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Nick Pope gets Newcastle a point vs AC Milan in Champions League return

Newcastle United returned to the UEFA Champions League after 20 years and held on for a scoreless draw at the San Siro.

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Newcastle United’s first UEFA Champions League match in two decades saw its goalkeeper as the star, as Nick Pope made eight saves in a scoreless draw with AC Milan at the San Siro on Tuesday.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores, schedule, tables ]

Eddie Howe’s Magpies were dominated by Milan center back Fikayo Tomori and his crew, but will take the nil-nil after conceding 25 shot attempts and failing to put a shot on target until stoppage time when Sean Longstaff was denied by substitute Marco Sportiello.

Newcastle brings a point back home for an Oct. 4 visit from Paris Saint-Germain, while Milan heads to Dortmund next.

USMNT stars Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah came off the bench for Milan and played 39 and 18 minutes, respectively.

Magpies survive wake-up call in Milan

It’s not that Newcastle would’ve entered the UEFA Champions League ignorant of the challenge ahead, but AC Milan made sure the Magpies knew they are in for an almighty battle to reach the knockout rounds.

Milan had the experience and Stefano Pioli set his men up to succeed, the Rossoneri‘s depth on display as subs Tijani Reijnders, Christian Pulisic, Alessandro Florenzi, and Yunus Musah all had the Magpies on their toes until the final whistle.

It was clear that the Magpies exhaled at the halftime break, as Howe’s men looked much better in the second half after being out-attempt 15-2 in the first half. The side missed Joelinton’s edge and size in midfield, while Tomori, Rade Krunic, and Milan’s central players forced Alexander Isak to drop very deep in order to find the ball.

There were a lot of lessons here even after Newcastle’s brutal run of fixtures to start the Premier League season tested them well. Now it’s PSG at St. James’ Park in two weeks.

AC Milan vs Newcastle: How to watch, updates, start time

Date: Tuesday, September 19
Kick off: 12:45pm ET
How to watch: Paramount+ and TUDN USA

AC Milan vs Newcastle United player ratings
AC Milan vs Newcastle player ratings

AC Milan vs Newcastle player ratings (

AC Milan vs Newcastle player ratings (

FULL TIME — AC Milan 0-0 Newcastle United

The Magpies played like a team looking for a point and will leave with one, so Eddie Howe can’t be upset with the draw.

AC Milan, however, will feel they’ve wasted a chance to get three points in a brutal group, especially with the chance to be above PSG and/or Borussia Dortmund after one match day.

Milan did everything but score, out-attempting the visitors 25-6 and having 3-4 very dangerous chances. Nick Pope finished with eight saves while Newcastle failed to put a single shot on target until Sean Longstaff’s effort in stoppage time.

The Magpies saw a first-half possession advantage dwindle to 47% by the final whistle and will hope for much better against — checks notes — Paris Saint-Germain at St. James’ Park in two weeks time.

80th minute — Goalkeeper change for Milan

Mike Maignan comes off through injury, as Milan has to make a goalkeeping change with 10 minutes to play at the San Siro.

Longtime Atalanta man Marco Sportiello comes into the game. Maignan was not required to make a save but had four recoveries amongst his 45 touches.

72nd minute — Musah, Anderson sub in

One more change each here before a bonafide chance for Rafael Leao.

USMNT mid Yunus Musah comes in for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, while Newcastle also makes a midfield move as Sandro Tonali exits in favor of young Elliot Anderson.

Now Florenzi sends a cross into the mix and a leaping Leao flashes a header over the goal. Still 0-0.

62nd minute — Pulisic, Reijnders, Wilson, Almiron enter

A little rotation for AC Milan brings in USMNT star Christian Pulisic and Dutch midfielder Tijani Reijnders. Samu Chukwueze and Tommaso Pobega exit.

Pulisic has two goals in four Serie A games for Milan since coming over from Chelsea this summer.

Newcastle takes off Anthony Gordon and Jacob Murphy, with Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron entering the fray. That moves Alexander Isak to a wing role with Wilson central.

