Newcastle United 2-1 Leicester City: Bruno Guimaraes brace inspires dramatic comeback win

Bruno Guimaraes all but assured Newcastle United of Premier League survival with a last gasp winner in stoppage time to send St James’ Park in raptures.

With the game petering out into a stalemate, Eddie Howe’s positive substitutions made the difference in front of a full house on Easter Sunday. It was Bruno who had hauled the Magpies level before the break after slipping behind to Leicester City.

On a day when a point would not have been a bad result for Newcastle, Howe opted against going defensive, throwing on Joe Willock, Jacob Murphy and Dwight Gayle for a frantic last 20 minutes.

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But it was Willock’s deflected cross that dropped for Bruno who headed home in the 95th minute to send the stadium into a state of sheer pandemonium. On a day when some good chances passed United by, the magic moment came right at the end to leave Leicester deflated.

United had won a free-kick inside the first minute when Miguel Almiron’s legs were taken from behind by Daniel Amartey. But the subsequent set-piece was struck straight at Kasper Schmeichel by Jonjo Shelvey.

There was an injury scare a couple of minutes later when Martin Dubravka went to claim a ball but collided with his own defender Dan Burn. Burn was down for a couple of minutes receiving treatment but rose to his feet to the relief of the crowd and got on with the game.

There were 15 minutes on the clock when the ball dropped for Joelinton at the back post but he could only fire high and wide. Leicester took the lead five minutes later after Matt Targett headed the ball out for a corner.

The set-play was casually rolled to the front post before being helped on by Ayoze Perez to Ademola Lookman who had all the time in the world to strike at goal from 15 yards away. It is a moment that will surely be reviewed by Howe and his staff in training this week after Newcastle players appeared to switch off.

With 25 minutes gone Youri Tielemans was afforded time and space to make his way into the box but he could only fire wide. Moments later it was Toon old boy Perez who unleashed a shot at goal but Joelinton’s block saw the ball roll away for a corner. This time United were a little more switched on and cleared their lines.

On the counter, Allan Saint-Maximin ran at the Leicester defense before being taken down with a fair challenge from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall. But United were level on 32 minutes after a VAR assessed goal at the Leazes End.

Shelvey hung the ball up and Leicester struggled to clear their lines. When it eventually dropped for Bruno Guimaraes the Brazil international hooked it under Schmeichel with the ball squirming loose.

At the second attempt, Bruno squeezed it home before the goal was checked by referee Jarred Gillett via VAR then a screen check. No persuasion was needed from the fans of the East Stand but the Australian official got it anyway and the goal stood.

Bruno then turned provider as he curled a ball in for Targett but he could only head it at the Danish international stopper Schmeichel. A bustling run by Joelinton down the left on 41 minutes saw him pick out Chris Wood but he could only head wide. Saint-Maximin’s cross from the left in first half stoppage time found Almiron but he could only swing it over the top.

The teams went in level at half-time despite the fact United managed 10 first half goal attempts.

United looked to give the majority of the 52,104 something else to cheer about after the break but things weren’t always clicking. A good run from Almiron down the right found Saint-Maximin, however, he could only send a shot wide.

Leicester continued to probe and on 53 minutes Dewsbury-Hall curled one over the top and even though Dubravka looked untroubled it felt like a warning shot.

United created another opportunity when Saint-Maximin laid the ball off for Joelinton but he blazed over on 57 minutes Leicester made a change on the hour when James Maddison replaced Perez.

Saint-Maximin made another forward run two minutes later but he could only roll a tame effort at goal at the Gallowgate End. Howe made a double change with 20 minutes left as Joe Willock and Jacob Murphy replaced Wood and Almiron.

Those alterations meant that Saint-Maximin was switched to the team’s central striker as Howe went for broke against the Foxes. But Newcastle struggled to create anything close to a clear-cut chance.

And so the coaching staff turned to Dwight Gayle for the last throes of the match as he replaced Saint-Maximin with regulation time up. The game looked to be heading for a draw but when Willock danced down the right and his cross from him fell for Bruno the Brazil star buried the header to raise the roof at the Gallowgate End.

Newcastle still aren’t mathematically safe but they have one hand on the Premier League next season.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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