Newcastle United made a triumphant return to the Champions League with a resounding 4-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain at St James’ Park on Wednesday.
Miguel Almiron, Dan Burn, Sean Longstaff, and Fabian Schar were the goal scorers, ensuring a memorable night as Newcastle played their first home game in Europe’s premier competition in two decades.
Under the leadership of Eddie Howe, Newcastle now sits at the top of what is widely regarded as the toughest group in this season’s Champions League draw.
With four points from their first two matches, they have a one-point advantage over PSG. Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan, meanwhile, secured their first point in a goalless draw in Germany.
The clash between Newcastle and PSG, two clubs with strong ties to Saudi Arabia and Qatar respectively, added an extra layer of intrigue to the encounter.
Newcastle’s fortunes have seen a remarkable transformation since a Saudi takeover two years ago, mirroring PSG’s rise to prominence in French football over the past decade through Middle Eastern investment.
Prior to the game, PSG manager Luis Enrique had cautioned against underestimating Newcastle, labeling them as the team no one wanted to face from the fourth pot of seeds. Newcastle proved his point.
Despite being fully aware of Newcastle’s threat, Luis Enrique fielded a star-studded front four consisting of Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Goncalo Ramos, and Randal Kolo Muani.
PSG had an early chance to alter the course of the game when Dembele’s volley narrowly missed the target from Mbappe’s cross.
However, once the home side harnessed the energy from their passionate 52,000 supporters, they firmly seized control of the match.
PSG contributed to their own downfall when Marquinhos’ loose pass was intercepted by Bruno Guimaraes, setting up Alexander Isak for a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
Although Gianluigi Donnarumma made a brilliant save to deny Isak, Almiron was quick to capitalize, curling the ball into the far corner to break the deadlock.
The second goal held a special significance for Newcastle, as Dan Burn, who had grown up watching the club from the St James’ Park stands, headed home from close range. Despite PSG’s protestations of a handball incident during the build-up, a lengthy VAR review confirmed the goal.
Any hopes of a PSG comeback were dashed within five minutes of the second half when Sean Longstaff latched onto Kieran Trippier’s pass and calmly slotted the ball past a less-than-convincing Donnarumma.
To their credit, PSG displayed some resilience and managed to reduce the deficit. Teenage midfielder Warren Zaire-Emery caught the eye with a well-executed chip over Newcastle’s defense, finding Lucas Hernandez, who headed the ball into the far corner.
However, Newcastle had the final say in their memorable victory. Fabian Schar, a central defender, showcased his attacking prowess by unleashing a powerful strike from outside the box, leaving Donnarumma with no chance.
In contrast, PSG’s quest for European glory remains elusive, as this defeat served as a stark reminder of how far they are from being considered favorites in the competition.
Having endured their worst start to a Ligue 1 campaign during the Qatari era, PSG has won just four of Luis Enrique’s first nine games in charge, raising questions about the team’s current form and future prospects.