Bruno Guimaraes hails ‘world’s best goalkeeper’ Nick Pope after Magpies win

Nick Pope has been hailed as “the best goalkeeper in the world” after his 10th consecutive absences that brought Newcastle to the brink of Wembley.

The Magpies took a vital 1-0 win in a breathtaking Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at St Mary’s, while the English international scored two spectacular second-half saves from Southampton striker Che Adams.

Joelinton set aside an disallowed goal and a shocking miss to claim the away team’s 73rd minute win, while Saints’ Adam Armstrong ruled out an equalizer for handball after VAR interference.

Magpies midfielder Bruno Guimaraes went a step further, while Newcastle manager Eddie Howe hailed the impact of his formless goalkeeper, who warned ahead of their return meeting next week that a draw still had a long way to go.

“One goal is important, we could have scored more but the most important thing was to be a goal in front of Southampton,” the Brazilian midfielder told Sky Sports.

“I want to thank Nick Pope, I think he is the best goalkeeper in the world. Let’s move on.”

Southampton v Newcastle United – Carabao Cup – Semi-Finals – First Leg – St.  Mary's Stadium

Nick Pope rejected Che Adams twice, left (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Talking about a player he signed from Burnley over the summer, Howe said: “Nick made some big saves today, especially from Adams (who I thought was a big moment in the game).

He stood tall for us, as he did all season.

“10 clean pages in a row) is a great thing for Nick. I think this deserves praise. He has been excellent since signing with the club and presents the pitch from every angle.

“I can’t get enough praise from him, I can’t praise him enough, and I can’t rate him enough. He’s a great defender and I think he’s in a very good place right now.”

Southampton v Newcastle United – Carabao Cup – Semi-Finals – First Leg – St.  Mary's Stadium

Joelinton scores the only goal in the first leg of the semifinals (Zac Goodwin/PA)

After it was controversially decided that Joelinton had tackled before finishing in the 39th minute, the game was revived following the restart.

The Magpies midfielder, Pope, somehow blazed in the goal, before quelling the increased momentum at Southampton by blocking Adams while he was clean and deftly pushing away a later effort.

Alexander Isak then pressed Joelinton for the decisive target before Armstrong, a graduate of Newcastle academy, was frustrated by a Stockley Park inspection packed home with the help of a sleeve.

Southampton v Newcastle United – Carabao Cup – Semi-Finals – First Leg – St.  Mary's Stadium

VAR negates Adam Armstrong’s goal (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Southampton finished a frenzied 10-man match after defender Duje Caleta-Car was ejected for a second penalty four minutes after the end.

“I don’t think we did our best today, but I felt we did enough to deserve to win,” Howe said.

“There were a lot of talking points, of course VAR included.

Southampton v Newcastle United – Carabao Cup – Semi-Finals – First Leg – St.  Mary's Stadium

Eddie Howe says he is pleased with Newcastle’s work in Hampshire (Zac Goodwin/PA)

At halftime, we’re up 1-0, that’s all. We are pleased with our work tonight, but we still have a long way to go.”

As Newcastle ramped up its pursuit of the first major domestic trophy since 1955, Southampton was frustrated and they had work to do at St James’ Park.

Also praising the Pope, Saints boss Nathan Jones was pleased with his team’s performance, further voicing his disappointment in VAR after two goals were eliminated in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Aston Villa in the Premier League.

“You can’t celebrate a goal anymore,” said the Welsh player.

Nathan Jones file photo

Disappointment for Nathan Jones (PA)

“You can’t show any emotion because unless someone takes the ball from the keeper and passes it through the 11 players and past the keeper with nothing else, you know it’s going to VAR one way or another.

“We thought we scored two good goals over the weekend that were denied by VAR. It’s exactly the same tonight.

“I’m disappointed but it’s really hard because these are one-off games.

“The level of performance is in the middle, it’s just the edges that make or break good teams and seasons – we’re just coming out from the wrong side.”

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