Samuel Chukwueze came off the bench to end Newcastle’s Champions League adventure as AC Milan fought back from a goal down to win at St James’ Park.

On a night when both sides needed to win to stand any chance of progressing, goals from Christian Pulisic and Chukwueze handed the Serie A side a 2-1 victory which was not enough to prolong their involvement in the competition following a 1-1 draw between Borussia Dortmund and Paris St Germain in Germany.

Seven-time winners Milan at least have the consolation of a Europa League berth while Eddie Howe’s men, who took a 33rd-minute lead through Joelinton’s piledriver in front of a crowd of 52,037, slipped out of Europe all together after finishing bottom of Group F in their first campaign since 2002-03.

Goalkeeper Martin Dubravka shook off a bout of illness which had threatened his participation to retain his place in the team with striker Callum Wilson making his first start since damaging a hamstring during the 2-0 defeat at Dortmund on November 7.

Such have been head coach Howe’s selection problems that only four of the men who started the reverse fixture in September – Kieran Trippier, Fabian Schar, Bruno Guimaraes and Anthony Gordon – did so on Tyneside.

St James’ reverberated as an expectant home crowd played its part, and Gordon’s early challenge on full-back Davide Calabria was cheered almost as appreciatively as a goal on a night when the stakes could hardly have been higher.

Trippier curled a sixth-minute free-kick over Mike Maignan’s crossbar after Pulisic had bundled Gordon to the ground as the Magpies maintained their early intensity, although the visitors with experienced striker Olivier Giroud providing a focal point, gradually eased their way into the game.

For all their dominance, Newcastle were struggling to create meaningful chances and Schar’s speculative 18th-minute strike from distance, which sailed high over Maignan’s crossbar, had a touch of impatience about it.

However, Fikayo Tomori had to make a superbly-timed intervention on his own line to prevent Miguel Almiron from converting Joelinton’s cross two minutes later.

Rafael Leao whipped a shot wide of Dubravka’s left post after Yunus Musah had surged deep into enemy territory to feed him as the visitors responded, but Maignan had to pluck Almiron’s goal-bound header from under his crossbar after he had met Joelinton’s inviting cross.

But it was the Brazilian who broke the deadlock when he ran on to Lewis Miley’s lay-off and smashed a right-footed shot past the helpless Maignan and into the top corner before sprinting to the sideline to celebrate with Howe and assistant Jason Tindall as the stadium erupted.

The game descended into a scrappy affair with both sides struggling to retain possession as the half-time whistle approached, and it was the Magpies who ultimately headed for the dressing rooms much the happier.

Wilson picked out the keeper with two attempts and Gordon fired over from another with Newcastle looking to kill the game off as news that Dortmund had scored rippled around the stadium.

PSG’s equaliser minutes later did little to quell the atmosphere, but spirits dropped with 59 minutes gone when the home defence failed to deal with Leao’s left-wing cross and Giroud teed up former Chelsea midfielder Pulisic to level from close range.

A much-improved Milan were causing significantly more problems with Leao in particular a persistent threat, but substitute Alexander Isak sent a dipping shot over with 23 minutes remaining and Maignan had to make a superb save to tip Guimaraes’ drive on to his crossbar two minutes later.

The woodwork came to Newcastle’s rescue 11 minutes from time when Leao’s shot came back off the post after Tino Livramento’s error had sparked a pacy counter-attack, but there was no escape five minutes later when Noah Okafor and Luka Jovic combined to set up fellow substitute Chukwueze to win it.



Leon Bailey fired Aston Villa to a 1-0 win over Manchester City which equalled a club record with a 14th consecutive home victory and lifted them above the stuttering champions into third place in the Premier League.

Bailey’s 74th-minute strike came thanks to a deflection off Ruben Dias but few inside Villa Park cared amid jubilant celebrations.

Unai Emery’s first career win over Pep Guardiola in 14 attempts came in his 50th match in charge of Villa, a side he has transformed from relegation battlers to top-four contenders in the space of a year.

For City it was yet another sign of their over-reliance on the suspended Rodri. They are unbeaten in their last 43 matches in which the Spain midfielder has played, but their four defeats this season have all come when he has been serving a ban.

