BRUCE VARD LUCK STORY
Jamie downs Toon hopes in shoot-out
WELL, that’s one thing Steve Bruce has in common with Rafa Benitez – he can’t win Cup-ties.
Just like his predecessor in the last two years, the Newcastle manager saw the Magpies crash out of the Carabao Cup before the schools go back.
In the end, Bruce suffered the same fate as Benitez’s team did in 2016 when Newcastle lost on penalties to Hull.
This time, Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden had spot-kicks saved by Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel.
And though Karl Darlow kept out Harvey Barnes’ effort, Jamie Vardy clinched victory for the visitors.
Christian Fuchs, James Maddison and Youri Tielemans had all converted for the Foxes with Yoshinori Muto and Fabian Schar replying.
Muto had scored his first-ever goal at St James’s Park to keep Bruce’s Wembley dream alive beyond 90 minutes.
The Japanese striker cancelled out James Maddison’s deflected first half free-kick, stabbing home at close range after Jetro Willems had stolen in ahead of Ricardo Pereira and chested down Fabian Schar’s long pass.
His only previous goal had been in front of an Old Trafford full-house last October. There were only 22,727 present to witness his latest in the 54th minute but it was no more than Newcastle deserved.
A cruel slice of luck led to the Foxes breaking the deadlock in the 33rd minute after Shelvey clipped Youri Tielemans just outside the area.
Darlow had Maddison’s set-piece covered until the ball ricoched off Matt Ritchie’s right shoulder.
The consensus after the shock win at Spurs was that they are a more effective team without Shelvey.
Yet, he showcased the counter-argument with a fine display and Schmeichel needed two attempts to keep out his late blockbuster which would have spared Bruce the agony of penalties.