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Newcastle suffer Champions League setback with defeat to Borussia Dortmund

It was all shockers at St. James Park for the English fans as Dortmund won 1-0 to turn the group around on its head in the match against Newcastle United.

Felix Nmecha dented Newcastle’s Champions League charge as Borussia Dortmund kick-started their Group F campaign with a 1-0 victory in Tyneside.

The German midfielder struck in the 45th minute to secure victory for the Black and Yellows at St James’ Park on the night when three more points for Eddie Howe’s men would have left them with one foot in the last-16.

They will now head into tough away games in Dortmund and against Paris St Germain next month with serious work to do to extend their stay in the competition.

The Magpies’ 4-1 thrashing of Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month faded so quickly in the memory of fans as last season’s Bundesliga runners-up produced an accomplished away display to remind them that the race for qualification from Group F has a long way to go.

In a frenetic start to the game, Nick Pope had to block Donyell Malen’s second-minute shot with his legs after he had controlled Marius Wolf’s cross as Dortmund broke at speed, but opposite number Gregor Kobel had to be equally resilient seconds later when Anthony Gordon cut inside and unleashed a curling attempt.

Nick Pope makes a double save to deny Malen and Fullkrug of Borussia Dortmund,
Nick Pope makes a save to deny Malen and Niclas Fullkrug.

But it was the Newcastle keeper who had to produce a brilliant double save to deny first Malen and then Niclas Fullkrug from point-blank range after Emre Can had dispossessed Sean Longstaff and sent Marcel Sabitzer away down the left wing.

However, as played switched rapidly from end to end on a slick pitch, Kobel came to the German side’s rescue within seconds when Alexander Isak raced towards goal from halfway before sliding a pass into the run of Gordon, whose left-foot strike was beaten away by the goalkeeper.

Pope was relieved to see Malen whip a first-time shot from Marco Reus’ square ball over his crossbar.

The Magpies were forced to make a change after only 15 minutes when Isak, who had earlier undergone lengthy treatment on the pitch, limped off to be replaced by Callum Wilson.

Miguel Almiron saw appeals for a 20th-minute penalty waved away by Portuguese referee Artur Dias after he went down under Nico Schlotterbeck’s challenge after carving his way into the box, with the breakneck tempo of the game showing few signs of abating.

Sandro Tonali was a second-half substitute
Sandro Tonali seen shielding his ball from Emre Can

With Can and Sabitzer providing the ammunition and Reus linking play, the visitors continued to cause problems and Jamaal Lascelles had to block another Malen shot at the end of an intricate passing move.

Dortmund, who had earlier replaced the injured Can with Salih Ozcan, finally forced the breakthrough in the final minute of the first-half when Sabitzer robbed Gordon and Reus fed Schlotterbeck, whose cross was steered emphatically past Pope by former Manchester City youngster Nmecha.

Wilson passed up a glorious opportunity to level 12 minutes after the interval when, after Fabian Schar’s crunching tackle in midfield had sent the ball into his path, he exchanged passes with Gordon before his shot was blocked by Kobel.

Howe made his move with 25 minutes remaining when he sent on Tonali and Jacob Murphy, who lasted just five minutes before having to leave the pitch with his shoulder in a makeshift sling.

But his side struggled to create anything of note until Wilson headed an 87th-minute free-kick against the bar and Gordon repeated the feat in stoppage time with a deflected shot.

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