33 mins Fabian Schar
brought the ball over halfway and threaded a pass to Anthony Gordon,
who had found a pocket of space towards the centre. He turned and
headed diagonally across the field before finding Lewis Miley
arriving on the right hand of the box.
His first time pass infield neatly bisecting two opponents and fell
at the feet of Joelinton, who flicked the ball up and caught
it on the bounce, sending an unstoppable shot into the net. 1-0
Half time: Newcastle 1 AC Milan 0
Rafael Leao was afforded too much space to pull the ball back from the
left hand side of the Newcastle box and although Tomori made a hash of his first-time shot, it ricocheted
to Olivier Giroud who teed up Christian Pulisic to convert from six yards
84 mins Fabian Schar
made one of his trademark runs and strode into the Milan area as he sought to swap passes with Isak.
Sadly though a defender intervened to clear upfield to leave the visitors
with four against three. That attack ended with Samuel
Chukwueze popping in a curler from the right hand edge of the box seconds after his
For reasons that we struggle to comprehend, conceding this goal was the signal
for a noticeable amount of people in home areas to head for the exits. The tie
wasn't over! 1-2
Full time: Newcastle
1 AC Milan 2
"We wanted to qualify for
the Champions League for sure. That was very much our intention before the
game and in-game. I’m not sure in that moment you can take that will away from
"If you look at the goals we’ve conceded, they’ve come
from mistakes that can happen in any moment whether you are being
proactive or reactive. Of course I take ownership of that, but I’d much rather have
the intention to go and attack and to try to win rather than the other way
"We’re desperately disappointed. It’s tough to take at the
moment. The lads played very well in that first half and I thought we were
good value. I was hoping the goal would come earlier than it did. Second
half, we wanted to try to consolidate that and look for the second goal.
"I was really disappointed with the first goal we conceded
because I think that is the key moment. We didn’t deal with a
second-phase set-play well enough – it was an uncharacteristic goal,
really, for us to concede and then the game became very transitional.
“It was end-to-end from both teams, both teams looking to win, and
we conceded on one of those transitions. I thought there were some really good bits, we were dominant at
times, but probably needed the second goal. We didn't defend the two goals
"It was very much end to end. Both teams were desperate to win.
We wanted to win the game and we were trying to head for the Champions
League so we had to be brave and they had to be brave. It made for a very
good game. We did create chances and we're absolutely devastated not to go
"We had the opportunity tonight to do what we had to do and we
didn't take it. We couldn't have tried harder, I don't think we left
anything on the pitch.
"You always have to use disappointment - the setbacks - as
motivation and fuel for your fire to make sure you continue to achieve. We'll go back to the Premier League and try and do as much as
we can to be consistent and stay up there.
"It's painful but that pain is motivation for tomorrow. Now we need
to focus on the Premier League and get that right. This game stops for
nobody. We have to park this quickly, learn from it, adjust and move on. I
don't want a hangover from this."
On lessons learned from his first-ever CL campaign:
"The value of the squad first and foremost, that's what's exposed us,
the fact we haven't had the ability to utilise the squad we've
"We've gone into games very limited in what we can do and that hasn't
On his substitution choices:
"He (Anthony Gordon) said he had an awareness of something in
his hamstring. We're not sure if it's an injury because he could still
sort of play, but he couldn't play to the high level that he has played
for a long time - I think he had an issue full sprinting.
"Anthony is a very positive lad - he thinks he's fine - but we'll
"I think he (Kieran Trippier) picked up something in the first
half. I don't quite know what it is at this moment in time. He wanted to
carry on half-time but then he signalled that he couldn't
"The first match. We should have won
the first match because of how we played. We didn’t succeed… We’re so
sorry. We cared a lot about the Champions League. The Europa League is an
important competition, Milan have never won it.
"It’s a bittersweet evening. Sweet because Milan hadn’t won in England
since 2005, we fought and we believed in it. Satisfaction with the victory
certainly but there is a bit of regret and disappointment at having exited the
"Of course we’re disappointed about the Champions League and we regret
it. Clearly we’re disappointed, but we also have the conviction that we’re a
team that can do well.
"Tonight they played a high-paced game but we stayed in the game and played
a great second half. Now we will do all we can to win the UEFA Europa League.
"There are many feelings, certainly
going out of the Champions League is disappointing, especially considering how
we well did last season. We knew this group was completely different and very
"It's sad to have regrets, we deserved more and did not know how to take
our opportunities in the other games, whereas tonight we did do that. We were
not intimidated or demoralised by an opponent that played with incredible
"This means we will do everything we
can to win the Europa League.
“I don't think we played badly the first
half, but Newcastle had this incredible intensity and highlighted our errors.
