- Southampton hosted Newcastle United in the first leg of the EFL semi-final clash
- Both sides needed a win to boost their chances of winning a silverware after a long-time
- Joelinton scored the sole goal of the match to put Newcastle ahead, heading to the second leg at St James’ Park
In their EFL Cup semifinal matchup versus Southampton, Newcastle United led 1-0 on aggregate thanks to Joelinton’s close-range goal.
Newcastle won the first leg of the match on Tuesday at St. Mary’s Stadium thanks to a goal from the Brazilian in the 73rd minute. Southampton, who had Duje Caleta-Car sent off late in the game, had an equalizer disallowed.
Joelinton’s first-half goal was contentiously overturned for handball, and just after the break, he squandered a wonderful opportunity. However, he made up for it by converting Alexander Isak’s cross.
Less than four minutes later, VAR prevented Adam Armstrong, a former Newcastle striker, from tying the score, and Caleta-second Car’s card severely diminished Southampton’s chances.
Early on, Joe Willock squandered two decent opportunities, first misfiring a volley off a cross from Kieran Trippier and then sending a reckless effort over the crossbar after nice work from Miguel Almiron.
When Newcastle failed to score their first goal, Willock was also involved. Joelinton received a parried shot from Gavin Bazunu, who controversially called him for handball as he scored on the rebound.
Seven minutes after the restart, Joelinton blew a golden opportunity when he strangely missed an open goal from six yards out.
After some outstanding work from Isak down the right, he finished into an open net on his next opportunity without making a mistake.
A dismal performance for the hosts was compounded when Caleta-Car was sent off for fouling Allan Saint-Maximin. Armstrong felt he had denied his old team with a sloppy finish, but a VAR review determined he had touched the ball.
Newcastle missed opportunities to increase their lead in extra time, but they know a draw in the second leg next week will be enough to secure their spot in the EFL Cup final for the first time since 1976.
Is Long trophy wait for Newcastle nearing an end?
While Champions League qualification is on the minds of some Newcastle fans thanks to their amazing Premier League season, winning a major domestic title after a 68-year absence is just as significant for the team’s success-starved following.
Eddie Howe’s team earned their victory at St. Mary’s, and there is now sincere optimism at St. James’ Park that they will emulate the achievements of Newcastle’s FA Cup champions from 1955 in the coming weeks.
Newcastle’s defensive sturdiness, a key aspect of their quest for a top-four Premier League finish, did not fail them on Tuesday.
Newcastle has maintained more clean sheets (16) than any other team in the top five leagues in Europe this season across all competitions. Just before Joelinton gave the visitors the lead, goalkeeper Nick Pope was once more outstanding, twice stopping Che Adams.
Additionally, they have had five shutouts in their previous six EFL Cup games. If they play similarly at St. James’ on Tuesday, they will advance to the Wembley Stadium final the following month.
On Saturday, Southampton will host Blackpool in the FA Cup fourth round before going to St. James’ Park for the second leg of this match.
Newcastle has a full week to prepare for the match after Sheffield Wednesday eliminated them from the FA Cup.