Newcastle United reached their first cup final since 1999 by overcoming Southampton in the EFL Cup at an ecstatic St James’ Park.
Eddie Howe’s resurgent side will face either Manchester United or Nottingham Forest at Wembley as the Magpies attempt to win their first major trophy since the Inter Cities’ Fairs Cup in 1969.
Newcastle, who last played in a Wembley showpiece when they were beaten by Manchester United in the 1999 FA Cup final, had a 1-0 advantage from this semi-final first leg, and Sean Longstaff settled any nerves among an expectant Toon Army with two early goals.
The only cloud over Newcastle’s celebrations was a late red card for influential Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes for a challenge on Samuel Edozie, given by referee Paul Tierney after the intervention of VAR.
The hosts had gone in front just four minutes in as Longstaff took advantage of good work from Kieran Trippier to beat Saints keeper Gavin Bazunu, and the goalscorer then crowned a sweeping move with a confident finish in the 21st minute.
Che Adams gave Southampton hope with a fine 25-yard strike on the half-hour that ended Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope’s attempt to keep an 11th clean sheet in succession, but their slow start cost them dearly to leave Howe and his players contemplating that Wembley date on 26 February.