Newcastle United January striker transfer spotted, Alan Shearer’s ‘assist’ & second red card – moments missed
Newcastle United reached a first major tournament final in 24 years with a 2-1 Carabao Cup semi-final win over Southampton at St James’s Park.
Newcastle took a 1-0 advantage from the first leg into the match on Tuesday evening and quickly put the tie to bed with two goals from Sean Longstaff inside the opening 21 minutes to make it 3-0 on aggregate. Che Adams pulled a goal back for Southampton shortly afterwards and a late red card for Bruno Guimaraes set up a slightly nervous end to the match but The Magpies were still able to secure a spot at Wembley with a 3-1 win on aggregate.
Here are some ‘moments missed’ from the match…
Newcastle United owners’ surprise special guest
Ahead of the match, there was an instantly recognisable face spotted sat alongside Newcastle co-owners Amanda Staveley, Mehrdad Ghodoussi and Jamie Reuben in the director’s box – but not one you’d ever associate with the club.
Hollywood actor and television star Idris Elba was at St James’s Park watching on as DJ Schak played his pre-match set and new signings Anthony Gordon and Harrison Ashby were presented to the near sell-out crowd before the game got under way.
Although some frustrated Newcastle fans not fortunate enough to get tickets questioned how Elba, who is an Arsenal fan, was able to secure a ticket to the hottest match of the season so far. But it's hard to say no to Stringer Bell and John Luther himself!
An assist for Alan Shearer?
It had been four years since Sean Longstaff scored a competitive goal at St James's Park. The 25-year-old has seen a number of big chances go begging in recent matches but remained confident that the goals would eventually come for him.
And it took him just five minutes to get on the scoresheet in Newcastle’s biggest game of the season so far as he stroked the ball home from a Kieran Trippier pass. Longstaff was in the right place at the right time shortly after to double The Magpies’ advantage on the night with a clinical first-time finish that Alan Shearer would have been proud of.
United's record goalscorer was in attendance at St James's Park on Tuesday night having recently spoken to Longstaff on the phone to offer some goalscoring advice.
“Sean rang me for a chat and I just told him not to be so precise and not to worry about picking spots,” Shearer told The Athletic. “You can overthink things. The key is to hit it and to hit the target. I told him, ‘You’ll score eventually, believe me. As long as you keep getting in those positions, it will happen’.”
And happen it did, twice!
The record ends
There was an unusual feeling when Southampton pulled a goal back shortly after Longstaff had made it 2-0 on the night. Adams’ well-hit strike from distance arrowed into the bottom left corner of the goal.
Not only was it the first goal Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope had conceded in 11 matches, it was the first first-half goal the club had conceded since Ruben Neves found the net for Wolverhampton Wanderers back in August.
Eddie Howe’s side had kept 21 consecutive first-half clean sheets in all competitions since then, but that run finally came to an end on Tuesday night.
Southampton’s red card
Something that may have gone unnoticed came at half-time as Southampton coach Alan Sheehan was sent off by referee Paul Tierney for alleged foul and abusive language. It’s not clear exactly what the Saints coach was protesting but it was enough to see him get his marching orders.
There was a late red card on the pitch following a VAR check for Newcastle’s talismanic midfielder Bruno Guimaraes. The Brazilian was initially shown a yellow card for a late challenge on Samuel Edozie but VAR intervention highlighted a high stamp from the 25-year-old who was shown the first red card of his career.
He will now miss the upcoming Premier League matches against West Ham United, Bournemouth and Liverpool before returning just in time for the final at Wembley Stadium on February 26.
Dan Burn’s ‘Gazza’ moment
Dan Burn was Newcastle's hero in the previous round against Leicester City but it was another local lad in Longstaff who took the spotlight this time out. But the Geordie passion and enthusiasm was still on full show from the defender on and off the pitch as he interrupted Longstaff’s post-match interview with NUFC TV.
Burn grabbed the microphone off Longstaff and stated: "I'm happy, I’m happy, I’m gan to get me suit measured – come on the lads!”
At 6ft 6in, Burn may well need to get his suit measured for Wembley. Nonetheless, it was a clear tribute to one of Tyneside’s most acclaimed footballers Paul Gascoigne, who after scoring a free-kick in the 1991 FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal said: "I'm away to get me suit measured!”
Newcastle United January departure says his goodbyes along with Jonjo Shelvey and Karl Darlow
Jonjo Shelvey waved goodbye to the St James’s Park crowd and got involved in the post-match team photo prior to his deadline day transfer to Nottingham Forest getting announced. It was a fitting send-off for the midfielder after seven years at the club.
Karl Darlow also said goodbye after being named on the bench for the match and securing a loan move to Hull City shortly afterwards. But there was another player who remained mostly unseen that was involved in the celebrations behind the scenes – Chris Wood.
The striker completed a loan move to Nottingham Forest with an obligation to buy earlier in January but returned to St James's Park on Tuesday night to cheer his former team-mates onto Wembley and bid a proper farewell.
Wood’s new team-mates will be hoping to cause a cup upset and overturn a 3-0 deficit against Manchester United at Old Trafford and set-up a Carabao Cup final meeting with The Magpies.