THE NOTEBOOK: Newcastle keeper Nick Pope makes five saves in six crazy minutes, Kieran Trippier comes through Rafael Leao test – and relief for Toon fans who don’t leave the San Siro smelling like a toilet
Rafael Leao was guilty of a stunning miss which allowed Newcastle to escape from a difficult situation as their Champions League opener at AC Milan ended goalless.
The Portugal international, who was Newcastle star Sandro Tonali’s teammate at San Siro until his £53million summer move to Tyneside, completely inflated his lines with only goalkeeper Nick Pope to beat after attempting a daring move at the end of a superb 34th minute. ran and only managed to stumble.
Pope will feel he has already earned his share of good luck after making five first-half saves in the space of six minutes to pave the way for a 0-0 draw.
For the seven-time winners, beaten 5-1 by rivals Inter Milan on Saturday, there was no salvation on a night where they created enough chances but failed to take any .
Mail Sport’s Craig Hope looks at some things you may have missed from Tuesday’s Champions League tie.
Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope secured his side a point with a series of saves
Pope saves Newcastle
There are games where Nick Pope’s feet get him into trouble – but plenty more when his hands get his team out of trouble.
Dropped by England recently, it’s a reminder of why he remains so important to Newcastle.
The Champions League will create opportunities where your goalkeeper has to make saves, and Pope certainly did that here – seven of them before half-time and five during a crazy six-minute period in which Milan dominated Newcastle.
It made the difference between one point and none.
Relief for Toon Fans
There was a welcome sight for any Newcastle fan entering the ground who was also here in 2003.
That evening, in the lower level of the Curva Sud, they spent 90 minutes looking over their shoulders as well as at the field.
The local ultras in the section above showered them with beer, coins, urine and flares.
This time they were on the highest floor, at the opposite end of the stadium.
A clever walk from the ground, yes, but at least they didn’t leave smelling like toilets.
Trippier passes the test
Newcastle have signed Tino Livramento in a £30million deal to succeed Kieran Trippier.
Newcastle defender Kieran Trippier keeps a close eye on Milan striker Rafael Leao.
The English full-back was celebrating his 33rd birthday here, an age when legs are supposed to slow down. So how about this to examine where Trippier currently stands – Milan’s Rafael Leao in direct opposition.
The Portuguese winger is widely regarded as one of the fastest in Europe, but Trippier’s quick thinking has largely kept him in check.
There is still life – and legs – in the Newcastle captain.