Newcastle United fell to a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to German side Borussia Dortmund, with the Magpies unable to find a response to Felix Nmecha’s first-half strike.
A riveting start to the game saw a flurry of early chances at St James’ Park, but it was Nmecha’s delightful cushioned effort just before half time that gave Dortmund the lead.
Despite plenty of endeavour in the second half, Newcastle couldn’t find an equaliser, stumbling to a first European defeat of the season. The result leaves Eddie Howe’s side in third after Paris Saint-Germain beat AC Milan in Group F’s other match of the evening.
How the game unfolded
The feverish atmosphere inside St James’ Park was matched by lively starts from both sides, Donyell Malen testing Nick Pope at one end and Anthony Gordon unleashing an effort that Gregor Kobel rebuffed shortly afterwards.
The Newcastle goalkeeper was in action again with ten minutes on the clock, producing an outstanding double save to deny the visitors, while Gordon saw another shot well stopped just moments later after Alexander Isak sent him through on goal.
A frenetic start to the match began to take a more manageable shape as the half wore on, with Dortmund growing into the contest. Both teams looked sharp going forward as the Toon crowd continued to roar at every opportunity, but neither could produce the killer blow in the final third.
That was until Dortmund cut through Newcastle on the break as the clock struck 45 minutes, Gordon robbed of possession in the centre of the park. Nico Schlotterbeck burst down the left-hand side, cutting back for Felix Nmecha to caress home beautifully from just inside the area.
The relentless start to the first half was replaced by a more composed opening ten minutes in the second, Dortmund using their wealth of Champions League experience to take the sting out of proceedings.
Callum Wilson should have drawn the hosts level in the first opening of the second half, however, Gordon teeing up the England striker eight yards from goal. Newcastle’s number nine could only fire straight at Kobel with a disappointing effort.
Newcastle struggled to make too many inroads deep in Dortmund territory, but a late free-kick almost proved pivotal for the Magpies. Matt Targett’s delightful delivery was flicked towards the far post by Wilson, who had to watch his header bounce back off the crossbar.
However, the Bundesliga side held on for an enormous Champions League win, despite Gordon’s deflected strike hitting the crossbar with seconds remaining of stoppage time. The Magpies suffered a first defeat in eight matches and an underwhelming performance marked their first loss in Europe this season.
GK: Nick Pope – 8/10 – Made a magnificent double save early on and was helpless with the goal.
RB: Kieran Trippier – 5/10 – A poor evening by his lofty standards. Sloppy on the ball, caught out of position for the Dortmund goal and mediocre set-piece delivery.
CB: Jamaal Lascelles – 6/10 – A solid performance filling in for Sven Botman. Wasn’t forced to do too much defensive work.
CB: Fabian Schar – 6/10 – Similarly to his centre-back partner, didn’t really put a foot wrong. However, not asked to do too much.
LB: Dan Burn – 5/10 – Promised a tricky evening up against the pace of Donyell Malen and that’s exactly what he received.
CM: Sean Longstaff – 5/10 – Not his best game after the dizzying highs of the Paris Saint-Germain clash. Fairly anonymous throughout.
CM: Bruno Guimaraes – 4/10 – A very quiet evening for the Brazilian. Newcastle needed him to step up and run the show, but he was practically invisible.
CM: Joelinton – 5/10 – Typically physical in midfield, often bullying his counterparts in yellow. However, that aggression often led to him giving away fouls as the game wore on.
RW: Miguel Almiron – 6/10 – Bright in the early stages of the game but his effectiveness wore off in the second half.
ST: Alexander Isak – 6/10 – Subbed after just 15 minutes with injury, but had set Gordon up well just before his departure and could have easily had an assist.
LW: Anthony Gordon – 8/10 – Energetic and relentless from the off. Easily Newcastle’s brightest spark from start to finish. The only criticism of the winger is he missed his early opportunities.
SUB: Callum Wilson (15′ for Isak) – 5/10 – Struggled to influence the game and missed a glorious opportunity to level the scores.
SUB: Jacob Murphy (65′ for Joelinton) – N/A
SUB: Sandro Tonali (65′ for Longstaff) – 6/10
SUB: Joe Willock (70′ for Murphy) – 6/10
SUB: Matt Targett (70′ for Burn) – 6/10
Subs not used: Dubravka (GK), Karius (GK), Dummett, Hall, Livramento.
Eddie Howe – 5/10 – Wasn’t helped by Isak’s early injury, but couldn’t find a way to change the game despite having plenty of time to do so. Perhaps waited a little too long to make his attacking changes.
GK: Gregor Kobel – 7/10 – Made some smart stops early on to deny Gordon. Probably should have been tested more.
RB: Marius Wolf – 6/10 – Had a difficult evening against the feisty Gordon, but few would have been able to cope with the winger’s relentlessness. Didn’t do too much wrong in the one-v-one battles.
CB: Mats Hummels – 9/10 – Outstanding in the heart of defence, using all his experience to Dortmund’s advantage. Kept a well-earned clean sheet.
CB: Nico Schlotterbeck – 9/10 – A wonderful overlapping run and delightful assist for Dortmund’s goal, not to mention he started the move with a great tackle. Kept out Newcastle’s attacking threats.
LB: Ramy Bensebaini – 6/10 – Looked a little out of his depth in the first half replacing the absent Julian Ryerson. Markedly improved in the second.
CM: Felix Nmecha – 8/10 – Finished the move that gave Dortmund the advantage before half-time, executing his effort to perfection.
CM: Emre Can – 5/10 – Substituted just before half-time with a knee injury and looked in significant discomfort. Had been wayward with his passing and a little off the pace before he left the field.
CM: Marcel Sabitzer – 6/10 – Didn’t find himself on the ball too often, but helped Dortmund tick along.
RW: Donyell Malen – 8/10 – Incredibly sharp and positive down the right flank. A constant thorn in Newcastle’s side.
ST: Niclas Fullkrug – 6/10 – Didn’t get an awful lot of service, missing his only chance by firing it straight at Pope. Could have used his frame to hold the ball up more effectively.
LW: Marco Reus – 7/10 – Some tidy touches in tight areas and helped take some pressure off the Dortmund defence with his hold-up play.
SUB: Salih Ozcan (42′ for Can) – 7/10 – Did well protecting his backline and made some important interventions.
SUB: Karim Adeyemi (63′ for Reus) – 6/10
SUB: Niklas Sule (78′ for Malen) – N/A
SUB: Sebastian Haller (79′ for Fullkrug) – N/A
SUB: Giovanni Reyna (79′ for Nmecha) – N/A
Subs not used: Meyer (GK), Lotka (GK), Blank, Bynoe-Gittens, Moukoko.
Edin Terzic – 8/10 – Came with no intentions of sitting deep and soaking up pressure, fighting fire with fire in the first half in particular. Will be delighted with his side’s performance, picking up a crucial three points.