Newcastle Faces Reality Check as Borussia Dortmund Sparks Champions League Campaign with 1-0 Victory

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Newcastle Faces Reality Check as Borussia Dortmund Sparks Champions League Campaign with 1-0 Victory

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NEWCASTLE, England (AP) — Newcastle received a stark Champions League reminder from Borussia Dortmund.

A 1-0 defeat to the German team at a damp St. James’ Park on Wednesday contrasted sharply with Newcastle’s triumphant 4-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain three weeks ago.

It appears this competitive group, which also includes AC Milan, could potentially remain undecided until the end.

Dortmund kick-started their Champions League campaign with a first win as Felix Nmecha converted Nico Schlotterbeck’s cross in the 45th minute, surprisingly resulting in the only goal in a back-and-forth encounter.

Despite being the top scorers in this season’s Premier League, Newcastle failed to find their clinical edge, striking the goal frame twice in the second half through Callum Wilson and then Anthony Gordon in stoppage time.

Dortmund, currently in fine form with five consecutive wins in the German league, managed to join Newcastle on four points, trailing leader PSG by two points.

“We weren’t at our best,” Newcastle defender Kieran Trippier admitted. “We pushed harder in the second half, but we know we can perform much better.”

A challenging night for Newcastle included injuries to striker Alexander Isak in the first half and winger Jacob Murphy after he came on as a second-half substitute.

Offseason signing Sandro Tonali made a 65th-minute appearance, potentially marking his final match of the season following his implication in a betting scandal in his native Italy.

Newcastle struggled to contain Dortmund’s midfield runners in the first half and couldn’t maintain the intensity they displayed against PSG, one of the greatest nights for the Saudi-owned club.

Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope made a stunning double save early on from Donyell Malen and Niclas Fullkrug but was unable to prevent Nmecha’s goal, which concluded a sequence that began with Schlotterbeck dispossessing Gordon and concluded with the defender providing the cross for the decisive goal.

“We had an excellent first half, where we deserved the win. In the second, we protected it,” said Dortmund coach Edin Terzić, who witnessed midfielder Emre Can exit the game due to injury. “We put in a lot of effort, displayed a lot of passion, and gave everything to secure that victory.”

Newcastle now faces consecutive away matches against Dortmund and PSG.

“It was always going to be a close contest in the group,” commented Newcastle manager Eddie Howe. “Tonight’s outcome was a setback for us, particularly at home.”


AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

The Associated Press

Reference:

https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/news/dortmund-ignites-champions-league-campaign-211741792.html

https://apnews.com/article/newcastle-borussia-dortmund-champions-league-nmecha-73512f80be26045a63e19fb0eda6891a

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