Newcastle got the job done at St Mary’s in the first leg of the league cup semi-final. It was a difficult match but the Magpies hold a slim 1-0 advantage heading back to St. James’ park for next Tuesday’s second leg.
It was another frustrating night in front of the net as the lads failed to take their chances until late in the match. It took a moment of sheer determination and class from Alexander Isak to provide a ball for Joelinton that the Brazilian couldn’t fail to put into the net.
The double substitution of Isak and Allan Saint-Maximin sparked Newcastle as the move came after a nervy ten minutes with the Saints on top. It took some timely saves from Nick Pope to keep yet another clean sheet, the 10th in a row with the 30-year-old manning the net.
Eddie Howe will have to give some thought to altering his starting eleven for the second leg. Isak and Saint-Maximin were lively and threatening. The pair added a new element with their pace and trickery.
Interestingly, Saint-Maximin said the following to BBC Newcastle about playing with Isak:
“I like to play with all the players, but I spend a lot of time with Isak. He’s an incredible player. I want to be able to play with him and show what we are capable of doing on the pitch.”
With Maxi and Alex fit, Howe now has options up front. While his preferred eleven have been sensational, things can tend to grow stale. Therefore, Howe may make at least one change next Tuesday night and possibly two depending on how training goes.