Milan beat Newcastle, but both are out of the Champions League

Photo of the match AC MILAN VS. NEWCASTLE.

AC Milan and Newcastle United faced disappointment in the Champions League after AC Milan secured a 2-1 victory at St. James’ Park. This outcome ensured the advancement of Paris Saint-Germain and Kylian Mbappé to the round of 16.

Despite the defeat, Milan secured a place in the Europa League playoff round, courtesy of Samuel Chukwueze’s decisive goal in the 84th minute. The Italian club, having reached the semifinals in the previous Champions League season, surpassed Newcastle to secure third place in Group F. While both Milan and PSG concluded the group stage with eight points, Milan settled for second due to an inferior head-to-head record against PSG.

Christian Pulisic, who scored the equalizer for Milan in the 59th minute, expressed, “It’s a significant achievement.” Pulisic, having scored for Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea as well, became the first U.S. international to score for three different teams in Champions League.

Newcastle experienced disappointment in their first Champions League campaign in 20 years, the inaugural one under Saudi ownership. The team finished at the bottom of a challenging group, falling short of European competition.

This outcome represents a significant setback for the northeast club, especially given their newfound potential to disrupt the established elite. Despite having the richest owners in club soccer following the 2021 takeover by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Newcastle’s emergence as a force in European soccer is anticipated in the years ahead, though not in the current season.

Expressing his devastation, Newcastle manager Eddie Howe stated, “We are absolutely devastated not to go through.” Despite the setback, Howe commended his team, saying, “I couldn’t be prouder of what they have given me, physically and mentally. We left everything on the pitch, and there are no regrets. We will learn from it and take those lessons into the Premier League.”

In a crucial match where victory could have secured Newcastle’s place in the knockout stage, Joelinton gave the hosts the lead in the 33rd minute. However, despite a valiant effort, they fell short as Christian Pulisic equalized following Olivier Giroud’s brilliant pass, and Samuel Chukwueze scored the winning goal on the break.

Reflecting on the campaign, Milan coach Stefan Pioli expressed disappointment, stating, “We’re disappointed to have ended our run in the Champions League.” Pioli believed Milan deserved more, especially considering the group’s toughness, and thought they should have capitalized on opportunities in other games.

Newcastle’s missed opportunity occurred when Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan crucially saved a goalbound shot from Bruno Guimarães, tipping it onto the crossbar when the score was 1-1. As the hosts ran out of ideas and energy, Newcastle’s manager Howe faced an injury crisis, consistently selecting the same defense and midfield for the sixth consecutive game in all competitions.

With just Manchester City and Arsenal from the Premier League moving forward to Monday’s draw, this represents the least challenging round-of-16 scenario in 11 years for a country widely acknowledged for having the strongest top flight in European soccer.


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