Ghana midfielder Christian Atsu continued his fine form in the first game of 2019 when Newcastle United lost 2-0 to Manchester United at St. James' Park on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old, who returned from injury against Watford last weekend, played full throttle for Rafael Benitez's men as they succumbed to an eight home defeat this season, with Manchester United making it four victories in a row under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjar.
Atsu came close to opening the scoring by the 12th minute after latching onto a long pass from Fabian Schar but his effort was saved by David de Gea. Two minutes later, the former FC Porto winger wasted another opportunity to put the hosts in front after being played through by Solomon Rondon.
Substitute Romelu Lukaku, who came on for Anthony Martial, broke the deadlock by the 64th minute following a howler by Newcastle goalkeeper Paul Dummet. The shot-stopper spilled a free-kick from Marcus Rashford, with Lukaku scoring from the rebound on his first touch.
On 75th minute, Atsu almost levelled the score-line when he sent in a powerful shot from outside the box following a rebound from Jonjo Shelvy's free-kick.
Fifteen minutes later, Rashford made the hosts' rued their missed chances as he doubled United's advantage with a simple finish from Alexis Sanchez's assist.
Atsu has made 14 appearances this term including seven starts for Newcastle who will host Blackburn Rovers on Saturday in the FA Cup fourth round before facing Chelsea in the Premier League on January 12.