Advantage Newcastle as Joelinton’s goal decides Carabao Cup semi-final first leg

Joelinton fired Newcastle a step closer to Wembley with the winner in an action-packed Carabao Cup semi-final success at Southampton.

The Brazilian, who also had a goal disallowed and was guilty of a poor miss, secured a 1-0 win for the Magpies by burying a low cross from substitute Alexander Isak with 17 minutes remaining on a breathless night at St Mary’s.

Saints thought they had quickly leveled through Newcastle academy graduate Adam Armstrong, but his sweeping effort was ruled out for handball following VAR intervention.

Joelinton had a first-half effort controversially chalked off for a ruled handball while spilling over with the goal wide open early in the second period.

Southampton ended a frantic encounter with 10 men after defender Duje Caleta-Car was sent off four minutes from time for a second offence.

The hosts had enough chances to go to the North East level, but Nick Pope was in inspired form to stop Che Adams, in addition to Armstrong’s disappointment against his boyhood side.

Eddie Howe hopes to deliver long overdue trophy to Newcastle (PA)

Newcastle arrived on the south coast with manager Eddie Howe urging his side to go one step further as the club chased a first major domestic trophy since 1955.

The high-flying Magpies stuck with the team that started Saturday’s goalless Premier League draw at Crystal Palace, while struggling Saints made four changes, including full debuts for January signings Carlos Alcaraz and Mislav Orsic.

Howe’s men had the better of an uninspiring opening period that lacked quality and chances but featured some important talk.

Southampton v Newcastle United – Carabao Cup – Semi Final – First Leg – St.  Mary's Stadium

Carlos Alcaraz, left, made his full debut for Southampton (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Newcastle midfielder Joe Willock was at the heart of the most promising openings.

The former Arsenal player twice misfired when unmarked before sparking the contentious incident in the 39th minute by bursting free on the left and cutting inside Lyanco to force a low stop out of the Saints- goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu.

Although Mohammed Salisu managed to block Callum Wilson’s initial follow-up effort, Joelinton tapped home the resulting loose ball, only for referee Stuart Attwell to penalize him for handball.

Southampton v Newcastle United – Carabao Cup – Semi Final – First Leg – St.  Mary's Stadium

Referee Stuart Attwell ruled out a Newcastle goal in the first half (Zac Goodwin/PA)

VAR was introduced for this round of the competition, but despite serious debate over where the ball hit Joelinton, the on-field decision was not overturned.

There were then worrying scenes as Southampton winger Moussa Djenepo was forced off after a heavy clash with visiting goalkeeper Pope, to be replaced by Armstrong.

Newcastle won a resounding 4-1 at this ground in the Premier League in November, leading to the sacking of former Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.

Southampton v Newcastle United – Carabao Cup – Semi Final – First Leg – St.  Mary's Stadium

Miguel Almiron created two chances early in the second half (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Miguel Almiron opened the scoring that day and he created two golden chances early in the second period as the away side looked to eradicate that first-half frustration.

Joelinton somehow fired over in the 53rd minute after Almiron’s neat one-two with Sean Longstaff on the right, before Sven Botman hit the side netting from a more difficult opening a minute later.

Pope recorded nine consecutive clean sheets after conceding here just under three months ago.

Southampton v Newcastle United – Carabao Cup – Semi Final – First Leg – St.  Mary's Stadium

Nick Pope, right, would not be beaten in Hampshire (Zac Goodwin/PA)

The England goalkeeper underlined his international credentials by twice denying Adams, the first time after the Saints substitute was sent clean through by Alcaraz, before Newcastle grabbed the advantage.

Swedish striker Isak burst away from Lyanco on the right and delivered a perfectly low cross for Joelinton to finally get his name on the scoresheet.

Newcastle’s sell-out crowd was still reveling in the prospect of a first Wembley Cup final since 1999 when Southampton thought they had equalised.

Southampton v Newcastle United – Carabao Cup – Semi Final – First Leg – St.  Mary's Stadium

Joelinton, right, enjoyed his breakthrough (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Armstrong finished wide after Samuel Edozie turned the ball across goal, but the joy was cut short by Stockley Park.

Tempers then threatened to boil over in the closing stages.

A clash between Bruno Guimaraes and Lyanco sparked a mass brawl before Caleta-Car, booked for bringing down Almiron in the first half, was sent off for turning Allan Saint-Maximin.

Southampton v Newcastle United – Carabao Cup – Semi Final – First Leg – St.  Mary's Stadium

There was joy for Nathan Jones and his players which was quickly ended by VAR (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Isak came close to doubling the advantage in added time but hit the side netting after rounding Bazunu.

Newcastle now have a game-free week to prepare for the return leg, while Saints travel to St James’ Park after an FA Cup fourth-round clash with Blackpool.

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