Bruno Guimaraes names ‘world’s best goalkeeper’ Nick Pope after Magpies win

Nick Pope was hailed as the “best goalkeeper in the world” after his 10th consecutive clean sheet helped put Newcastle on the brink of Wembley.

The England international produced two stunning second-half saves from Southampton striker Che Adams as the Magpies secured a vital 1-0 win from a breathless Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at St Mary’s.

Joelinton shrugged off a disallowed goal and a shock miss to claim the visitors’ winner in the 73rd minute, while Saints substitute Adam Armstrong had an equalizer ruled out for handball following VAR intervention.

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe, who warned there is still a long way to go in the game ahead of next week’s second leg, hailed the impact of his in-form keeper, while Magpies midfielder Bruno Guimaraes went a step further.

“A goal is important, we could have scored more but the most important thing was to be a goal ahead of Southampton,” the Brazilian midfielder told Sky Sports.

“I want to thank Nick Pope, I think he’s the best goalkeeper in the world. Let’s get on with it.”

Nick Pope twice denied Che Adams, left (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Speaking about a player he signed from Burnley this summer, Howe said: “Nick made some big saves today, especially the first one from Adams (which) I thought was a big moment of the game.

“He stood up for us, as he has done all season.

“It (10 clean sheets in a row) is a brilliant thing for Nick. I think he deserves that recognition. He has been excellent on the pitch and offered in every way since he signed for the club.

“I can’t speak highly enough of him, I can’t praise him enough and I can’t rate him highly enough. He’s a brilliant shot stopper and I think he’s in a very good place at the moment.”

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

Joelinton got the only goal in the semi-final first leg (Zac Goodwin/PA)

After Joelinton was controversially adjudged to have handled before finishing in the 39th minute, the game burst into life after the restart.

The Magpies midfielder somehow blazed over with the goal wide open before Pope dampened Southampton’s growing momentum by denying Adams when he was clean through and skilfully punched away a later effort.

Alexander Isak then set up Joelinton for the decisive goal before Newcastle academy graduate Armstrong was frustrated by a review from Stockley Park, having bundled home with the help of an arm.

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

VAR ruled out Adam Armstrong’s goal (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Southampton ended a frenetic encounter with 10 men after defender Duje Caleta-Car was sent off for a second booking four minutes from the end.

“I don’t think we were at our best today but I felt we did enough to deserve to win,” Howe said.

“There were many points of discussion, obviously involving VAR.

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

Eddie Howe said he was pleased with Newcastle’s performance in Hampshire (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“It’s half time, we’re 1-0 up, that’s all. We’re happy with our work tonight, but there’s a long way to go.”

While Newcastle stepped up their quest for a first major domestic trophy since 1955, Southampton were left frustrated and with work to do at St James’ Park.

Saints boss Nathan Jones, who also praised Pope, was pleased with his side’s display as he expressed further VAR disappointment on the back of having two goals ruled out during Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League loss to Aston Villa.

“You can’t celebrate one more goal,” said the Welshman.

Nathan Jones file photo

There was frustration for Nathan Jones (PA)

“You can’t show any emotion because you know it’s going to be VAR one way or another, unless someone picks up the ball from the keeper, runs through 11 players and puts it past the keeper without anything happening.

“We thought we scored two good goals at the weekend, both disallowed by VAR. Tonight is exactly the same.

“I’m frustrated but it’s really difficult because it’s one-off games.

“The persistence level is there, it’s just the edges that make or break good teams and seasons – we just come out on the wrong end of it.”

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