Saturday, February 4, 2023

Newcastle beat Southampton and move closer to the cup final

Newcastle will be in their first cup final since being taken over by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

Brazilian Joelinton scored in the 73rd minute to help Newcastle beat Southampton 1-0 in the first leg of the English League Cup semi-finals on Tuesday.

The return leg is next week at St James’ Park in Newcastle, where the team have been unbeaten in all competitions this season.

Southampton will need to score against the best defense in English football. Newcastle have been clean swept 11 times in their last 12 matches.

Backed by spending from the Saudi owners who bought the club 18 months ago and encouraged by manager Eddie Howe, the north-eastern side are going strong this season.

It faces the second half of the campaign, looking to qualify for the Champions League by finishing third in the Premier League.

Joelinton had a goal disallowed and missed a shot in front of the goal. After substitute Alexander Isak crossed his marker on the right and cut back into the box to loft the cross, he finally gave Newcastle the lead, slotting the ball into the empty goal.

Adam Armstrong, who came on as a substitute for Southampton, fired into the net for Newcastle minutes later. The goal was disallowed by the Video Arbitration (VAR), which determined that the striker used his right hand to deflect the ball towards the goal.

The hosts finished with 10 men at the St Mary’s Stadium when centre-back Duje Caleta-Carr received his second yellow and red card in the 86th minute.

Both the teams are looking to end the long trophy drought. Southampton’s only title has been in the FA Cup since 1976. Newcastle won the same tournament in 1955.

Nottingham Forest face Manchester United in the first leg of the second semi-final this Wednesday.

FA Cup mediocrity

Boreham Wood came just shy of their bid to become the second non-professional team to reach the fourth round of this edition of the FA Cup.

They lost 1–0 at Third Division side Accrington Stanley. Wrexham, along with their Hollywood owners, thus became the only team from outside the top four divisions of English football to enter the last 32 alive in the tournament.

Accrington’s goal came 7 minutes into extra time and set the stage for a fourth round match against Leeds. Boreham Wood marches in twelfth place out of the 24 that make up the Fifth Division.

The fourth round begins on Friday with a duel between top-flight clubs, with Manchester City hosting Arsenal. Wrexham hosts Second Division Sheffield United on Sunday.

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Steve Douglas is on Twitter as https://twitter.com/sdouglas80

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