Newcastle lit up the dark autumnal skies over St James’ Park with an incredible performance against PSG, on what was a truly special night on Tyneside.
There’s always a great debate about what ground has the best atmosphere, and SJP was on a level above anything else last night. It was intense, raucous, and passionate. Newcastle supporters turned up to drive their side to victory and in turn, scared the living hell out of PSG.
Despite an early chance wasted by Ousmane Dembele, Newcastle were on top. Their pressing was too much for PSG and a tireless Anthony Gordon epitomized that when running 20 yards to chase down a PSG defender and out for a goal kick.
After that, he threw his arms up to turn the volume up on an already loud St James’ Park.
Newcastle had an extra man in midfield and were beginning to dominate proceedings. They didn’t have to wait long to be rewarded for that dominance when in the 14th minute, SJP had lift off in the Champions League.
Alexander Isak saw his shot brilliantly saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma, but Miggy Almiron was on hand with a superb finish to send St James’ Park absolutely wild.
It got even better for Newcastle in the 39th minute as Donnarumma clawed an effort away. Bruno Guimaraes kept the ball in play and tried his luck from a tight angle, only got the ‘keeper to deny Newcastle one again. It came back to the Brazilian once more, and this time he chipped a ball to the back post where Dan Burn thundered in a towering header.
Donnarumma thought he’d saved it, but the ball was over the line. After a long VAR check for offside and a possible handball, the goal was given.
Newcastle had doubled their lead and they were well worth it too.
The second half began in much the same fashion as the first. Newcastle’s intensity did not drop, and as Sean Longstaff ran through on goal, he unleashed a shot that went under Donnarumma’s outstretched hand to give Newcastle a 3-0 lead.
Absolute scenes at St James’ Park.
PSG did pull a goal back through Lucas Hernandez. But in truth, Newcastle had very little to worry about. The impressive Fabian Schar capped off a very special night with the goal of the game.
The Swiss defender won the ball with a brilliant tackle in the middle of the park and passed to Jacob Murphy, who laid it off for Schar to unleash a sumptuous curling effort into the top corner. It was 4-1. Yes, you read that right: 4-1.
What a return to Champions League football for Newcastle and St James’ Park. A little over two years ago, many of these Newcastle players trudged off the pitch at Molineux after another defeat that left them crestfallen. No hope and apathy had set in. Fast forward two years and they were being serenaded off the pitch after wiping the floor with PSG, and sit top of the so-called group of death.
The emotion of this game far eclipsed their trip to San Siro. Elite teams, which is what Newcastle want to be, come back down very quickly and do the business in the league. Newcastle travel to West Ham on Sunday hoping to do just that.