Friday, July 19, 2024

Alexander Isak stars as Newcastle beat bitter rivals Sunderland in FA Cup

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Newcastle ended their 13-year wait to beat bitter rivals Sunderland as Alexander Isak’s double inspired a 3-0 win in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.

In the first Tyne and Wear derby since 2016, Eddie Howe’s side put their bitter local rivals to the sword thanks to Dan Ballard’s first-half own goal and Isak’s brace after the break at the Stadium of Light.

Newcastle had lost six of their previous seven clashes with Sunderland, but their composed display neutered the fired-up Black Cats and delivered a first derby success since a 1-0 victory in 2011. After four successive defeats in all competitions, Howe hoped the derby would be a “season-changing” moment to salve the wounds from their Champions League exit and poor Premier League form. Whether vanquishing second-tier opponents will prove transformative remains to be seen, but for now local pride was all that mattered to the 6,000 Newcastle fans who waved their black and white scarves in delight at the final whistle.

While the northeast rivalry might lack the glamour of the Manchester and north London derbies, there is no questioning the rivalry between clubs separated by just 14 miles.

Encapsulating the enmity was a bizarre incident this week when Sunderland were forced to apologise to furious fans after a stadium bar was redecorated with Newcastle colours in the corporate hospitality section of the visitors’ support.

Newcastle’s fans were taken to the stadium on buses in a huge police convoy, then given their tickets to the match, in a bid to avoid the violent scenes that have marred previous encounters.

Howe had enlisted the help of the few Geordies in Newcastle’s squad to tell the rest of his globally assembled squad just how important the derby is.

The message clearly hit home as Newcastle dominated a frenetic encounter.

Responding to the sound and fury in the stands, tackles flew in with abandon from both teams.

Sunderland’s Jobe Bellingham, brother of Real Madrid star Jude, caught Joelinton with a crude lunge before Jack Clarke pole-axed Sven Botman to the audible delight of the Black Cats fans.

Amid the maelstrom, Newcastle kept their nerve and snatched the lead in the 35th minute as Ballard stretched to block Joelinton’s cross but only succeeded in diverting the ball into his own net.

Sunderland gifted Newcastle their second goal less than 60 seconds after the interval when Almiron robbed the dawdling Pierre Ekwah inside his own area and teed up Isak to fire home from 10 yards.

Ballard’s 90th minute foul on Anthony Gordon conceded a penalty that Isak converted to cap the exclamation point on Newcastle’s victory.

Non-league Maidstone United, the lowest ranked team left in the competition, clinched a surprise 1-0 win against Stevenage to reach the fourth round for the first time.

There is a 69-place gap between George Elkobi’s Kent-based club and third-tier Stevenage.

But in their first third round appearance since 1988, the National League South minnows made history as Sam Corne netted a penalty in first half stoppage-time before fans flooded the pitch in celebration at the final whistle.

In Saturday’s other early third round ties, Leicester took a break from their Championship promotion push to beat Millwall 3-2 at The Den.

Ten points clear at the top of the Championship, the 2021 FA Cup winners were able to rest several players and still saw off Millwall through goals from Cesare Casadei, Ricardo Pereira and Tom Cannon.

Ipswich, who are second to Leicester in the Championship, moved into the fourth round with a 3-1 win at League Two side AFC Wimbledon.

Later on Saturday, inconsistent Chelsea will look to avoid a shock at home to Championship side Preston, while surprise title chasers Aston Villa travel to second-tier Middlesbrough.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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