Newcastle United Demolish Paris Saint-Germain In Historic Champions League Night On Tyneside
Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United side had a night for the ages as they dismantled a fragile PSG side 4-1.
Whilst the sides had never met competitively before, tonight’s encounter turned into an instant classic as Miguel Almiron, Dan Burn, Sean Longstaff and Fabian Schär bagged a goal each in front of a frenzied St. James’ Park.
Lucas Hernández snatched one back for the French side through a well-timed run and a flicked-on header, it provided no consolation for Luis Enrique’s side who seem cursed in this competition.
The Toon At Their Best
This match was the first time in 20 years that Champions League football made its way back to Newcastle.
In the last European game at St. James’ Park, Alan Shearer led his team out to eventually lose 2-0 to Barcelona.
This time round, the Premier League’s top goalscorer was watching eagerly from the stands as a new era began for Newcastle United.
Pre-kick-off, the atmosphere was a mixture of awe and exhilaration. Black and white flags fluttered in the face of a star-studded PSG side who were Champions League regulars.
Nevertheless, any Geordie nerves were settled in the 17th minute by fan favourite Almirón. The first 10 minutes of the game saw a tactical stand-off between the sides as PSG’s backline welcomed Newcastle’s press in an attempt to play through them and unleash their agile front four including the likes of Kylian Mbappé and summer signing Ousmane Dembélé.
The PSG’s plan, however, did not last long. In an attempt to beat the sustained Newcastle press, Marquinhos’ chipped pass was easily intercepted and fell for Alexander Isak whose shot was parried away into Almirón’s path. A snappy finish from the Paraguayan back across Gianluigi Donnarumma ignited St. James’ Park into a state of ecstasy.
Newcastle had done the unthinkable and took the lead in this David versus Goliath match-up.
Infused with energy by the now booming home crowd, Newcastle increased the pressure on the already destabilised PSG defence.
From a neat set piece, chaos ensued in the PSG box. A whirlwind of limbs left Donnarumma scrambling from one post to another. After two instinctive saves from the PSG goalkeeper, the Italian shot-stopper still managed to get a firm hand on Dan Burn’s stooping header only to do so after the ball had crossed into the PSG goal.
Further Geordie excitement was put on pause by a lengthy VAR check. The subject, a potential handball by Jamaal Lascelles and Bruno Guimarães potentially being in an offside position in the build-up.
Lascelles’ incident was deemed ball to hand and so could not detract from the goal as he was not the scoring player. Further, Guimarães’ fears of offside were quashed by an outstretched Marquinhos leg, whose night went from bad to worse. The automated offside used in the Champions League proved fair and effective, far from the conclusion in the Tottenham vs Liverpool fiasco.
Newcastle led 2-0 at half-time, leaving PSG manager Luis Enrique with a disgruntled team who had very little attacking output to show for their extra attacker advantage.
The Parisians’ Poor Performance In Tyneside
PSG needing to make an immediate start were swarmed by Newcastle once again.
Donnarumma this time was not at his shot-stopping best as he let a low Sean Longstaff shot trickle under his arm to bolster the Newcastle lead to three. The homegrown academy product had upstaged the PSG elite whose chances at a comeback looked slim.
Hernández showed a glimpse of PSG’s capabilities six minutes later, nodding Warren Zaïre-Emery’s cross past Nick Pope, but apart from this, PSG’s attack looked lacklustre and unimaginative.
Dembélé was continually shrugged off the ball and Mbappé was picked up by several players anytime he entered a dangerous position. Newcastle’s game management was superb as the team sunk into a compressed defensive shape to see out the remaining minutes.
The Newcastle dream had slowly become reality as PSG’s already diminished hopes faded further into additional time. It was not too late however for centre-back Fabian Schär to unleash a curling effort from the edge of the box that nestled perfectly into the top corner.
The Champions League upset was complete and Tyneside erupted for the fourth time. Mbappé was particularly inconsolably having scurried quickly down the tunnel to escape the immensity of the atmosphere.
Charlie Adam once said this Newcastle side would be lucky to get a point from their Champions League group stage fixtures. They now have four and sit top of the ‘Group of Death”.
Next up, Eddie Howe’s men welcome Dortmund to St. James’ Park on October 25th in Matchday Three of the UEFA Champions League.
DubSports’ Man of the Match: This must go to the mighty Dan Burn. A superman-like header to solidify Newcastle’s lead and a brilliant defensive display handling Ousmane Dembélé. Not a bad day in the office.
Newcastle United’s XI: Pope, Trippier, Lascelles, Schär, Burn, Longstaff, Bruno Guimarães, Tonali (Anderson 65′), Almirón (Murphy 71’), Isak, Gordan (Targett 90+3′)
Paris Saint-Germain’s XI: Donnarumma, Hakimi, Marquinhos, Skriniar, Hernández, Ugarte (Vitinha 64’), Zaïre-Emery, Dembélé, Kolo Muani (Barcola 57′), Ramos, Mbappé
Check out Alex Driscoll’s Champions League predictions to see if he got this score right, alongside his guesses for the other fixtures.
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