8-0! Young guns run riot as A-League All Stars Men dismantle Newcastle United

HIGHLIGHTS: A-League All Stars Men 8-0 Newcastle United

The A-League All Stars Men dominated English Premier League opponents Newcastle United in an 8-0 win at Marvel Stadium on Friday night.

Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe named an inexperienced lineup in Melbourne and the All Stars took full advantage as Ben Old, Nicolas Milanovic and Adam Taggart all found the back of the net before half-time.

Apostolos Stamatelopoulos made it 4-0 in the 62nd minute and then doubled his tally 12 minutes later, set up by fellow substitute Nestory Irankunda for a simple tap-in.

The night went from bad to worse for Newcastle as Jake Hollman came off the bench to add his name to the scoresheet and push the All Stars’ lead out to six with less than 10 minutes to play – a lead that extended to eight when Jordan Courtney-Perkins and Bozhidar Kraev added to Newcastle’s pain.

Friday night’s win was the first in the history of A-Leagues All Stars games; Manchester United, Juventus and Barcelona beat previous iterations of the All Stars down the years but the class of 2024 shone brightly at Marvel Stadium to break the streak.

Isuzu UTE A-League legend Andrew Durante was on commentary duty for Network 10 and prior to full-time, lauded Patrick Kisnorbo and his All Stars for rising to the occasion and producing an emphatic display against the Premier League side.

“I think the A-Leagues deserve a lot more credit – not just players, but coaching as well,” Durante said.

“I think the standard of coaching is improving all the time, you’ve seen Paddy Kisnorbo out there tonight, how hungry he is, how much he wants to win. He’s a winner. He’s put a team together that is designed to win.

“I think the way he’s trained them during the week has been super intense and he’s got the result that he wanted. He said we’re up against a big English Premier League team and let’s go and have a crack, let’s press them and be aggressive.

“He didn’t know what team was going to be out there tonight until he got to the ground, so the mindset was the same regardless of who ended up coming out on the pitch for Newcastle United.

“I think a lot of credit goes to Paddy Kisnorbo and the mindset he had going into this game.”

The All Stars opened the scoring in the fifth minute when Wellington Phoenix star Ben Old pounced on a loose ball in the box and fired past Mark Gillespie.

Mathew Leckie created the opportunity for Old to score. The Melbourne City winger shaped to shoot in the box but several Newcastle defenders converged to close the space. The ball squeezed through the tangle of bodies and fell to Old who was all alone and finished with conviction.

Jay O’Shea almost made it 2-0 before the quarter-hour mark with a shot from the edge of the area but Gillespie sprawled across and tipped the ball around the post.

The All Stars dominated the early stages at Marvel Stadium and Western Sydney forward Micolas Milanovic came within centimetres of doubling the advantage when he pounced on an errant clearance from Gillespie and charged in on goal.

Milanovic’s shot was on target but Gillespie got his fingertips on the attempt; the ball hit one post and then the other and, unfortunately for the Wanderers young gun, didn’t cross the goal line.

Socceroo Garang Kuol made his first start for Newcastle on Friday night and after a quiet start fashioned his first shot on target, which was comfortably saved by Alex Paulsen.

Garang Kuol in action for Newcastle.

Soon after it was 2-0 to the All Stars. A calamitous deflection off defender Dylan Charlton opened the door for Milanovic, who pounced inside the six-yard box and squeezed the ball under Gillespie to double the lead.

The All Stars’ dominant first-half display rolled on at Marvel Stadium as Perth Glory talisman Adam Taggart made it 3-0 in the 34th minute. Fresh from claiming the Isuzu UTE A-League Golden Boot, Taggart scored with a clinical finish into the bottom-left corner after the All Stars turned over possession high up the field.

The All Stars got back on top early in the second half and had the ball in the back of the net for a fourth time before the offside flag came to Newcastle’s rescue.

Gillespie raced off his line to meet a through ball played in behind the defensive line but was beaten to the ball by Leckie who converted into an unguarded net, before the offside flag spared Gillespie’s blushes.

But just beyond the hour mark, the All Stars did find their fourth goal, when substitute Stamatelopoulos made it 4-0 with a curled effort from just outside the box.

Irankunda came off the bench shortly after the All Stars’ fourth goal of the night and it didn’t take the Bayern Munich-bound teenager long to make an impact. Irankunda tore down the right wing to set up Stamatelopoulos for his second of the night, as the All Stars cruised to a 5-0 lead.

Irankunda was heavily involved in the All Stars’ sixth goal of the night. The teenager drove down the right wing once again and cut the ball back to Wellington Phoenix midfielder Bozhidar Kraev, who teed up Jake Hollman to make it 6-0 to the home side.

There was more pain to come for Newcastle as Jordan Courtney-Perkins and Kraev both hit the scoresheet as the All Stars ambled to an 8-0 win at Marvel Stadium.

Up next? The Isuzu UTE A-League Grand Final!

At the conclusion of Friday night’s A-Leagues All Stars action, attention will turn to Saturday night’s Isuzu UTE A-League Grand Final between Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory at Industree Group Stadium.

The Premiership-winning Mariners are on the hunt for a trophy treble, having already collected the AFC Cup title and Premiers Plate. But Victory are looking to spoil the party in Gosford, as head coach Tony Popovic looks to secure his first Championship title of his managerial career.


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