Newcastle United vs Leicester City. Premier League.
St James' Park, NewcastleAttendance52,104.
Match report and free match highlights as Bruno Guimaraes' 95th-minute header seals a 2-1 win for Newcastle over Leicester; Guimaraes had earlier cancelled out Ademola Lookman's opener; Magpies move 12 points clear of the relegation zone
Monday 18 April 2022 06:26, UK
Bruno Guimaraes' last-gasp header clinched a 2-1 win for Newcastle over Leicester to all but secure the Magpies' Premier League survival in dramatic circumstances at St James' Park.
Guimaraes had cancelled out Ademola Lookman's opener when he bundled home from a corner in the first half, and the Brazilian then grabbed the winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time when he headed in substitute Joe Willock's deflected cross to spark wild celebrations inside the stadium.
The late goal was a bitter blow to the Foxes, who fielded a heavily-rotated side following their Europa Conference League exertions on Thursday and looked more likely to make the breakthrough in the second period, but it was a huge moment for the hosts.
Newcastle, already 10 points clear of the drop zone ahead of kick-off, stretched the gap to 12 points thanks to Guimaraes' header as 18th-placed Burnley drew 1-1 with West Ham in Sunday's other Premier League game.
The Magpies are not mathematically safe yet, but the two-goal heroics of their £40m January signing from Lyon - whose performance was described as "magnificent" by Eddie Howe - means they are able to start looking ahead to another season of top-flight football and perhaps a brighter future too.
Newcastle: Dubravka (6), Krafth (7), Schar (7), Burn (7), Targett (7), Shelvey (7), Joelinton (7), Guimaraes (8), Almiron (7), Saint-Maximin (6), Wood (6).
Subs: Willock (7), Murphy (6), Gayle (6).
Leicester: Schmeichel (6), Justin (7), Amartey (6), Soyuncu (6), Thomas (6), Mendy (6), Dewsbury-Hall (7), Tielemans (6), Lookman (7), Perez (7), Daka (6).
Subs: Maddison (6), Barnes (6), Iheanacho (6).
Man of the match: Bruno Guimaraes
Brendan Rodgers made eight changes to the side that overcame PSV Eindhoven in Thursday's Europa Conference League quarter-final and the opener came courtesy of one of their stand-ins.
It was a cleverly-worked corner routine as Ayoze Perez's flick from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall's low delivery found Lookman unmarked in the box and the forward's first-time finish squirmed under Martin Dubravka's body and into the net.
Rodgers could be seen celebrating with Leicester's set-piece coach Chris Davies on the touchline but Newcastle exploited their long-standing issues when it comes to defending dead-ball situations for the equaliser only 11 minutes later.
After the visitors had failed to clear Jonjo Shelvey's corner, Guimaraes was able to twice poke the ball towards goal at the back post, his second effort rolling in through the legs of Kasper Schmeichel.
Referee Jarred Gillett initially penalised Guimaraes for a foul, but a VAR review determined Leicester goalkeeper Schmeichel did not have the ball in his hands and the decision was correctly overturned as the Foxes conceded from a set-piece for the 17th time this season.
It was a crucial goal which would pave the way for Newcastle's fifth consecutive home win, but Leicester looked more likely to score during the second half, with Rodgers throwing on James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho as he aimed to close the gap on eighth-placed Wolves.
Dewsbury-Hall curled a shot a few yards over the bar from the edge of the box, while Lookman was denied a chance for a second by a superb, last-ditch tackle from Matt Targett as the Foxes ramped up the pressure.
Newcastle were able to weather the storm but they lacked cutting edge in the final third with Allan Saint-Maximin often making poor decisions in front of goal as their forays forward ended in frustration.
It seemed the game was meandering towards a draw as the clocked ticked past the fourth and final minute of stoppage time, but it all changed when Willock suddenly burst into life, breaking forward from the halfway line and releasing a left-wing cross which bounced into the path of the onrushing Guimaraes to lift the roof off St James' Park.
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe told Sky Sports: "My emotions are very high after that. To score so late in the game was a massive, massive lift for everybody.
"I thought Leicester had control of the game but we had the best chances and our defensive resilience in the second half was excellent.
"We hung in there and made it difficult for them to penetrate us and we got rewarded for that with the counter-attacking goal at the end."
On Bruno Guimaraes, he added: "He's certainly popular and rightly so after today's performance. I thought he was magnificent in every discipline of the game.
"I think the biggest compliment I can give him is that at 95 minutes, with tired legs, he's managed to get himself in the box to get that header. I think that's the most brilliant thing about it so full credit to him."
Bruno Guimaraes told Sky Sports: "What a feeling! What a game! To score two goals was brilliant, I don't have words.
"It was always my dream to play in the Premier League. I am so happy for today.
"It was my first header, really! I don't remember the goal very well, but when I saw the ball, I didn't think too much. That goal was for the group. We are so happy for today.
"It is really important for me to score my first goal at St. James' Park. I enjoyed playing here a lot, this is my home, I want to play 100 times here."
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers told Sky Sports: "It was very tough to take. We were the much better team and controlled most of the game. We scored a very good goal and had lots of moments in the game.
"Physically we were excellent considering we played Thursday. The message always is 'if you control the ball, you control the game'.
"For some reason right at the end we decided to gift it away and they had a breakaway. It was very harsh on us.
"We started the game fantastically in the first 25 minutes. We were a little bit loose with the passing which gave them a lift, they got the goal, but then we controlled again, particularly in the second half where we moved them around the field and got into some excellent areas.
"Minimum you should take in these circumstances is a point, but for some reason we failed to control the ball."
Newcastle host Crystal Palace and Leicester travel to Everton in the Premier League on Wednesday at 7.45pm.