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Newcastle beats Mbappe, PSG in Champions League in statement win

Newcastle's Kieran Trippier Newcastle's Kieran Trippier - The Canadian Press

NEWCASTLE, England (AP) — Two years after being bought by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Newcastle pulled off the biggest win of its new era by beating Kylian Mbappé and Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 on Wednesday in the English club’s first Champions League home game since 2003.

The scorers on one of the great nights at St. James’ Park were Miguel Almiron, Dan Burn, Sean Longstaff and Fabian Schär — players who are far from the “galácticos” many thought Newcastle might be signing under the richest owners in soccer.

Newcastle powered 3-0 ahead after 50 minutes as PSG struggled to hold back a team being swept along in a passionate and intense atmosphere created by the home fans.

Lucas Hernandez pulled a goal back in the 56th for PSG, for whom Mbappé was relatively quiet on the latest tough night for the French champions in their first season since the departures of Lionel Messi and Neymar. Schär's stoppage-time goal added to the pain.

Fifth in the French league and facing a difficult task to qualify from a Champions League group also containing AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund, things aren’t going according to plan for PSG and new coach Luis Enrique this season. This was the team's heaviest group-stage loss in the Champions League in 19 years and the first time they have conceded four in a group game since 2001.

For Newcastle, though, it’s the stuff of dreams. Last week, they were knocking out Manchester City from the English League Cup and seven days later they were getting their biggest ever win in Europe’s top competition against one of the favorites, with two boyhood fans — Burn and Longstaff — among the scorers.

“I remember when the takeover happened,” Burn said about the 2021 purchase of the northeast club by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, "I was out with my dad and I thought I think that's me done now, I'll never get to Newcastle. Three months later, I was signed on deadline day and it's been straight up from there.

“It's like a dream. I'm waiting for someone to wake me up. I'm waiting for the bubble to pop."

Newcastle leads Group F on four points after its 0-0 draw at Milan in the opening round of games. PSG, yet to win the Champions League despite more than a decade of heavy investment by its Qatari ownership, opened with a 2-0 home win over Dortmund. Milan also drew 0-0 at Dortmund on Wednesday.

The visitors only had themselves to blame for the first goal they conceded in the 17th, with Brazil center back Marquinhos attempting to play the ball out from the back and only succeeding in giving it away to Bruno Guimaraes. The ball then fell to Alexander Isak, whose shot was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma and Almiron opened his body to convert the rebound.

Burn — a 6-foot-7 (2.01-meter) defender who used to watch Newcastle from the Gallowgate end as a kid — doubled the lead in the 39th minute, heading in from Guimaraes’ cross with Donnarumma unable to claw out the ball before it crossed the line. It was the subject of a VAR check for both handball and offside in build-up but the goal stood.

And when midfielder Longstaff ran onto Kieran Trippier’s pass and drilled a low shot in off the elbow of Donnarumma, Newcastle was 3-0 up and home fans couldn’t believe what they were seeing.

“For me and Burny to score is unreal,” Longstaff said. "There’s a few here who probably thought we were out the door. I’m so proud to be from Newcastle, I’m over the moon.”

PSG’s only response came six minutes later from Hernandez, who sprinted forward from left back and glanced in a header from Warren Zaïre-Emery’s lofted pass over the defense.

Schär crowned an almost perfect night for Newcastle by winning a tackle then running forward to receive a pass and curl a shot into the corner from the edge of the area.

“Honestly, I think the scoreline is unfair,” Enrique said, "even if I have to congratulate Newcastle, who played very well. But I think 4-1 is harsh.”


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