Newcastle United will play at Wembley for the first time in 24 years after they beat Southampton 3-1 on aggregate to reach the Carabao Cup final.
Leading 1-0 from the first leg of their semi-final at St Mary’s, Sean Longstaff was the unlikely hero as he notched an early double to extend the Magpies’ lead and set them firmly on course for their first major final since the 1999 FA Cup, their first trip to the new Wembley, and their first League Cup final since 1976.
Che Adams then hit a beauty from outside the box to give Southampton some hope just before the half-hour mark, but they failed to build on that as Newcastle saw out a 2-1 win on a night of jubilant celebration at St James’ Park. The only slight blot was a late red card for Bruno Guimaraes, who will now be banned for three games, after an awful late challenge on Samuel Edozie.
Bruno Guimaraes to miss next three Premier League games
- West Ham (H) – Sat, Feb 4
- Bournemouth (A) – Sat, Feb 11
- Liverpool (H) – Sat, Feb 18
Crucially, though, he will not miss the final, where Manchester United or Nottingham Forest will be standing in the way of Newcastle’s first silverware since 1969. Although it will likely be the former as they lead 3-0 going into the second leg of their semi-final at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
Longstaff steers Newcastle to Wembley for the first time since 1999
Any nerves Newcastle may have been feeling were rapidly dispelled by an electric start and fine early goal. Kieran Trippier had the ball down the right and shifted it inside to Longstaff, who ended a run of 54 appearances without a home goal as he took a touch and then finished past Gavin Bazunu.
And just like London buses it was a rapid second for the midfielder. It was another superb team move as Joelinton and Joe Willock combined down the left, before Miguel Almiron’s cut back into space found the run of Longstaff to slam in.
Newcastle’s drought in numbers
- 47 years since Newcastle last played in the League Cup final
- 24 years since Newcastle last played at Wembley – in the 1999 FA Cup final
- 54 years since Newcastle last won a trophy – the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup
- 68 years since Newcastle last won a domestic trophy – the 1955 FA Cup
Southampton were stunned, but they were given a massive lifeline thanks to a loose pass from Willock into the path of Adams. The striker still had an awful lot to do, though, but he took advantage of space 20 yards out to strike a fizzing effort beyond the outstretched dive of Nick Pope – the first time the goalkeeper had conceded in any competition since they faced the Saints in the Premier League on November 6.
Nathan Jones made some changes at half-time to try and haul his side back into the semi-final, and one of his subs in Romeo Lavia nearly helped them do just that, as his brilliant pass on 72 minutes found the run of Adam Armstrong. He broke the offside trap, but could not find his way past Pope when he was through one-on-one.
But that would be the last chance for Southampton, meaning Newcastle can look forward to a first League Cup final for 47 years, and an attempt to win a trophy for the first time since winning the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final in 1969 – a wait of 54 years.
Howe: Our team spirit is carrying us through
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe on Sky Sports Football:
“Team spirit and togetherness carries you a long way and we do have that at the moment. It’s my job to try and protect it, encourage it and increase it. I’ve got some brilliant professionals in that dressing room who have done the club proud this season.
“[Longstaff] is pivotal as he is Newcastle through and through. He’s an excellent player and only adding goals will increase everyone else’s awareness of that. I’m so pleased for him as he’s deserved the accolades.
“[The red card] was a huge blow for us and it will take time for it to sink in. He’s a huge player as everything goes through him – we’ll miss him. But it will be an opportunity for someone else.”
Jones: We cost ourselves defensively
Southampton boss Nathan Jones on Sky Sports Football:
“I was really disappointed with the first 20 minutes. We were really passive with what we wanted to do. We weren’t aggressive, and the goals were really bad. We let runners go.
“The two opportunities we gave them. It was [defensive] suicide really. But the reaction after that was fantastic. We got a goal back, and second half we were excellent. We were really positive, the only thing we lacked was a little bit of cutting-edge. We had a glorious chance but we couldn’t take it.”
Player of the Match – Sean Longstaff
When is the Carabao Cup final?
The Carabao Cup final will take place on Sunday February 26. It will be live on Sky Sports Football.
Newcastle return to Premier League action at 5.30pm on Saturday when they host West Ham at St James’ Park, live on Sky Sports.
Eddie Howe’s side are then live on Sky Sports again the following Saturday when they travel to Bournemouth for another 5.30pm kick-off.
Up next for Southampton is a trip to Brentford at 3pm on Saturday before a home match against Wolves at the same time on February 11.