Steve Cooper criticises Newcastle United equaliser as midfielder reveals he was ‘close’ to Benfica move

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Newcastle United secured a huge three points last night as they narrowly beat Nottingham Forest with a very late goal from Alexander Isak. The Swede netted a brace to take the Magpies within a point of the Premier League’s top four.

Newcastle fought back from being 1-0 down to take the victory with a penalty in the dying moments of the game at the City Ground, with Isak taking his goal tally to six for the season. Eddie Howe’s side could now overtake Tottenham Hotspur if they were to win their game in hand over West Ham next month.

Here are the latest headlines from St. James’ Park...

Bruno Guimaraes on Benfica move

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Bruno Guimaraes has opened up on how close he was to joining Benfica earlier in his career. The midfielder almost joined the Portuguese club from Athletico Paranaense in 2020 but instead joined Lyon.

Guimaraes went onto become a key player for Lyon after his €20 million switch, bagging eleven goal contributions in 71 matches for the French outfit. Despite his success since he left his native Brazil, Guimaraes has revealed his excitement at potentially joining Benfica.

Speaking to Eleven Sports (via Noticias Ao Minuto), Guimaraes said: “There was interest, there were very advanced conversations. Today I can say that I thought I would go to Benfica at the time. It was pretty much all together. And then, I think that Benfica did not accept some conditions imposed by Athletico and then Juninho Pernambucano got in the way, other clubs also joined, and Benfica ended up giving up on the signing.

“But at the time I was pretty excited about going to Benfica. Now, it’s hard to say. After everything that happened it’s hard to say, but it’s a great club in Portugal and it was without a doubt a great opportunity, but Lyon was without a doubt a great path for me, I was very happy there at Lyon. Maybe at Benfica I could have gone and everything went well or everything went wrong, I have no way of knowing, but what had to happen in my life happened.”

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It is hard to predict how the Brazilian’s career would have panned out and whether he would have ended up at Newcastle United, however Benfica are one club known very well for their brilliant development of young players such as Bernardo Silva, Angel Di Maria and Joao Cancelo. However, Lyon have had their fair share of talent too, with the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa, Nabil Fekir and Karim Benzema coming up through the Les Gones’ ranks.

Steve Cooper on Magpies’ equaliser

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper has claimed that Alexander Isak’s equaliser should not have stood following their defeat at the City Ground. His side initially led through Emmanuel Dennis following a mistake by Sven Botman.

Speaking after the game, Cooper said: “Really frustrated to lose. It was a difficult game. The main talking points for me is we didn’t manage ourselves around the two goals. The timings of the goals are moments in the game where you have to see it out.

“For us to make those decisions in the build-up ourselves is something you get punished for at this level. I won’t dwell on it too much - it’s a foul on Andre [Ayew] in the build-up. The referee has made a poor decision, but so have we.

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“The handball is something we can’t argue with, and we’re punished with the penalty going in.”

Newcastle were also disallowed a goal by Elliot Anderson via a controversial offside, however a brilliant performance from Isak meant they were able to claim their second consecutive win in the top flight.