Newcastle 4-1 PSG: Two hometown heroes notch as Magpies stun European powerhouse

News Desk
Dan Burn, Newcastle United, October 2023
Dan Burn celebrates Champions League goal for Newcastle United

Geordies Dan Burn and Sean Longstaff both got their names on the scoresheet as Newcastle put on a clinic against Paris Saint-Germain in the first Champions League match at St James’ Park in 20 years.

More than two decades since the Magpies last played in the competition, they rekindled memories of their first ever outing, a 3-2 victory over Barcelona in 1997, by thumping the French champions 4-1 in front of a crowd of 52,009 at a delirious St James’ Park.

Miguel Almiron set the ball rolling with the club’s first Champions League goal since Alan Shearer’s double at Inter Milan in March 2003, but it was local boys Burn and Longstaff who put the Group F fixture beyond Luis Enrique’s side before Fabian Schar smashed home a superb fourth to secure three points to go with the one with which they had returned from AC Milan a fortnight earlier.

PSG, whose owners Qatar Sports Investments have poured so much money into an as yet unrequited quest for European glory, simply did not cope with the home side’s high press before the break and failed to utilise fully the inestimable talents of Kylian Mbappe and company even after Lucas Hernandez had given them a glimmer of hope.

The game kicked off amid a cacophony and the volume only rose as the industry of Alexander Isak and Anthony Gordon caused problems for keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and defender Marquinhos early on.

However, it was the visitors who went agonisingly close to taking the lead with just five minutes gone when 17-year-old midfielder Warren Zaire-Emery broke from his own half and fed Mbappe, whose cross was volleyed inches wide by Ousmane Dembele with Nick Pope helpless.

Achraf Hakimi was relieved to see Almiron fire over from distance after intercepting his loose pass seconds later, but Newcastle went ahead with 17 minutes gone after the Frenchmen once again shot themselves in the foot.

Bruno Guimaraes got his head to Marquinhos’ poor clearance and although Donnarumma made a superb reaction save after Isak had spun and fired towards goal, Almiron pounced on the rebound to open the scoring with his third goal in as many starts.

PSG responded in determined fashion and Goncalo Ramos saw his effort deflected out for a corner seconds after Schar had whipped a first-time shot inches wide of Donnarumma’s left post from Kieran Trippier’s intelligent corner.

Isak was left bloodied after a clash of heads with Hernandez, but was able to carry on after having the wound bandaged and a change of shirt, and his side’s fortunes took a significant turn for the better six minutes before the break.

The Paris defence failed to deal with Trippier’s free-kick and Donnarumma clawed the ball out of his top corner and then saved at his near post as shots rained in, but although the keeper also managed to get a hand to Burn’s header after he climbed high to meet the excellent Guimaraes’ cross, the ball was adjudged to have crossed the line after a lengthy VAR review.

PSG returned knowing a sizeable improvement was required, but they fell further behind within five minutes when Almiron’s pace and the precision of Trippier’s pass to Longstaff allowed the midfielder to drill a shot towards Donnarumma’s near post, where the Italian could only help the ball into his own net.

They grabbed a lifeline with 56 minutes gone when Hernandez timed his run to perfection to glance Zaire-Emery’s lofted ball beyond Pope and instantly looked a more dangerous proposition with Mbappe, Dembele and substitutes Bradley Barcola and Vitinha injecting much-needed vigour.

But all too often, they lacked the precision to hurt their hosts and when they did create meaningful openings, as they did when Dembele span and fired towards goal with 13 minutes remaining, they found Pope in indomitable form.

Mbappe blasted impotently wide with five minutes remaining to the delight of the home crowd, who were on their feet once again in stoppage time after Schar had thumped a shot high past Donnarumma and into the top corner.

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