Last night, Newcastle produced one of the best displays of the season as we ran out 2-0 winners over Leicester City to reach the final four of this season’s Carabao Cup. A first ever Newcastle goal for fan favourite and local boy Dan Burn got us off and running, before a brilliantly worked move resulted in Joelinton putting the tie beyond reach for our visitors.

Burn, Baby Burn!

Seldom have I seen St James’ Park erupt the way it did last night when Dan Burn slotted home the opener. “He’s from Blyth,” sang the Strawberry Corner as the local lad realised his childhood dreams to score in front of the Gallowgate and send St James’ Park into raptures.

About 10 minutes beforehand, Burn had a brilliant chance to score from a Kieran Trippier free-kick. It was an outstanding, teasing delivery off the left and the big man found himself unmarked in the area, but his header was just too high.

However, right on the hour mark, he scored from what was realistically a much tougher opportunity. He, Willock and Joelinton won the ball back in the corner, before playing a nice little passage and Burn burst into the area before slotting beyond Ward and into the far corner. Cue some of the best scenes of the cathedral on the hill has seen for quite some time!

Being among the fans in the Gallowgate to witness Dan Burn realising his dream is a moment that I honestly don’t think I will ever forget. I have goosebumps thinking about it – and sore knees from jumping up and down to celebrate it! Then the scenes in the changing room after the game are just straight up iconic. What a guy! If you don’t know what I mean, here it is:

Newcastle’s Brazilian Connection

For me, the two best players on the pitch by a country mile last night were Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton. The Brazilian duo have been nothing short of sensational for us this season, and last night saw them both operating at the very peak of their powers.

Joelinton’s ability to win the ball high up the field is a sight to behold. It’s such a key component to the way we play and is often where a lot of our goals come from. Yesterday, in partnership with Joe Willock and often Dan Burn too, Leicester simply could not get out on that side of the field. It’s where the first goal came from, with the trio combining to win back possession before passing through the Leicester back line.

Bruno Guimaraes led by example in the middle for Newcastle last night, bossing the midfield as he so often does

Meanwhile, in the middle of the park, Bruno absolutely bossed the game – as he so often does. The way in which he can get us out of trouble by winning the ball back before using his body to manufacture a foul is extraordinary to watch. Further up the field, you always know he’s a safe pass because he’s just so damn hard to get the ball from. Little lobs over the head of defenders, nutmegs, roulettes – you name it, Bruno G did it last night. The guy is outrageous.

I’d also like to note the confidence that is flowing through the veins of the pair right now. Joelinton is such a far cry away from the player he was a mere 15 months ago under the former manager. The way he took his goal last night was just so classy (how about that ball from Miggy by the way!!!). But the thing that astonishes me is that it was never in doubt when I saw him running through. A year or so ago, God only knows what he would have done with that.

History in the making

The win sent Newcastle through to our first major cup semi-final in 18 years, marking a major milestone for the new ownership and Eddie Howe. That dream of us ending our silverware drought is still alive this season. Whether or not we will be able to capitalise on this and go on to win the trophy is anyone’s guess but, with Manchester City and Manchester United still in the competition, it does feel a little unlikely – but hey, that won’t stop us from dreaming.

The weekend between our two legged semi-final tie will now be a free weekend for Eddie Howe and the lads courtesy of our defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup this past weekend. The fourth round ties in that competition will take place on the weekend of 28th/29th January, with our semi-final tie taking place either side. Unless Nottingham Forest or Wolves (replay with Liverpool pending) win and draw us tonight, our opponent will be in action that weekend.

It seems as though the dominoes are falling for us to go on and reach the final of this tournament for the first time since losing to Manchester City in 1976 and, should that happen, you know fine well we will travel down to the capital in our thousands for the final and enjoy every moment of it – win or lose.

Images from the 1976 League Cup final – the last time Newcastle reached this stage of the tournament, eventually losing to Manchester City

Should the dream come true and Newcastle go on to win our first piece of major silverware since 1969, it cements the legacy of Eddie Howe and this current crop of players for generations to come. For now though, I daren’t even think too long about that possibility. At the risk of sounding like the gaffer, let’s just focus on the next game – which is Fulham at home in the Premier League this Sunday. Bring it on!

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