Dan Burn ignites Newcastle’s victory over Leicester to advance to the Carabao Cup semifinals.
After an extended, tedious, and occasionally excruciating wait, Newcastle has made it to its first major cup semifinal in 18 years.
Brendan Rodgers was a study in technical area dejection as the jubilantly raucous, enthusiastically black-and-white flag-waving crowd applauded the goals from Dan Burn and Joelinton that rightfully swept Eddie Howe’s team into the Carabao Cup last four.
The manager of Leicester has told the club’s increasingly unruly supporters that he is “not a magician,” and a Newcastle squad for whom nearly everything feels conceivable this season made his injury-hit team appear distinctly ordinary. Perhaps Howe is actually transporting Gallowgate Enders to Wembley on a magic carpet.
At times, Newcastle was so strong that a shaky, utterly unbalanced Leicester resembled an Everest climber in running shoes. Success has been too long in coming here, according to Howe. “We’re thrilled to be in a semi-final, but we have a major task ahead of us. The players were outstanding throughout.
In the first minute, Miguel Almirón set the tone with a fast, zigzagging run from deep that had Leicester’s defenders reeling. Sean Longstaff was set up by Almirón’s left-wing cross after the outstanding Joe Willock was put in, but much to Danny Ward’s relief, Longstaff side-footed the ball into the ground and then watched it spin harmlessly high and wide.
It was all too simple to watch how Newcastle defeated Leicester 3-0 in the Premier League on Boxing Day as a slew of chances came and went and Rodgers’ team dug in deeper. Not to mention why Howe’s team is vying for a Champions League spot while the visitors are in danger of being demoted.
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Almirón demonstrated his passion for winning the Carabao Cup by creating a good opportunity for Callum Wilson while fending off the following Wout Faes. During the first half, Bruno Guimares was denied by Ward twice, but that shot was ultimately blocked.
However, Ayoze Pérez, a former Newcastle forward, was the only Leicester player to threaten in the opening frame, and Patson Daka gave Sven Botman the opportunity to save Newcastle by hesitating when he had the goal at his disposal. However, Howe’s team did at least give Rodgers a faint ray of hope by allowing an initially furiously fast tempo to drop and starting to snatch at final balls in a slightly frantic manner. Pope was never really put to the test, though anything could have occurred had Youri Tielemans’ long-range shot not been diverted for a corner. Nevertheless, his team managed to acquire a shaky foothold in the game for a little period of time.
Early in the second half, Joelinton fired off a shot that Ward did well to deflect after Marc Albrighton’s assistance deflection; the ball narrowly missed the post on its way wide.
Despite Burn failing to take advantage of a headed opportunity presented by Kieran Trippier’s free-kick, Newcastle had a second wind and Howe looked extremely frustrated with himself. Tielemans, a midfielder on Howe’s January shopping list, saw another shot deflected off target, this time by Fabian Schär.
Longstaff’s ensuing shot required a fantastic diving save from Ward to stop it, but a goal was on its way and even the goalkeeper was helpless as Burn made up for his earlier error by trying to lift the St James’ Park roof off.
Willock stole the ball from Timothy Castagne at the beginning, and after a deft lay-off from Joelinton, Burn held off three players to send an angled effort across Ward and into the bottom corner. The opening notes of “We’re heading to Wem-ber-lee” resounded as Howe leaped into the arms of his aide Jason Tindall.
The towering, Northumberland-born defender chose the perfect moment to score his first goal for Newcastle, a year after switching teams with his childhood heroes to join Newcastle from Brighton for $13 million. The burn was devastated when Graeme Souness’ Newcastle team lost to Manchester United in the 2005 FA Cup semi-finals because as a little boy growing up in Blyth, he dreamed of sporting black-and-white stripes at Wembley. Howe remarked, “On a personal level, I’m really thrilled for Dan. “For him, it was an amazing occasion.”
By scoring the second goal, Joelinton gave Newcastle’s class of 2022–23 a chance to win its first major trophy since the Fairs Cup in 1969. The Brazilian did this by intercepting Almirón’s beautiful diagonal ball, taking a few steadying touches, and hitting low beyond Ward.
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Although Jamie Vardy, a substitute, blew a golden opportunity late, Leicester was soundly defeated. The best team triumphed, according to Rodgers. “No issues. Newcastle has momentum, terrific physicality, a strong mindset, and real quality, but we didn’t pass the ball swiftly enough.