Nick Pope's brilliance sees Newcastle United through in Carabao Cup
Nick Pope’s put Newcastle United into the next round of the Carabao Cup with three penalty saves.
Eddie Howe’s side beat Crystal Palace 3-2 on penalties tonight after a goalless draw at St James’s Park. Pope made three stops, while Bruno Guimaraes and Sven Botman failed to convert from the spot.
The two sides cancelled each other out at St James’s Park for a second time this season, having also drawn 0-0 in a Premier League fixture in August.
And World Cup-bound England international Pope won it for Newcastle with a series of saves in the shootout.
Howe had made eight changes for the tie, which came a day after he celebrated his first anniversary as United head coach and was played in front of a club-record crowd of 51,660 for the competition.
Callum Wilson – who had been forced off at the St Mary’s Stadium because of illness – wasn’t involved along with Ryan Fraser and Karl Darlow.
There was a strong case for every single change made by Howe, but it was a challenge for almost entirely different team to carry any on-pitch momentum into the tie.
And fans saw a frustrating first-half performance from Newcastle.
Palace made the better start to the game, and Pope denied Jean-Philippe Mateta with a near-post save in the 22nd minute.
Newcastle started to show signs of life in the final third of the pitch midway through the half. First, Elliot Anderson, playing on the right, created a chance for himself, but his shot was straight at Sam Johnstone.
Jonjo Shelvey, making his first start of the season after recovering from hamstring surgery, then almost caught out Johnstone with a free-kick from the centre circle, but his effort dropped wide with the goalkeeper backpedalling.
The half ended goalless with neither side having been particularly convincing with the ball.
Howe sent out an unchanged side for the second half, and the crowd was soon trying to lift the team. A number of players, including Miguel Almiron and Bruno Guimaraes were sent out to warm up, and changes weren’t long in coming.
Guimaraes, Botman and Kieran Trippier, three players expected to go to the World Cup, replaced Sean Longstaff, Javier Manquillo and Dan Burn in the 66th minute. The changes lifted the crowd – and the team.
Next it was the turn of Almiron – who had taken his goal tally for the season to eight with a strike in the Southampton win – to come on. Almiron replaced Anderson.
Almiron forced a save from Johnstone seconds after coming on, but the substitutes couldn’t force a breakthrough. Howe sent on Joe Willock for the final few minutes.
And Pope would win it in the shootout with saves from Mateta, Malcolm Ebiowei and Luka Milivojevic.
It was only the club’s third success in a penalty shootout, following previous penalty wins over Newport County and Watford.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Pope, Manquillo (Trippier 66), Lascelles, Burn (Botman, 66), Targett, Shelvey (Willock, 86), Longstaff (Guimaraes, 66), Joelinton, Anderson (Almiron, 78), Saint-Maximin, Wood. Subs not used: Karius, Schar, Lewis, Murphy.