Soccer

Alexander Isak grabs winner as Newcastle beat Manchester City in Carabao Cup

Eddie Howe got the better of Pep Guardiola (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Eddie Howe got the better of Pep Guardiola (Owen Humphreys/PA) Eddie Howe got the better of Pep Guardiola (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Alexander Isak fired Newcastle into the Carabao Cup fourth round at the expense of Manchester City.

The Sweden international struck eight minutes after the break to seal a 1-0 victory for the Magpies – their first over City in any competition in 11 attempts – in front of a crowd of 51,692 at St James Park.

Their place in the draw was reward for a dogged display by a team featuring 10 changes to the one which started Sunday’s 8-0 Premier League victory Sheffield United, but one which was particularly hard-earned after they were given the run-around before the break by Pep Guardiola’s under-studies.

Guardiola made eight changes, three of them to include Mateo Kovacic, Kalvin Phillips and Jack Grealish, and – while having indicated in advance that the competition was the least of his priorities – saw his side dominate for long periods but ultimately fail to turn the pressure they exerted into goals.

Alexander Isak netted the winner
Alexander Isak netted the winner Alexander Isak netted the winner (Owen Humphreys/PA)

With Phillips and Kovacic controlling the midfield battle, the Magpies were absent as an attacking force for much of the first half.

By contrast the link between Rico Lewis, Oscar Bobb – making his first senior start – and Sergio Gomez down the City right proved profitable repeatedly.

Goalkeeper Nick Pope was called upon for the first time with 18 minutes gone when Bobb turned smartly on Phillips’ ball to feet and raced towards goal before feeding Julian Alvarez, whose low shot was blocked by the keeper’s boot.

Paul Dummett had to make a perfectly-timed challenge to deny Grealish a clear run at goal and Sandro Tonali threw himself into the path of Kovacic’s goal-bound strike with Newcastle’s inability to retain the ball causing them all kinds of problems.

Alvarez blazed a 28th-minute shot across goal after running on to Bobb’s clever flick from Kovacic’s square ball as the home side chased shadows, although they might have changed the narrative of the first half four minutes before the break.

Joelinton’s interception on halfway allowed Isak to feed Jacob Murphy, who surged forward before firing across keeper Stefan Ortega, who blocked with a leg.

Newcastle reached the fourth round
Newcastle reached the fourth round Newcastle reached the fourth round (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Eddie Howe made a double change before the restart, replacing Lewis Hall and 17-year-old midfielder Lewis Miley, who was also starting for the first time, with Bruno Guimaraes and Anthony Gordon and the Magpies instantly had a better balance.

Tonali saw a 48th-minute shot blocked after he, Murphy and Tino Livramento had combined down the right and Newcastle were ahead five minutes later.

Murphy cut inside and found Joelinton, who powered his way into the penalty area before smashing the ball across goal from a tight angle to find the unmarked Isak, who finished with ease at the far post.

In an instant, the atmosphere inside St James’ Park changed with the visitors finding themselves under sustained pressure for the first time.

Grealish curled a 75th-minute shot into Pope’s arms as City responded, but their efforts were tepid and Guardiola was booked by referee Chris Kavanagh as he vented his frustration on the sideline.

His mood did not improve as City’s weak efforts to redeem themselves came to nothing despite Phil Foden’s introduction.