It'd been 18 long years since Newcastle United had advanced to the semifinals in one of England's cup competitions, but their supporters can once again dream of breaking a major trophy curse that's lasted since 1955 after beating Leicester City 2-0 in the League Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday night at St James' Park.
Pep Guardiola might've recently said that winning another League Cup wouldn't change his life, but the same can't be said of Newcastle's players and fans. The club has never won this competition, only once reaching the final in 1976, so the atmosphere inside the ground wasn't lacking.
St. James' Park is rocking! ⚫⚪ pic.twitter.com/PYg8UBXS2x— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) January 10, 2023
After largely battling the specter of relegation in each of its last 12 Premier League seasons (twice falling through the trap door), Newcastle's charge to the Champions League places with only one defeat through 18 games has been a mixture of huge investment from Saudi Arabia's PIF and remarkable turnarounds of form since Eddie Howe's arrival.
Newcastle's starting XI on Tuesday featured $135 million of recent acquisitions, most notably in Dutch international Sven Botman ($43 million) and Brazilian international Bruno Guimarães ($50 million), two players whose cost and quality were beyond the Toon's wildest imagination under Mike Ashley's stewardship.
There were also places for guys like Miguel Almirón and Fabian Schär. Both have been at Newcastle for five years and are suddenly among the PL's greatest performers. Facing them was old friend Ayoze Pérez.
But it was local boy Dan Burn, a $15 million signing from Brighton, who scored the opening goal, and he was assisted by Joelinton — the striker-turned-midfield-maestro under Howe.
So many Dan Burn edits and I’m here for every single one #NUFC pic.twitter.com/WptzsptqgH— Thomas (@thomashammond__) January 11, 2023
And even with Almirón, Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin and Alexander Isak looking to make an impact, it was Joelinton who scored Newcastle's second. He should've been in the Brazil squad. The ball from Almirón is also what the Paraguayan's all about these days.
Teve mais gol do Joelinton hoje. Tá jogando demais!pic.twitter.com/X8c1pLr1va— ⚽ (@DoentesPFutebol) January 10, 2023
Newcastle vs Leicester League Cup highlights
The semifinals of the League Cup are two legs with the first on Monday, Jan. 23, and the second falling Monday, Jan. 30. The draw for the semis is Jan. 12 following the completion of the quarters.
Manchester United is also through after beating Charlton Athletic 3-0 at Old Trafford. Imagine if Brazil would've paired this guy with Joelinton.
ANTONY WITH A BEAUTY FOR MANCHESTER UNITED! pic.twitter.com/qYq0bGACp1— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 10, 2023