With Jack Grealish and Jeremy Doku also missing through suspension and injury respectively, Guardiola was forced into a midfield that included two defenders, John Stones and Rico Lewis, with another, Manuel Akanji, pushing forward.

Villa knew they could get at such an imbalanced City side and did so from the start.

City’s lack of fluidity only encouraged a Villa side already high on confidence in front of their own fans and they were all over the champions in the first half, beating the high line with regularity as Ederson was forced into early saves to deny Bailey and Pau Torres.

At the other end, Erling Haaland was denied twice in quick succession by Emiliano Martinez in the 11th minute. Villa’s World Cup winner pushed his low shot to one side and then, when Bernardo Silva picked up the rebound to cross, recovered to palm his close-range header to safety.

But that was a rare foray forward for City, who struggled to get out of their own half as Villa repeatedly picked off the ball, having 13 shots at goal in the first half alone.

They thought they had their reward on the stroke of half time. After Ederson pushed Ollie Watkins’ shot to the side, Lucas Digne stretched to cross and Douglas Luiz headed in, but the flag went in with the ball narrowly out of play.

Stones dropped back into a more conventional position to start the second half and City began to pop the ball around with something approaching their usual confidence, but without getting a sight of goal.

Instead it was Villa who threatened just after the hour mark. Bailey pounced on a loose pass from Silva and played a sweeping ball to John McGinn, who cut inside but saw his shot bounce the wrong side of the post.

City were once again struggling to get out of their own half, and Guardiola responded by sending on midfield reinforcements in Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes for Lewis and Julian Alvarez, with Oscar Bobb replacing Foden soon after.

But Bobb had barely come on to the pitch when Villa took the lead. Bailey cut inside and left Josko Gvardiol behind far too easily, then checked his run on the edge of the box to hit a right-footed shot which deflected off Dias to beat Ederson.

Five minutes later, Luiz almost scored against his former club as Watkins’ shot was deflected up in the air and he pounced on the rebound to force a fine save from Ederson.

Luiz was denied again in the 86th minute when his curling shot bounced back off the post, but City had no response as their winless league run stretched to four, something which last happened in 2017.

For Villa it was a 23rd home win of the calendar year. They can match a top-flight club record that dates back to 1931 when Arsenal visit on Saturday.



Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he will not judge any of his young players on their performance in the 2-1 Europa League dead-rubber defeat to Union Saint Gilloise in Brussels.

Klopp’s team was the youngest in their history by some considerable margin to play a European game with an average age of just 21.9 years and six players aged 20 or under and that showed against the Belgian league leaders.

One of those 20-year-olds Jarell Quansah, who has already made 12 appearances this season, cancelled out Mohammed Amoura’s opener with his first senior goal but Cameron Puertas put the hosts ahead again at the end of an understandably disjointed first half.

Klopp took responsibility for the nature of the performance and absolved his youngsters of any blame.

“I mixed up the team completely, so I think the changes we made, the amount of changes, were too much for rhythm,” he said.

“I would never judge a player after a game like this and say, ‘OK, he’s obviously not good enough’ or whatever.

“I know how good they are because I see them every day in training and tonight is an important experience.

“I don’t think any career ever started without these kind of games where you have to struggle, where you have to fight through, where you have to survive.

“For some it was a really important experience and for others good for rhythm. I saw good performances.

“Of course as a team it is not a fair assessment if I say now they are top of the table in Belgium and we come here, bring kids – altogether that’s really difficult – but I thought we gave it a go and that’s OK for me.

“Nobody got hurt, nobody is injured, so we recover, go home and go again.”

Joel Matip’s surgery this week on an ACL injury leaves Klopp trying to find the most suitable partner for Virgil van Dijk, who along with Alisson Becker and Mohamed Salah was left at home with Liverpool already guaranteed top spot.

Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez played a half apiece to give Klopp a decision on who to pick for the visit of Manchester United on Sunday.

“We just wanted to share the intensity. Do I want to play Joe Gomez 90 or Ibou 90 if we had the chance to do that?,” he added.

“(I decided) 45 and 45, the same in midfield. These changes were planned before the game, independent of the result.”