After an absence of 20 years, Newcastle United will make their return to the prestigious UEFA Champions League next season following a goalless draw at home against struggling Leicester City. This result secured a top-four finish in the Premier League for Newcastle.
Although the fans were expecting a glorious farewell at home, Newcastle completely dominated the match from start to finish without finding the back of the net. However, the lack of goals didn’t matter as the dream of Champions League football became a reality.
Newcastle had an impressive 23 goal attempts compared to Leicester’s solitary shot, and they were denied by the woodwork three times. Leicester, fighting for survival, held on for a valuable point that keeps their hopes alive heading into the final round of games this weekend.
Under the guidance of Eddie Howe, Newcastle currently sits in third place with 70 points and one game remaining. They hold a four-point lead over fifth-placed Liverpool, who also have one match left. Fourth-placed Manchester United, with 69 points, have two games remaining.
Leicester climbed one place above Leeds United on goal difference, securing 18th place. They must win their home game against West Ham United on Sunday and hope that 17th-placed Everton fail to defeat Bournemouth.
Interestingly, despite defending their penalty area for the entire match, Leicester suddenly posed a threat during the five minutes of stoppage time. A brilliant save by Nick Pope from Timothy Castagne prevented them from snatching an unexpected victory.
The final whistle was met with immense cheers from the loyal St James’ Park faithful, who can hardly believe the remarkable transformation their club has undergone since being acquired by a consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in October 2021.
Just two years ago, Newcastle had no wins and languished in 19th place under the ownership of the unpopular Mike Ashley. But with the appointment of Eddie Howe and shrewd transfer dealings, Newcastle has returned to the ranks of Europe’s elite.
“I can’t express it in words, to be honest. If you had told us two years ago that this would happen, we wouldn’t have believed you,” exclaimed midfielder Sean Longstaff in an interview with Sky Sports.
“We’ve beaten Juventus here 1-0 in the Champions League; you see it on old DVDs. To be part of this, I’m buzzing.”