newcastle to win 3-0 away on Sunday and move to a share of second place with rival Manchester City in the Premier League.

Jonny Evans powered home a header from Robin van Persie's corner in the eighth minute at St. James' Park before another corner, from Wayne Rooney, found an unmarked Patrice Evra in the 15th to cap an explosive start by Alex Ferguson's side.

After weathering some Newcastle pressure, United added a third through Tom Cleverley in the 71st when his long looping shot proved too much for goalkeeper Steve Harper.

"It was a great result," Ferguson said. "To come here and win 3-0 against a very powerful and aggressive Newcastle, you have to really perform.

"Today we were on top of our game. The concentration was terrific and the determination was there."

United and City have 15 points, four behind Chelsea after seven games.

A clean sheet was also welcome to United, whose injury-hit defense has been heavily criticized in recent weeks. The two opening goals came from defenders and there were strong performances by central defenders Rio Ferdinand and Evans in particular.

"It's a great result," Rooney said. "Everyone knows this is probably one of the hardest games of the season. We came here, defended brilliantly. We fully deserved the victory.

"The first six games of the season, we haven't defended well enough - not just the back four, the whole team, and today we were brilliant against a physical team."

Newcastle came closest when Demba Ba's header came back off the bar and Papiss Cisse's follow-up was clawed away by United goalkeeper David De Gea just before it could cross the line.

"Probably the turning point was whether the ball went in or not and probably from the replay, it didn't," Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said.

"We conceded two from set-plays and you can't give teams like Manchester United a two-goal lead."

Updated October 7, 2012

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