Morecambe 0-7 Newcastle: £40m flop Joelinton bags brace – but fails to score from two yards out for his hat-trick – as Steve Bruce’s men humble League Two hosts in Carabao Cup
Joelinton scored two goals for the first time in English football, one of them a belter, but the £40million striker’s night will be best – or worst – remembered for a miss.
In fact, it wasn’t even a miss, that would constitute an attempt at goal. Instead, the Brazilian decided against heading into an empty net from two yards out, preferring to see if his mate’s cross would creep inside the post. It didn’t. Jacob Murphy’s delivery hit the woodwork, rolled along the line and was cleared.
Joelinton looked around as if in search of a Russian linesman. All he found was an irate Matt Ritchie wondering why he had passed up the chance of a tap-in.
Joelinton (right) and Miguel Almiron were both on target in the first-half on Wednesday night
But that is Joelinton, a club-record buy who Steve Bruce last season admitted was not a ‘goalscorer’.
He now has six goals from 48 appearances for Newcastle. It says much that two of them came against League One opponents in the FA Cup and another two against League Two Morecambe here.
In fairness, his second was a beauty, a run and dipping drive from distance that flew into the far corner. Deadly from 20 yards, not so clever from two.
He had earlier opened the scoring with a 12-yard hook on five minutes before the brain fade inside the goalmouth that left his team-mates open mouthed.
Joelinton opened the scoring for the visitors in the fifth minute against Morecambe
It betrayed his hunger – or lack of it – for goals, and that has long been the criticism of the 24-year-old, a player whose best performance in a black-and-white shirt remains, bizarrely, a solid shift as a defensive left-winger last year.
Maybe a run of goals in the cups will restore a confidence clearly eroded during his torturous debut campaign. Or maybe scoring goals against EFL opposition is as good as it gets.
One player he can look to for inspiration is Miguel Almiron. He, too, endured a difficult start after arriving as a club-record £21m buy seven months before Joelinton.
The £40m Brazilian fired a dipping drive from distance that flew into the far corner
But the Paraguayan was outstanding here and will surely be back in Bruce’s starting XI for this weekend’s trip to Spurs after, somewhat surprisingly, starting from the bench in the opening two Premier League games. It was telling that Newcastle performed far better with him on the field during the second half of Sunday’s woeful 3-0 defeat at home to Brighton.
Almiron laid on Joelinton’s first and added a second after rounding the goalkeeper and rifling into the roof of the net on 20 minutes.
Murphy then smashed a stunner of his own after a drive from deep and he, too, did his chances of top-flight involvement no harm.
The Premier League side scored five times before the break against League Two outfit
Joelinton made it four on the half hour before home midfielder Toumani Diagouraga was then sent off for a reckless lunge on Sean Longstaff, who was fortunate to escape serious injury.
Isaac Hayden hammered a fifth in first-half injury-time and captain Jamaal Lascelles headed in from a corner after the break before Ritchie’s deflected back-heel made it seven.
Bruce thew on Andy Carroll in search of his first goal since re-joining the club 13 months ago but, try as he might, his drought continues.
Morecambe midfielder Toumani Diagouraga was sent off for a lunge on Sean Longstaff
Not that Newcastle needed any more goals given their handsome advantage after that ruthless first-half display.
It leaves them with just League Two Newport County to negotiate for a place in the quarter-finals.
Joelinton will be the first name on the team-sheet for such a fixture, and will be until he starts scoring goals in the Premier League, be that from two yards or 20.
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