Bruno Guimaraes hailed Nick Pope ‘best goalkeeper in the world’ after Magpies win

Nick Pope has been hailed as “the best goalkeeper in the world” after his 10th clean sheet in a row helped Newcastle to the brink of Wembley.

The England international made two superb second-half saves from Southampton striker Che Adams as the Magpies secured an important 1-0 victory in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final at St Mary’s.

Joelinton put down a disallowed goal and shockingly missed, scoring the visitors’ winning goal in the 73rd minute, while Saints substitute Adam Armstrong ruled out a handball equalizer after VAR intervention.

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe, who has warned there is still a long way to go before next week’s second leg, has praised his goalkeeper’s impact on form, while Magpies midfielder Bruno Guimaraes has gone a step further.

“One goal is important, we could have scored more but the most important was the one goal against Southampton,” the Brazilian midfielder told Sky Sports.

“I want to thank Nick Pope, I think he is the best goalkeeper in the world. Let’s continue this.”

Nick Pope turned down Che Adams twice, left (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Speaking of the player he signed from Burnley in the summer, Howe said: “Nick made some big saves today, especially the first against Adams (who) I think was a big moment in the game.

“He stood tall for us, as he has done all season.

“That (10 clean sheets in a row) is a great thing for Nick. I think he deserved this award. Since signing for the club, he has been excellent on the pitch and offered it in every way.

“I can’t speak highly enough of him, I can’t praise him enough, and I can’t rate him highly enough. He’s a brilliant centre-back and I think he’s in a very good place right now.

Southampton v Newcastle United - Carabao Cup - Semi Final - First leg - St.  Mary's Stadium

Joelinton scored the only goal in the first leg of the semi-finals (Zac Goodwin/PA)

After Joelinton was controversially deemed to have made it past completion in the 39th minute, the game came to life when play resumed.

The midfielder Magpies somehow flashed out of goal before Pope quelled Southampton’s growing streak by knocking Adams off when clear and expertly tackling a later shot.

Alexander Isak then guided Joelinton to the decisive goal before Newcastle academy graduate Armstrong was frustrated by the Stockley Park review, who went home with the help of the arm.

Southampton v Newcastle United - Carabao Cup - Semi Final - First leg - St.  Mary's Stadium

VAR rules out Adam Armstrong’s goal (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Southampton ended a frenzied 10-man fixture after defender Duje Caleta-Car was sacked for a second booking four minutes from time.

“I don’t think we were at our best today, but I felt we did enough to deserve the win,” said Howe.

“There were a lot of topics to discuss, obviously involving VAR.

Southampton v Newcastle United - Carabao Cup - Semi Final - First leg - St.  Mary's Stadium

Eddie Howe says he’s happy with Newcastle’s job in Hampshire (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“It’s half time, we’re 1-0 up, that’s all. We are pleased with our work today, but we still have a long way to go.

While Newcastle stepped up their pursuit of their first major domestic trophy since 1955, Southampton were frustrated and had work to do at St James’ Park.

Saints boss Nathan Jones, who also praised Pope, was pleased with his team’s performance, expressing further disappointment at VAR for two goals being ruled out during Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League defeat to Aston Villa.

“You can’t celebrate a goal anymore,” said the Welshman.

Photo from Nathan Jones' file

Nathan Jones (PA) was frustrated

“You can’t show any emotion because you know VAR will end one way or another unless someone picks up the ball from the keeper, runs through 11 players and throws it past the keeper with no other happening.

“We thought we scored two good goals over the weekend, both voided by VAR. Tonight is exactly the same.

“I’m frustrated but it’s really hard because it’s one-time matches.

“The performance level is there, it’s just the advantages that make or break good teams and seasons – we just come out at a bad end.”

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