Rafael Leao was responsible of an unimaginable miss which let Newcastle off the hook as their Champions League opener at AC Milan completed goalless.
The Portugal worldwide, who was Newcastle star Sandro Tonali’s team-mate at San Siro till his £53million summer time change to Tyneside, fully fluffed his traces with solely goalkeeper Nick Pope to beat after making an attempt an audacious flick on the finish of a surprising Thirty fourth-minute run and solely succeeded in tripping himself.
Pope will really feel he had already earned his slice of fine fortune after making 5 first-half saves within the house of six minutes to pave the best way for a 0-0 draw which banked a priceless first level for the Magpies’ Group F account on their return to European soccer’s prime desk after an absence of 20 years.
For the seven-time winners, who have been thrashed 5-1 by derby rivals Inter Milan on Saturday, there was no salvation on an evening after they created sufficient possibilities, however have been unable to take any of them, a lot to the annoyance of the locals amongst a crowd of 65,695.
Pope needed to come to Newcastle’s rescue 5 occasions in fast succession after Dan Burn, one in all two Geordies in Eddie Howe’s beginning line-up, allowed the ball to run throughout him, forcing Sven Botman to make a hurried clearance.
Midfielder Tommaso Pobega pounced on the free ball to check the keeper from distance and Pope needed to react swiftly to repel Samuel Chukwueze’s header because the ball was recycled earlier than denying Olivier Giroud from point-blank vary together with his defenders unable to maintain the purple and black shirts at bay.
The England worldwide then tipped away Rade Krunic’s raking drive and turned Giroud’s Nineteenth-minute header over the bar after he had been left criminally unmarked from the ensuing nook.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek blazed over from lengthy vary after as soon as once more bursting via the black and white cowl with Howe’s males underneath sustained stress with Tonali, Bruno Guimaraes and Sean Longstaff struggling to exert any management in midfield.
Longstaff was interesting in useless for a Thirty first-minute penalty after taking place underneath Leao’s problem and as Spanish referee Jose Sanchez waved play on, Theo Hernandez broke down the left and crossed for Giroud a the close to publish, solely to see him hearth wastefully large.
Leao ought to have put Milan forward 11 minutes earlier than the break when he carved his approach into the penalty space and previous three lunging tackles to go one-on-one with Pope, however inexplicably tried to back-heel the ball dwelling from six yards and easily fell over with Jacob Murphy hacking Pobega’s follow-up off the road.
Murphy mustered the Magpies’ first try with a curling Forty first-minute shot which flew properly large after Kieran Tripper, Longstaff and Alexander Isak had mixed properly, however there was a measure of aid when the half-time whistle sounded with the rating nonetheless at 0-0.
Tonali blasted a shot straight at defender Malick Thiaw and Murphy blazed excessive and large as Newcastle returned decided to make an impression as an attacking pressure.
Milan’s build-up play was affected person, however the holes which had appeared within the guests’ defence at common intervals earlier than the break remained stubbornly closed after it.
Howe made his transfer with 27 minutes remaining when he despatched on Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron for Anthony Gordon and Murphy, though Pope needed to area a stabbed shot from substitute Tijjani Reijnders inside seconds.
Frustration grew among the many Rossoneri ranks with Hernandez chancing his arm from all of 35 yards just for Botman to thump his try away, though Tonali was applauded warmly by the house followers when he was changed by Elliot Anderson with 18 minutes remaining.
Leao might need atoned for his first-half blunder when he dived to satisfy Alessandro Florenzi’s 74th-minute cross, however he despatched his header over Pope’s crossbar, and a late flurry by Milan was met with stern resistance as the sport ended goalless, however solely after substitute keeper Marco Sportiello had tipped Longstaff’s stoppage-time pile-driver over.