Saudi-owned Newcastle beat Southampton, close on cup final


Newcastle is close to reaching a first cup final since being bought by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

Joelinton scored a 73rd-minute winner as New-castle beat Southampton 1-0 away in the first leg of the English League Cup semifinals on Tuesday.

The second leg is next week at Newcastle’s St. James’ Park, where the team is unbeaten in all com-petitions this season. Southampton will also have to score against the best defense in English soccer, with Newcastle having now kept 11 clean sheets in its last 12 games.

Fueled by the spending of its Saudi owners since their takeover 18 months ago and shrewd coaching by manager Eddie Howe, the team from the northeast has rapidly grown into a force this season. It is also challenging for Champions League qualification, sitting in third place in the Premier League heading into the second half of the campaign. “They are a top side — big, physical and ath-letic,” Southampton manager Nathan Jones said. “They have had time to recruit and recruited that way, and they are a real tough side to play against.—APP