After 20 years, St James’ Park welcomed a Champions League match again, and not even the most optimistic Newcastle fan would have imagined it would be such a magical night as it turned out to be, with an engaging and constant-pressure football style, the Magpies defeated the high-profile PSG with a score of 4-1.
Newcastle 4-1 PSG
Newcastle has had a good season in 23/24, making smart moves in the transfer window with successful signings like Sandro Tonalli, Barnes, and Livramento. They also managed to retain players sought after by various teams, such as the Brazilians Joelinton and Bruno Guimarães, as well as the Swedish striker Isak.
In the Premier League, things haven’t been easy as it’s one of the most competitive leagues in the world. So far, the Magpies are in 8th place with 4 wins and 3 losses, totaling 12 points, only 5 points behind the leaders, Manchester City.
On the other hand, it’s clear that this season is very important for the club, considering they hadn’t played in the Champions League for more than 20 years, one of the most prestigious competitions in the world.
It’s worth noting that Newcastle is managing the club very well as a whole after the injection of money from Saudi investors. They are working closely with the coaching staff to create a team with its own solid playing style, reflected in their qualification for the Champions League and a strong start in the competition, with a draw against Milan at San Siro and a 4-1 victory over PSG at home.
PSG, on the other hand, represents a contrast to Newcastle. They often use their investments desperately, always seeking star players rather than building a team. However, this season seems to be different.
They hired Luis Henrique as the coach, who has a clear and solid playing philosophy, and they invested in young talents to develop within the club, such as Gonçalo Ramos, Kolo Muani, Ugarte, Dembelé, and others.
Nevertheless, PSG’s start to the season has not been great. They are in 5th place in Ligue 1 with 3 wins, 3 draws, and 1 loss, and they are in second place in the “Group of Death” in the Champions League, following a win against Dortmund at home and a 4-1 loss to Newcastle.
However, patience is needed for things to develop, especially because for the first time in years, PSG is showing glimpses of a slightly more solid management, particularly in terms of developing a playing identity with coach Luis Henrique and connecting with the fans, as they’ve made an effort to bring in talented French players to the team.
St James’ Park was packed, and the Toon Army cheered on their team as if there were no tomorrow, making the most of this magical night in Newcastle.
The Toons came onto the field in a well-structured 4-3-3 formation, ready to apply strong pressure on PSG’s ball distribution, with Pope in goal; Trippier, Lascelles, Schär, and Dan Burn in defense; Tonalli, Bruno Guimarães, and Longstaff in midfield; and Almirón, Isak, and Gordon in attack.
Meanwhile, the Rouge-et-Bleu played with an audacious yet fragile 4-2-4 formation, featuring Donnarumma in goal; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Skriniar, and Lucas Hernández in defense; Ugarte and Emery in midfield; and Dembélé, Gonçalo Ramos, Kolo Muani, and Mbappé in attack.
The game started with Newcastle in high gear, pressing PSG in their own half, and the French side struggled to break free. However, PSG had the first good chance of the game at the 5-minute mark when Emery made a good run through the middle and delivered a fine pass to Mbappé on the wing. Mbappé controlled the ball, cut inside, and delivered a beautiful cross to Dembelé, who unleashed a powerful left-footed shot that narrowly missed the post.
From that moment on, PSG couldn’t find their rhythm, as the pressure from the Magpies was intense. Tonalli, Bruno Guimarães, and Longstaff moved cohesively in midfield, making it difficult for PSG to maintain possession.
At the 16-minute mark, Marquinhos attempted to play out from the back, but his teammates failed to offer good passing options. He tried to pass the ball but erred, and Bruno Guimarães intercepted it with a header, immediately delivering a precise pass to Isak. Isak quickly turned and fired a shot, which Donnarumma saved brilliantly. However, the rebound fell to the speedy Almirón, who struck the ball firmly to open the scoring. The Paraguayan headed straight for the fans and celebrated passionately with the Toon Army—a moment to remember, as it was Newcastle’s first Champions League goal in 20 years.
Newcastle grew even more confident after the goal and continued to press PSG in their half. They had another great chance at the 26-minute mark after a well-rehearsed corner kick. Trippier played a low curving ball that took it out of the box. Schär met it with a powerful low shot that grazed the post. The game was firmly in the hands of the Magpies, and everything was aligning for this magical night.
At the 36-minute mark, Trippier took a free-kick just outside the area on the right side. He delivered a precise cross to the head of the top scorer Isak, who headed strongly, but the ball struck Hakimi’s arm. The play continued, and the ball found its way to B. Guimarães near the left end line. The Brazilian dribbled the ball for a moment and, with little angle to work with, unleashed a rocket of a shot that Donnarumma saved brilliantly. However, the ball came back to B. Guimarães, who crossed perfectly to Dan Burn. The tall defender rose high and headed firmly, and although Donnarumma got a hand on it, the ball had already crossed the goal line—2-0.
The first half ended with PSG struggling to find their rhythm. The Parisians were having a poor match, primarily due to Newcastle’s dominance in midfield, where Ugarte and Emery couldn’t match the strength and intensity of Guimarães, Longstaff, and Tonalli.
The second half started in the same fashion, with Newcastle clearly determined to make history—a once-in-a-lifetime game for them. Just four minutes into the second half, Almirón dribbled the ball from midfield to the wing. He found Trippier on the flank, who, sensing Longstaff’s run, played an exquisite through ball to the midfielder. Longstaff attacked the box with pace and struck a powerful shot that Donnarumma touched but couldn’t prevent from finding the net. It was the Magpies’ third goal.
After the third goal, Newcastle adopted a slightly different approach, no longer pressing PSG in their half and becoming more composed. PSG, on the other hand, continued to try but struggled to create clear chances. It’s true that the Parisian side looked more organized after Vitinha came on, and he might have made a difference if he had started the game instead of one of the four attackers chosen by Spanish coach Luis Henrique.
The French team did manage to pull one back with a fine header from Lucas Hernández, who received a beautiful long pass from the youngster Emery and nodded it into the back of the net. However, as mentioned earlier, PSG was unable to truly threaten Newcastle.
Towards the end of the game, Newcastle even had a few more opportunities to pressure PSG in their half, and another goal came from it. In the 45th minute of the second half, the defender Schär intercepted Gonçalo Ramos and took the ball. He passed it to Murphy, who controlled it and returned it to the Swiss defender. Schär received the ball, dribbled a bit, and unleashed a powerful shot to seal the magical night in Newcastle with a 4-1 score.
With this game, Newcastle proved that they are not the underdogs in the “Group of Death” and that their fans and players will do everything to make this an extraordinary Champions League season. As for PSG, they should remain unfazed and continue working on developing a solid project, aiming for the day when the coveted Champions League trophy is celebrated in Paris.
Written by João Felipe Miller