Newcastle duo pour praise on Nick Pope after first-leg win at Southampton

Bruno Guimaraes claimed Nick Pope is the best goalkeeper in the world after he kept another clean sheet in Tuesday’s 1-0 Carabao Cup semi-final, first-leg win over Southampton.

Newcastle arrived on the south coast with manager Eddie Howe urging his side to go a step further as the club chase a first major domestic trophy since 1955.

The high-flying Magpies stuck with the team which began Saturday’s goalless Premier League draw at Crystal Palace, while struggling Saints made four changes, including full debuts to January signings Carlos Alcaraz and Mislav Orsic.

Joelinton saw a disallowed goal and was guilty of a bad miss - but secured a 1-0 win for the Magpies by burying a low cross from substitute Alexander Isak with 17 minutes to go on a breathless evening at St Mary’s.

Saints thought they had swiftly levelled through Newcastle academy graduate Adam Armstrong but his bundled effort was ruled out for handball following VAR intervention.

Joelinton had a first-half effort controversially chalked off for an adjudged handball, while he wastefully blazed over with the goal gaping early in the second period.

Southampton finished a frantic encounter with 10 men after defender Duje Caleta-Car was dismissed four minutes from time for a second bookable offence.

The hosts had sufficient chances to head to the north-east level but Pope was in inspired form to stop Che Adams, in addition to Armstrong’s disappointment against his boyhood side.

Guimaraes told Sky Sports: “I’m proud of the team. One goal is important and thanks to Nick Pope. I think he’s the best goalkeeper in the world.”

Pope made a string of fine saves and when he did let one past, VAR ruled out Armstrong’s goal.

“A lot of work goes into I let one in and VAR helped us out, but we look really solid at the back,” said Pope.

“It was a great finish, a great team goal. It’s never easy in a two-legger, so to come away with the advantage after the first leg, we’re happy with that.”

Newcastle boss Howe also saluted keeper Pope after a 10th consecutive clean sheet.

“It was a tough game. I thought both teams had their moments and I’m very pleased to win the game but we know it’s only half-time and there’s a long way to go,” Howe told Sky Sports.

“We created chances. We weren’t clinical until Joe’s goal, but it happens. And Nick made some good saves at the end, so it’s been a good night for us.

“I thought their’s was a goal. Very pleased to see VAR intervene. Nick has been outstanding this year and every time he’s needed he produces the goods for us.”

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