In years to come, if Newcastle is contending for Premier League and Champions League titles as widely expected, the Saudi-funded team might look back on this game as the one when it truly arrived as a force in soccer.
Few opponents have given Manchester City the kind of battering Newcastle dished out in the first half of a rip-roaring 3-3 draw on Sunday.
And when Kieran Trippier curled a stunning free kick into the top corner to put a rampant Newcastle 3-1 ahead in the 54th minute, it looked as if City was going to slump to one of its heaviest Premier League losses under Pep Guardiola.
However, City is the defending champion for a reason and goals in the 60th by Erling Haaland and the 64th by Bernardo Silva — following a wondrous pass from Kevin De Bruyne — salvaged a point that will be gratefully accepted by Guardiola.
“We said before the game we wanted to go toe-to-toe with them and that’s what we did, It just shows how far we’ve come.”Trippier said.
Indeed, this was a warning served by one of European soccer’s growing forces nearly a year into the reign of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which has invited accusations of sportswashing.
After two transfer windows of the new era, Newcastle is a team transformed. Even compared to a few months ago, with City having swept aside Eddie Howe’s team 5-0 as recently as May on the way to clinching the title last season.
City went ahead through Ilkay Gundogan in the fifth minute, only to be pummeled by wave after wave of Newcastle attacks that led to goals from Miguel Almiron and Callum Wilson before halftime.
“We really wanted to win that game to show the world what we are capable of doing,”Said Newcastle winger Allan Saint-Maximin, who caused most of the problems for City.
Both teams remained unbeaten after three games, with City dropping points for the first time. The champions will likely be happy to escape from St. James’ Park with a point.
“Newcastle are becoming one of the toughest opponents, for sure,”Guardiola said.