Newcastle United enjoyed a 1-0 win in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final clash with Southampton at St. Mary’s stadium on Tuesday night.
The Magpies will now take a lead back to St. James’ Park for the second leg with the chance to seal their place at Wembley in the final of the competition, where they would face either Manchester United or Nottingham Forest.
Should Joelinton’s first-half goal have stood?
Joe Willock blazed high and wide from two presentable opportunities in the first half before Joelinton thought he had given the away side the lead as he blasted the ball into the back of the net, only for the goal to be ruled out for an alleged handball.
The Brazilian midfielder then denied himself the opening goal of the match at the start of the second half as the enforcer somehow managed to miss the target from almost point-blank range with the net at his mercy.
However, it was third time lucky for the ex-Hoffenheim gem in the 73rd minute as substitute Alexander Isak brilliantly burst down the right channel and played a perfect ball across the box for Joelinton to tap the ball into an empty net from five yards.
Southampton found the back of the net almost immediately after conceding the opener as Adam Armstrong bundled the ball into the net, only for VAR to rule the goal out for handball.
Duje Caleta-Car was shown a red card with in the final five minutes of the match as he clattered Allan Saint-Maximin, which resulted in his second yellow card, and Newcastle were able to hold on to their lead.
Whilst Joelinton scored the winning goal for the Magpies on the night, Eddie Howe’s real hero on the south coast was central defender Sven Botman.
The Netherlands under-21 international was a rock at the back for Newcastle throughout the 90 minutes to help the team to secure yet another clean sheet.
He was able to keep the hosts at bay for large periods of the game and prevented Nick Pope from needing to make any saves of note, by stopping the likes of Che Adams and Sekou Mara from getting clear sights of goal.
As per Sofascore, Botman won four of his five individual duels (80%) – including 100% of his aerial battles – and this shows that the 23-year-old enforcer dominated Southampton from start to finish as he won the majority of his 50/50’s on the night.
Along with his impressive success in his battles, the machine also made four clearances and one block to preserve the clean sheet, whilst also completing 84% of his attempted passes and six of his nine long passes as he displayed his composure and quality in possession.
Therefore, the Dutchman was the real hero of the night for Newcastle as his stoic defending at the back provided the platform for the likes of Bruno Guimaraes, Joelinton, and Isak to go and win the match in the final third.