Newcastle players celebrate their second goal. Alamy Stock Photo

Newcastle crush PSG to mark first home Champions League game in 20 years

Eddie Howe’s side clinched a 4-1 win against the French side.

NEWCASTLE ENJOYED A dream return to the Champions League at St James’ Park as Paris Saint-Germain were humbled in a 4-1 victory for the Magpies on Wednesday.

Miguel Almiron, Dan Burn, Sean Longstaff and Fabian Schar scored the goals as Newcastle made their first home game in Europe’s elite competition for 20 years a night to remember.

Eddie Howe’s men move to the top of what is considered the toughest Champions League group in this season’s draw.

Newcastle have four points from their opening two games, one more than PSG, while Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan picked up their first point in a 0-0 draw in Germany.

The first ever clash between the clubs pitted the sporting interests of Saudi Arabia and Qatar head-to-head.

A Saudi takeover two years ago has transformed Newcastle’s fortunes in similar fashion to how the influx of cash from the Middle East has made PSG the dominant force of French football over the past decade.

PSG boss Luis Enrique warned before the game that Newcastle were the side no one wanted from the fourth pot of seeds and the Premier League side showed why.

Despite being acutely aware of Newcastle’s threat, Luis Enrique boldly stuck with a star-studded front four featuring Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Goncalo Ramos and Randal Kolo Muani.

It could have been very different for the French champions had Dembele’s sweetly-struck volley form Mbappe’s cross found the net rather than flying inches wide early on.

But once the home side, roared on by a raucous 52,000 fans, got their claws into the visitors, they did not let go.

PSG were though architects of their own downfall with the opening goal on 17 minutes.

A slack pass by Marquinhos was intercepted by Bruno Guimaraes to give Alexander Isak a clear sight of goal.

Gianluigi Donnarumma produced a fine save to deny the Swede, but Almiron was on hand to curl into the far corner.

For all the hundreds of millions splashed on big names from around the globe from both sides, there was a fairytale surrounding the source of the second goal.

Burn grew up watching Newcastle from the St James’ stands and has worked himself up from starting his career in the sixth tier of English football with Blyth Spartans to the highest level of European football.

Donnarumma could not prevent the giant defender’s header from close range crossing the line six minutes before half-time.

But PSG were unhappy that a lengthy VAR review to check the goal did not rule it out for a handball by Jamaal Lascelles in the build-up.

Any hope of a PSG fightback after the break was snuffed out within five minutes of the restart thanks to another of Newcastle’s local lads.

Longstaff raced onto Kieran Trippier’s pass and drilled a low shot under Donnarumma, who should have done much better.

However, the French champions did at least show some spirit to limit the damage.

Teenage midfielder Warren Zaire-Emery impressed in a daunting environment and his dink over the Newcastle defence was perfectly judged for Lucas Hernandez to head into the far corner.

But Newcastle sealed a famous win in style in what they will believe is just the start of a journey towards Champions League glory one day.

Schar strode forward from central defence before unleashing a blistering strike into the top corner from outside the box.

By contrast, PSG are still waiting to conquer Europe and this was another stark reminder of how far off they are from the favourites for the competition.

Off to their worst Ligue 1 start of the Qatari era, PSG have now won just four of Luis Enrique’s first nine games in charge.

– © AFP 2023

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