They had lost at home only twice this season against Borussia Dortmund and
Liverpool, while we had not won in England for many years and finally it
"Today's performance should only give
us confidence going forward. My big regret is that the team is not making the
most of its potential right now, in Europe and in Serie A, so that is what I
must work on and try to change that.
"This squad has so much potential, we
created so many chances especially in the Champions League and lacked that bit
of determination and quality. With that, we would've been here celebrating
Champions League progress.
"Clearly, we can only now try to
consolidate third place in Serie A and then try to do more. Our minimum
objective is to qualify for the Champions League again, that is the very least
we can aim for."
Here's where the story ends:
Borussia Dortmund qualified for the Round of 16 alongside runners-up Paris
Saint-Germain. AC Milan finished third to claim a place on the Europa
League Knockout Round play-off.
Six pack: - NUFC CL group game record:
Group C: 7 points, GD -1 (scored 7, conceded 8) finished 3rd (only
2002/03 Group E: 9 points, GD -2 (scored 6, conceded 8) finished
2nd (1st/2nd advanced)
2023/24 Group F: 5 points, GD -1 (scored 6, conceded 7) finished
4th (1st/2nd advanced)
Martin Dubravka became the 23rd player used by Newcastle in the
2023/24 Champions League.
Joelinton became the 20th different player to net for United in the
Champions League, scoring our 39th goal in that competition. He's the third current Magpie to complete a set of PL, League
Cup, FA Cup and European goals for Newcastle, emulating Miguel Almiron and
This was Newcastle's fifteenth Champions League home fixture, the Magpies
suffering a seventh loss to accompany their eight victories. They are yet
to draw a game at SJP in this competition.
Before tonight, the last instance of Newcastle leading a European game at
half time but losing at full time was the 1-2 reverse at Halmstads in the
UEFA Cup campaign of 1996/97.
Following the 0-1 reverse to Borussia Dortmund, this result meant that
United lost successive home games in European competition for the first
The absence of Nick Pope and the omission of Mark
Gillespie from the CL squad saw a maiden senior selection for Adam
Harrison. The 17 year-old goalkeeper took squad number 82 and
remained on the bench, emulating fellow Toon youngster Aidan Harris who
similar role away to AC Milan.
Dan Burn returned to action for Newcastle 24 hours after the 14th
anniversary of his league debut, playing for Darlington in a 0-5 defeat at
NUFC in the Champions League @ SJP:
Croatia Zagreb won 2-1
1997/98 Barcelona won 3-2
1997/98 PSV lost 0-2
1997/98 Dynamo Kiev won 2-0
2002/03 Zeljeznicar won 4-0
2002/03 Feyenoord lost 0-1
2002/03 Juventus won 1-0
2002/03 Dynamo Kiev won 2-1
2002/03 Inter Milan lost 1-4
2002/03 Bayer Leverkusen won 3-1
2002/03 Barcelona lost 0-2
2003/04 Partizan Belgrade lost 0-1 (lost 3-4 pens)
2023/24 PSG won 4-1
2023/24 Borussia Dortmund lost 0-1
2023/24 AC Milan lost 1-2
Italian sides on Tyneside - competitive visits:
1970/71 Inter Milan won 2-0 (FC)
1972/73 Bologna won 1-0 (AI)
1972/73 Torino won 5-1 (AI)
1992/93 Ascoli lost 0-1 (AI)
1992/93 Cesena drew 2-2 (AI)
1999/00 AS Roma drew 0-0 (UE)
2002/03 Juventus won 1-0 (CL)
2002/03 Inter Milan lost 1-4 (CL)
2023/24 AC Milan lost 1-2 (CL)
The Champions League Group of Death finally claimed a victim on
Wednesday evening and sadly for Newcastle, the deceased was clad in black
A group stage campaign that began in the Italian sunshine concluded on a
chilly Tyneside with the Magpies still able to finish in every position
except first place.
Contrary to some pre-match disinformation, Martin Dubravka kept his place
in a side that showed only one change from that beaten at Everton and
Spurs - Callum Wilson replacing Alexander Isak.
A night of drastic mood swings began positively, the hosts predictably taking the game to their Italian foes and agonisingly prevented from
taking the lead when Miguel Almiron was robbed on the line by the
intervention of Fikayo Tomori.
However United were rewarded for their graft when Anthony Gordon and Lewis
Miley combined for Joelinton to power an unstoppable 33rd minute strike
into the Leazes End net.
With no score in the Borussia Dortmund against PSG game, that lead saw
Newcastle rise one place to second in the group, were both results to remain
unchanged at the final whistle. Half time arrived with no change to those
scores; a one goal advantage fair reward for a lively display by
United; the bulk of their forward effort coming down the right via a
revitalised Kieran Trippier.
