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
- AC Milan 0-0 Newcastle: Toon earn battling point on Champions League return
- Milan’s Rafael Leao spurned chance to break deadlock by trying audacious flick
- WATCH: It’s All Kicking Off: Mail Sport’s new weekly football podcast
Rafael Leao was guilty of an incredible miss which let Newcastle off the hook as their Champions League opener at AC Milan finished goalless.
The Portugal international, who was Newcastle star Sandro Tonali’s team-mate at San Siro until his £53million summer switch to Tyneside, completely fluffed his lines with only goalkeeper Nick Pope to beat after attempting an audacious flick at the end of a stunning 34th-minute run and only succeeded in tripping himself.
Pope will feel he had already earned his slice of good fortune 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, who were thrashed 5-1 by derby rivals Inter Milan on Saturday, there was no salvation on a night when they created enough chances, but were unable to take any of them.
Mail Sport’s Craig Hope looks at some things you might have missed from Tuesday’s Champions League tie.
Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope secured his side a point with string of saves
Pope saves Newcastle
There are games when Nick Pope’s feet get him in trouble – but many more when his hands get his team out of it.
Dropped recently by England, this was a reminder as to why he remains so important for Newcastle.
The Champions League will throw up occasions when your goalkeeper needs 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.
He was 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.
On that night, in the lower tier of the Curva Sud, they spent 90 minutes looking over their shoulder as well as at the pitch.
The home ultras in the section above showered them with beer, coins, urine and flares throughout.
This time, they were in the uppermost tier at the opposite end of the stadium.
A canny walk from the ground, yes, but at least they did not leave smelling like a toilet.
Trippier comes through test
Newcastle have signed £30million Tino Livramento as Kieran Trippier’s successor.
Newcastle defender Kieran Trippier keeps a close eye on Milan forward Rafael Leao
The England full-back was celebrating his 33rd birthday here, an age when legs are supposed to slow. So how about this for an examination of where Trippier is currently at – Milan’s Rafael Leao in direct opposition.
The Portugal winger is widely considered one of the quickest in Europe, yet Trippier’s speed of thought largely kept him in check.
There is life – and legs – in the Newcastle captain yet.
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