Ten-man Hull squeezed through to the semi-final of the EFL Cup with a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory against Newcastle.
The Premier League side kept their nerve, scoring all three of their penalties through Robert Snodgrass, Michael Dawson and Tom Huddlestone to eye another Wembley date. In contrast Newcastle, who have only ever won one sudden death shoot out in their history, were dire once more from 12 yards.
Jonjo Shelvey’s weak effort was saved, Dwight Gayle struck the top of the crossbar, Christian Atsu scored but when Yoan Gouffran apologetically rolled the ball to Eldin Jakupovic’s right, the 'keeper saved and Hull were through. The home support in a half full stadium celebrated, eying a fourth trip to Wembley in the last three years.
The game’s opening goal had not come until the 98th minute. The excellent Vurnon Anita crossed from the right, Gayle flicked on and Diame arrived inside the six yard box to stab home from close range.
The midfielder made history as he did, becoming the first ever Newcastle player to score in the quarter-final stage of the League Cup. You would not have known, as Diame did not even celebrate against the side who he fired into the Premier League with his play-off winning goa back in May.
The 2,500 supporters to his right who had traveled from Tyneside certainly did. It is 1976 since they last reached the semi-final of the competition. It showed in their celebration, which had barely subsided before Hull equalised.
Matz Sels' time at Newcastle has not been easy, harangued by the club’s supporters on Twitter after a poor start and dropped for Karl Darlow in September. The Hull substitute Markus Henriksen’s shot was parried weakly by Sels into the path of Robert Snodgrass and he tucked away a simple finish.
A sparsely populated stadium celebrated. Ten man Hull had their lifeline.
Perhaps it is something to do with his fixture, but there had been another head butt and another red card. Alan Pardew may have made a fairly ignominious departure from St James’ Park but you were reminded of his infamous clash with David Meyler at the KC Stadium in 2012 as Newcastle sought to reach a domestic cup semi final for the first time since 2005.
It was the final minute of normal time when Jamaal Lascelles went in hard on the Hull forward Dieumerci Mbokani, to the right of the home dugout. Mbokani had stood on the Newcastle captain’s foot moments earlier. It looked like a form of payback but the reaction that followed - a kick out, a push and forcing his head into the face of Lascelles drew an immediate red card from Neil Swarbrick.
There were no grounds for complaints, as there had not been when Pardew clashed with Meyler. Newcastle won that day comfortably, and were the better side again last night in their EFL Cup quarter-final tie.
There were also no complaints that Rafa Benitez’ men had been the better side when the two teams were equally matched with 11 players. Newcastle had completely controlled the first half, and chances came frequently. Hull are a Premier League side and were at home against lower league opposition, and you had to remind yourself of those facts.
Gayle and Diame both went close from 30 yards. Diame headed narrowly over, there was a penalty appeal for a trip on Gayle by Ahmed Elmohamady, Matt Ritchie shot over and Isaac Hayden shot wide. Snodgrass shot wide in reply and did the same with a second half free-kick. Then Mbokani saw red at the death. Newcastle sensed victory, Diame scored, Snodgrass replied and the game headed to penalties. Newcastle, as their history has shown, do not have the stomach for such an event