Newcastle into Carabao Cup semi-finals as Dan Burn sparks win over Leicester | Carabao Cup

It has been a lengthy, frustrating and sometimes downright painful wait but Newcastle have reached their first major cup semi-final for 18 years.

As an exultantly noisy, energetically black-and-white-flag-waving, crowd celebrated the goals from Dan Burn and Joelinton which deservedly swept Eddie Howe’s side into the Carabao Cup’s final four, Brendan Rodgers was a study in technical area dejection.

Leicester’s manager has warned the club’s increasingly mutinous fans he is “not a magician” and his injury-hit team were made to look distinctly ordinary by a Newcastle side for whom almost anything feels possible this season. Maybe Howe really is taking Gallowgate Enders on a magic carpet ride to Wembley.

At times Newcastle were so good that an unsteady, throughly destabilised Leicester resembled a mountaineer tackling Everest in trainers. “It’s been too long a wait for success here,” said Howe. “We’ve got a huge test ahead but we’re delighted to be in a semi-final. The players were excellent from start to finish.”

Miguel Almirón set the tone with a blistering, zigzagging run from deep in the first minute which left Leicester’s defenders rocking on their heels. When Almirón played in the impressive Joe Willock, his left-wing cross cued up Sean Longstaff but much to Danny Ward’s relief, he side-footed scruffily into the ground before watching the ball spin harmlessly high and wide.

As a litany of chances came and went and Rodgers’s side retreated ever deeper, it became all too easy to see how Newcastle won 3-0 at Leicester in the Premier League on Boxing Day. Not to mention precisely why the visitors are currently in relegation peril while Howe’s players pursue a Champions League place.

Almirón’s enthusiasm for reaching the Carabao Cup semi-finals was evident as, burning off the pursuing Wout Faes, the Paraguayan conjured a decent chance for Callum Wilson. That one ended up blocked during a first half in which Ward twice saved from Bruno Guimarães.

Joelinton beats Danny Ward to put Newcastle 2-0 ahead.
Joelinton beats Danny Ward to put Newcastle 2-0 ahead. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

No matter; the closest Leicester came to threatening in the first period involved their former Newcastle forward Ayoze Pérez shooting straight at Nick Pope, and Patson Daka allowing Sven Botman to ride to Newcastle’s rescue by dithering in a rare moment when he had the goal at his mercy. Yet in allowing an initially ferociously high tempo to drop and beginning to snatch somewhat desperately at final balls, Howe’s side did at least offer Rodgers a glimmer of hope. Without ever really testing Pope – although anything might have happened had Youri Tielemans’s long-range shot not been deflected for a corner – his side briefly gained a tentative foothold in the game.

Normal service was resumed when, early in the second half, Joelinton unleashed a shot which, assisted by a helpful deflection off Marc Albrighton, Ward did well to divert, the ball brushing a post on its journey wide.

Despite Tielemans – a midfielder on Howe’s January shopping list – seeing another shot deflected off target, by Fabian Schär this time, Newcastle had a second wind and Burn looked extremely annoyed with himself after failing to make the most of a headed chance created by Kieran Trippier’s free-kick.

It took a diving save from the excellent Ward to deny Longstaff’s subsequent shot out but a goal was coming and even the keeper had no answer as Burn redeemed himself for that earlier miss by threatening to lift the St James’ Park roof off.

It all began with Willock pickpocketing possession from Timothy Castagne and, following Joelinton’s neat lay-off, concluded with Burn holding off three defenders before steering an angled shot across Ward and into the bottom corner. As Howe leapt into the arms of his assistant Jason Tindall, the ground echoed to the first strains of: “We’re going to Wem-ber-lee.”

A year after joining his boyhood heroes from Brighton for £13m, the towering, Northumberland-born defender had picked the ideal time to score his first goal for Newcastle. As a child growing up in Blyth, Burn dreamed of wearing black-and-white stripes at Wembley and was heartbroken when Graeme Souness’s Newcastle lost to Manchester United in the 2005 FA Cup semi-finals. “On a personal level I’m just delighted for Dan,” said Howe. “It was an incredible moment for him.”

Joelinton ensured the class of 2022-23 remain in with a chance of winning Newcastle’s first major trophy since the Fairs Cup in 1969, the Brazilian sealing the tie with the second goal after meeting Almirón’s exquisite diagonal pass, taking a couple of steadying touches and shooting low beyond Ward.

Although the substitute Jamie Vardy missed an inviting late chance, Leicester were well beaten. “The best team won,” confirmed Rodgers. “No complaints. We didn’t pass the ball quickly enough but Newcastle have momentum, good physicality, a strong mentality and real quality.”

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