Newcastle have a star in the making despite Dortmund loss highlighting major problem | Football | Sport
Newcastle were condemned to a narrow Champions League defeat on Tuesday night by Borussia Dortmund, who claimed an important 2-0 victory on home soil thanks to goals from Niclas Fullkrug and Julian Brandt. The Magpies, who are currently ravaged by injuries, fought hard in the second half and grew into the game well but ultimately came up short in terms of outright quality.
Express Sport takes a look at some of the biggest talking points from the match at Signal Iduna Park…
A star in the making?
Tino Livramento gave a decent account of himself on his Champions League debut, with the former Southampton ace being trusted to start on the right flank. He was able to win several corners for Newcastle by getting himself in dangerous positions out wide, while his knack of drawing fouls helped to alleviate pressure in the face of Dortmund’s superiority.
The 20-year-old worked tirelessly to carve out chances for Newcastle and nearly grabbed an assist when Joelinton failed to divert home one of his tantalising crosses. Eddie Howe will certainly be hoping that Livramento’s performance was a sign of things to come, with the youngster showing plenty of promise in spite of the final result.
Injury crisis laid bare
Newcastle went into the match without eight first-team players, including the likes of Dan Burn, Alexander Isak and Matt Targett. Burn was their hero against Paris Saint-Germain earlier in the season and his imposing presence was sorely missed at the back, with his absence making Newcastle’s job harder at the top of the pitch as well.
Targett, meanwhile, was replaced by Lewis Hall but the former Chelsea man struggled to adapt at left-back and walked a tightrope for much of the game after being booked early on. Callum Wilson also struggled in attack as he failed to match the standards previously set by Isak, who remains sidelined with a troublesome groin issue.
An unusual protest
Dortmund fans took centre stage in the second half by launching a unique protest, with a number of gold bars and tennis balls being thrown onto the pitch. A large banner was also unveiled, which read: “You don’t care about the sport – all you care about is money.”
The protest appeared to be a barbed dig at UEFA in response to the controversial Champions League reforms, which are planned for next season. It certainly made a splash on social media and even forced a brief stoppage as the objects were cleared from the pitch by players and security staff.
Struggles at the back
Newcastle should really have stopped the attack that led to Dortmund’s first goal before the ball was turned home from close range. They had several chances to clear loose balls, which were swept up by the hosts on every occasion before Fullkrug was given the easiest of finishes from just a few metres out.
Their defensive shortcomings only served to highlight just how much they are missing Burn, who is set for an extended period on the treatment table with a back problem. It left them short of quality when it came to keeping Dortmund at bay and their lack of cohesion was deservedly reflected in the final result.
Magpies face uphill battle
Newcastle’s defeat at Dortmund leaves them in a precarious position when it comes to qualifying for this season’s Champions League knockout stages. They find themselves two points adrift of second-placed PSG, with Dortmund now three points ahead of the Magpies at the top of Group F.
It means that Newcastle will be hoping for some of their rivals to slip up in order to boost their hopes of reaching the last 16. The result at Signal Iduna Park also means that Dortmund will progress via their head-to-head record if the two teams end up with the same number of points.
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