5 things we learnt from Newcastle's EFL Cup defeat to Hull
Newcastle United are out of the cup. Again.
Rafa Benitez's side were beaten on penalties by Hull City at the KCOM Stadium last night.
The two sides were level at 1-1 after extra-time, but a dreadful penalty shootout saw Newcastle exit the EFL Cup at the quarter-final stage.
But what did we learn?
1. Matz Sels still has a lot to prove at United
Rafa Benitez recalled Matz Sels to the starting XI for the game. But the summer signing had a forgettable night at the KCOM Stadium. Sels was at fault for Robert Snodgrass' 99th-minute equaliser, having parried a shot from Markus Henriksen. Sels wasn't able to stop any of Hull's three penalties, though he did get a hand to Tom Huddlestone's spot-kick. Newcastle might still be in the cup had Karl Darlow, so impressive in recent months, been in goal.
2. Achraaf Lazaar is close to a Championship call
One surprise in the starting XI was the inclusion of Achraf Lazaar. The left-back – who had a spell out with an Achilles problem – showed glimpses of his potential as he got up and down the pitch on what was only his second start for the club. He also hit the bar. The 24-year-old, having put his injury behind him, showed enough to suggest he could well have a more significant role to play in the second half of the club's Championship campaign.
3. Newcastle STILL don't do penalties
Newcastle, like England, are historically bad at penalties. The club has only ever won one penalty shootout, and that came a decade ago against Watford. That record didn't look like it was going to improve when Jonjo Shelvey placed the club's first kick into the arms of Eldin Jakupovic. Of United's four penalty-takers, only Christian Atsu found the net. After the game, Rafa Benitez revealed his team hadn't practiced penalties ahead of the tie.
4. Hull should have given United more tickets
There were just 2,474 Newcastle fans inside the KCOM Stadium last night. And there were also almost 9,000 empty seats. The quarter-final tie attracted a crowd of just 16,243, despite ticket prices starting at just Â£9. Hull turned down United's request for a bigger ticket allocation. Unquestionably, Newcastle could easily have taken twice as many fans. Hull had their reasons, but it wasn't the occasion it could have been.
5. Even Dwight Gayle can have a quiet night
Dwight Gayle, the Championship's leading scorer, forced a good first-half save from Eldin Jakupovic, but otherwise Gayle had a quiet night, though he did set up Mohamed Diame's goal. That said, Newcastle created enough chances to have comfortably won the game. But Hull, often defending deep and in numbers, denied Gayle the space he craved in behind them, and United's most potent attacking weapon had a frustrating night on Humberside.