52nd minute — Much better from the Magpies

Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan flies off his line to parry a Jacob Murphy cross as Newcastle is now finding just a bit of danger.

The halftime break was kind to the Magpies, who have found their feet a little bit. This match suddenly feels closer to even.

But now Chukwueze is dropped by Tonali and AC Milan will have a free kick from the right.

SECOND HALF — Milan makes sub

It’s Milan who makes a change at the break.

This one’s probably down to Davide Calabria’s yellow card before the break, and Alessandro Florenzi will take his place at right back.

Newcastle will keep fighting with the same group.


HALFTIME — AC Milan 0-0 Newcastle United

Eddie Howe will hope halftime — and maybe some changes — will give his Champions League new boys the chance to calm down and get into the game.

The Magpies have been out-attempted 15-2 despite 55% possession, and the xG reads 1.59-0.12 in favor of the hosts.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has four shot attempts for Milan, and Tomasso Pobega three. Nick Pope has six saves, and it’s still 0-0.

39th minute — Newcastle finally registers attempt

Milan is producing all of the danger at the San Siro, and Newcastle will be grateful if it can get to the team rooms level.

Milan took the match’s first 15 attempts before Anthony Gordon had a quarter-chance blocked in the 38th minute.

Nick Pope has six saves.

0-0, 39'

30th minute — Chances at both ends

Newcastle’s been very sloppy with the ball, and wastes a free kick. The Magpies get the ball back and Jacob Murphy finds Sean Longstaff in the box and the local hero hits the deck. No call, and VAR won’t find much besides embellishment.

Milan breaks the other way, and a left-footed effort can’t be turned inside the front post by Olivier Giroud.

Still 0-0. Shot attempts now 10-0 to the hosts.

20th minute — All Milan

Pope’s had to make two more saves as Milan has earned a couple of corner kicks along the way.

Chukwueze looks dangerous on the right side while Ruben Loftus-Cheek has the second chance.

Milan’s attempted nine shots in the first 20 minutes of this game, while Newcastle has barely tasted the home side’s 18.

15th minute — Nick Pope on call for three stops

Nick Pope’s suddenly busy and is thrice asked to deny Milan.

First is Tommaso Pobega’s rip from distance. Pope has to dive to his right to make a save, and the ball is crossed back into danger.

Pope denies Samuel Chukwueze, and Milan’s soon back in the Newcastle end where the keeper has to stop Olivier Giroud’s in-tight effort.

It’s out for a corner, and more danger! But Newcastle gets the clearance.

10th minute — Cagey start

There’s been a total of 0.01 xG between the sides, that coming from a speculative AC Milan ball, as both sides are fighting each other and the ball over the first 10 minutes.

Newcastle’s been whistled for three fouls while the hosts have committed one. Milan’s held 57% possession.

AC Milan lineup out

Newcastle lineup out

Eddie Howe’s side have had a slow start to the new Premier League season but they did grind out a 1-0 home win against Brentford on Saturday.

Plenty of key players were rested for that win as Isak, Almiron and Tonali (AC Milan’s player of the season last year before he switched to Newcastle this summer) could all start.

Callum Wilson was seen training on his own ahead of this game as Isak could start.

Newcastle will look to play their usual high tempo stay and also carry a threat on the counter. It will be intriguing to see how Howe gets on in his first-ever game managing in European competition.

Well, they were battered by Inter Milan 5-1 at the weekend and Pioli will want to see a reaction from his side.

Milan had started the season really well with new arrivals Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Yunus Musah, Samuel Chukwueze and Noah Okafor looking very good as Milan had won all three of their opening Serie A games before a true humbling at the hands of their city rivals.

After reaching the UEFA Champions League semifinals last season (they lost to Inter at that stage too), Pioli’s side will be very happy to get out of the group stage this time out as PSG and Dortmund are the favorites, for now, to advance.

Milan will have England international center back Fikayo Tomori back after he was suspended for their heavy defeat to Inter, while Pierre Kalulu and Ismael Bennacer are out injured.