Following the restart, news of a 51st minute opener for Dortmund against PSG raised
the noise levels at Gallowgate still further, firming up the runners-up spot
at that point. Within five minutes though, the French levelled and that
blow was quickly followed by Christian Pulisic levelling for AC Milan.
Draws in England and Germany would have downgraded United to third and a
Europa League spot, meaning that they needed to restore their lead and
hope that Dortmund avoided falling behind in order to progress in the
Howe's response was to introduce Isak for Anthony Gordon down the left and
withdraw Trippier for Dan Burn, the latter missing for seven games due to
a back problem and returning without any public acknowledgement of his
fitness - another Howe success. Tino Livramento moved across to right back as United continued to push
forward, urged on by their supporters.
And they came agonisingly close to restoring their lead on 70 minutes; Bruno
Guimaraes in despair after goalkeeper Mike Maignan reached a shot of similar distance and venom to Joelinton's
opener and tipped it onto the Gallowgate
Sean Longstaff then entered the fray, meaning that all three home
replacements had a goal to their name in this competition this season.
Following a scare when PSG went ahead before VAR rapidly ruled
it out, a swift Milan counter attack stemming from Livramento's poor touch ending
with Leao shooting against a post; electing not to play in the totally
unmarked Luka Jovic for an easier finish.
United failed to heed that warning though and maintained their pursuit of a
second goal; the visitors content to soak up the pressure ahead of making
their own changes. A trio of Milan replacements then combined to give Samuel
Chukwueze the chance to fire home with six minutes remaining.
Despite a valiant effort, Newcastle couldn't find the goal needed to
drag them back up to third: Callum Wilson never having a clear-cut chance
to score the Champions League goal that he so desperately wanted to add to
his collection. He never get another chance.
Milan meanwhile spurning two glaring
opportunities in the four minutes of time added on to finally kill the
tie.vTheo Hernandez missed an open goal following a home corner
that Dubravka went upfield for - the Frenchman going for glory from the
halfway line rather than passing to Chukwueze. Another race upfield from
deep in Milan territory seconds later then saw Tomori strike the
1-2 it stayed though - an agonising but not wholly unexpected end to what
has been an engrossing return to Europe. For all the regrets over
tonight's reality check though, the real fury is still over the dubious
officiating that turned three points into one point in Paris.
Despite the considerable distractions of both domestic cups, the task at
hand is now to ensure that European football returns here in 2024. That's
certainly not beyond our reach and when emotions subside here, may well
have been enhanced by bowing out now.
Our own reading is that for the club it was Champions League qualification
or nothing and the prospect of continuing into 2024 with Europa League
matches wasn't on the agenda.
Appetites for more of this were whetted on and off the field by half a
dozen ties which have evoked wildly contrasting emotions: from the
unadulterated wonder of leathering PSG here to the outrage of the Parc des
Princes pickpocketry and here tonight, as Milan joined Anderlecht and
Partizan on the list of sides to have silenced Saint James' Park. A trio
of memorable away trips also gave a new generation of fans the chance to
make memories - and hangovers.
It's not all about the jolly though; qualification for this competition
highlighting the inadequacies of our squad at the outset before
well-documented personnel issues blighted our challenge.
That opening tie now seems like a lifetime ago rather than 12 weeks ago -
Elliot Anderson, Harvey Barnes, Sven Botman, Jacob Murphy Nick Pope and
Sandro Tonali all playing at the San Siro - but now the ghosts of
Champions League past.
Selection issues brought opportunities for others though; most noticeably
Lewis Miley, whose pass tonight for Joelinton's goal made him the youngest
player to register an assist for an English club in the Champions League,
eclipsing Theo Walcott's record. Twelve months earlier the young Magpie
was playing across the city for the U21s in front of less than 100
And to the actual games themselves, where our unrelenting honesty
ultimately cost us as much as the injury list - although the latter
tonight left us noticeably short of attacking originality.
It's no shock that we came up short against a trio of bona fide Champions
League teams, but there were enough positives across the ties to make this
campaign a worthwhile exercise and it would have been interesting to see
us face them with a full side.
Two years ago tonight, six of tonight's starting line-up were being beaten
0-4 at Leicester - a result that left us second bottom of the Premier
League. We've progressed a bit since then and there's no reason to suggest
that won't continue. A setback rather than a calamity.
Last word to Sir Bobby Robson after our 2003 exit from this competition: "We've
enjoyed the ride, we've paid the money, got the ride, got off the tramcar
- let's go again. We can do better."