Newcastle Suffer Heartbreak as AC Milan End Their European Dream

- Football - December 15, 2023
Newcastle Suffer Heartbreak as AC Milan End Their European Dream
Newcastle Suffer Heartbreak as AC Milan End Their European Dream

Newcastle’s hopes of reaching the Champions League quarter-finals were dashed by a late goal from AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who condemned them to a 2-1 defeat at St James’ Park and a 3-2 aggregate loss.

The Magpies, who had stunned the Italian giants with a 1-0 win at the San Siro in the first leg, looked set to complete a remarkable upset when Callum Wilson gave them the lead in the 18th minute with a clinical finish from Allan Saint-Maximin’s cross.

But Milan, who had dominated possession and created several chances, levelled the score just before half-time when Franck Kessie curled a superb shot into the top corner from the edge of the box.

The second half was a tense affair, with both sides knowing that one more goal could decide their fate. Newcastle defended bravely, with goalkeeper Martin Dubravka making some crucial saves, while Milan pressed forward with urgency, but lacked the final touch.

The game seemed to be heading for extra time, until the 88th minute, when Ibrahimovic, who had been quiet for most of the match, rose above the Newcastle defence to head home a cross from Theo Hernandez, sending the away fans into ecstasy and the home fans into despair.

The final whistle confirmed Newcastle’s elimination from the competition, leaving them to focus on their Premier League survival, while Milan celebrated their progress to the last eight, where they will face Barcelona.

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe, who had guided his team to a historic victory in Italy, said he and his players were devastated by the result, but praised their effort and spirit.

He said: “It’s a very tough one to take, because we were so close to achieving something incredible. We gave everything we had, we defended with our lives, we scored a great goal, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.

“AC Milan are a fantastic team, they have world-class players, and they showed their quality tonight. We have to give them credit, but we also have to be proud of ourselves, because we pushed them all the way.

“We have to take the positives from this experience, and use it to motivate us for the rest of the season. We have a lot of important games coming up, and we have to make sure we stay in the Premier League, which is our main objective.”

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