In a night of disappointment and shattered dreams, Newcastle United’s return to the Champions League after two decades has come to a painful conclusion. The Magpies, under the management of Eddie Howe, faced AC Milan at St James’ Park on Wednesday, needing a victory and relying on Paris Saint-Germain’s misfortune against Borussia Dortmund to advance to the knockout stages.
The first half seemed promising for Newcastle as Joelinton’s thunderous strike in the 33rd minute put them ahead, while news of Dortmund leading against PSG added to the anticipation. However, the tides turned dramatically in the second half.
Christian Pulisic equalized for Milan in the 59th minute, dampening Newcastle’s hopes. The pivotal moment came when Samuel Chukwueze, on as a substitute for just 68 seconds, sealed Newcastle’s fate with an 84th-minute winner, ensuring AC Milan claimed the Europa League playoff spot.
The defeat leaves Newcastle at the bottom of their tough group, marking the end of their Champions League campaign and European aspirations. Eddie Howe expressed devastation, acknowledging the efforts of his players but recognizing the need to learn from the experience.
Newcastle’s new ownership and their ambitions in European soccer will have to wait for another season. The disappointment is intense, especially considering the potential of progressing to the last 16 was within reach. Despite a valiant effort, fatigue, injuries, and tactical challenges contributed to their downfall.
Eddie Howe faces the daunting task of lifting the spirits of a weary squad, addressing injuries, and refocusing on Premier League challenges.