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Newcastle 1-2 AC Milan: What Were The Main Talking Points As The Magpies Suffer Champions League Heartbreak At St. James’ Park?

In what was a heart-breaking night at St. James’ Park, Newcastle watched their European dreams go up in smoke as they collapsed to a 2-1 defeat against AC Milan.

While Eddie Howe’s men might have got off to a dream start as Joelinton powered home just after the half-hour mark, the Magpies eventually missed out on the chance to punch a famous Champions League knockout stage ticket.

Despite briefly sitting in pole position to clinch a second-place finish in Group F, Newcastle endured a real second half struggle at St. James’ Park as Christian Pulisic tapped home in the 59th minute.

Although Rafael Leao and Bruno Guimaraes might have respectively hit the woodwork at opposite ends of the pitch, it was Samuel Chukwueze who proved to be Newcastle’s ultimate villain on Wednesday night.

Coming off the bench and producing a wonderful whipped finish in the final five minutes, AC Milan should take away a string of positives from their iconic second half comeback in the north east.

While the Italian icons might have been disappointed after only settling for a bronze medal finish in Group F, the Rossoneri will now have their sights set on mounting a genuine Europa League charge in 2024.

Eventually pinched at the finish line and unable to even secure a Europa League adventure for the New Year, Newcastle’s stars rightfully looked devastated at the final whistle.

On a night when Newcastle suffered infamous Champions League heartbreak at St. James’ Park, we have taken a look at the main talking points.

It couldn’t have gone worse for Newcastle on their big night

Opening their famous Champions League adventure on September 19th with a gritty 0-0 stalemate away at the San Siro, Newcastle certainly gained a string of early plaudits from across the continent.

Producing an iconic display at St. James Park back in October as they stormed their way to a 4-0 romp against French heavyweights PSG, Howe’s men suddenly found themselves tipped as a leading contender to find a route out of Group F.

However, although Newcastle might take away plenty of positives from their return to Europe’s elite, they will certainly feel that they have missed out on a golden opportunity.

Always facing a real uphill battle following their hugely controversial 1-1 stalemate out in Paris on November 28th, fans around St. James’ Park will be most concerned by their side’s second half collapse here.

Sat in the driving seat as Joelinton powered home in the 33rd minute and backed by a vocal home support in the north east, Howe’s side will take some time to recover from an emotional rollercoaster on Wednesday night.

Milan mount a famous Champions League comeback

While it might have been Newcastle’s search for a Champions League miracle that stole most of Wednesday’s headlines, AC Milan certainly deserve an abidance of praise for a famous comeback at St. James’ Park.

Arriving in the north east sat rock-bottom of the Group F table and facing the real prospect of missing out on any kind of European adventure for the New Year, Stefano Pioli’s side will be desperate to use their second half romp as a platform to build on.

Failing to pick up any real momentum last weekend as they slumped to an action-packed 3-2 defeat at the hands of Atalanta, the Rossoneri also drew a line under their nightmare blip away from the San Siro.

Without a single victory on their travels since the start of October prior to Wednesday’s showdown at St. James’, AC Milan should be smelling the chance to mount a genuine Europa League charge next year.

Eventually leapfrogging Newcastle in a spectacular fashion, last season’s Champions League finalists will be relishing a return to Serie A action this weekend when they welcome Monza to the San Siro.

Howe has a defensive headache on his hands

While the Magpies might continued on a real fairytale since they welcomed Howe to St. James’ Park back in November 2021, the former Bournemouth boss does have a mounting defensive headache on his hands.

Blown away in north London last weekend as they eventually slumped to that 4-1 drumming against Tottenham, the Magpies have now lost each of their previous three appearances across all competitions by an aggregate score of 9-2.

With their recent struggles underlined by a shock 3-0 defeat against relegation scrappers Everton on December 7th, Howe’s side have also mustered just a single clean sheet in their last eight outings.

With that run stemming all the way back to a 1-0 victory against Arsenal on November 4th, Newcastle will know the importance of dusting themselves down quickly.

Currently sat seven points adrift of breaking back into the Premier League’s top-four and at the heart of a stacked winter schedule, the Magpies do have the feel of a squad seeking a recent boost.

Match Report

Newcastle: Dubravka, Trippier, Lascelles, Schar, Livramento, Joelinton, Guimaraes, Miley, Almiron, Wilson, Gordon

Subs: Isak, Burn, Longstaff

AC Milan: Maignan, Calabria, Tomori, Hernandez, Florenzi, Musah, Reijnders, Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Leao, Giroud

Subs: Chukwueze, Okafor, Jovic, Pobega, Bartesaghi

Goals: Newcastle: Joelinton (33’) – AC Milan: Pulisic (59’), Chukwueze (84’)

Yellow Cards: Newcastle: Joelinton, Schar – AC Milan: Leao, Maignan, Jovic, Musah, Florenzi

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Danny Makkelie

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