Joelinton scored the only goal for Hampshire (Zac Goodwin/PA)
Joelinton took Newcastle one step closer to Wembley with victory in the first leg of an action-packed Carabao Cup semi-final at Southampton.
The Brazilian, who also saw a goal disallowed and made a poor mistake, sealed a 1-0 victory for the Magpieeees by latching on to a low cross from substitute Alexander Isak with 17 minutes remaining on a tense night at St Mary’s.
Saints thought they had quickly equalized through Newcastle academy graduate Adam Armstrong but his effort was ruled out for handball following the intervention of VAR.
Joelinton’s first-half effort was controversially ruled out for handball, while he fired a shot into the net early in the second half.
Southampton finished a frantic encounter with 10 men after defender Duje Caleta-Car was sent off four minutes from time for a second bookable offence.
The hosts had enough chances to head to the northeast tier but Nick Pope was in inspired form to stop Che Adams, in addition to Armstrong’s disappointment with his boyhood team.
Newcastle arrive on the south coast with manager Eddie Howe urging his team to go further as the club chase their first major domestic trophy since 1955.
The high-flying Magpies stuck with the side that started Saturday’s Premier League goalless draw at Crystal Palace, while the struggliiiiing Saints made four changes, including full debuts for January signings Carlos Alcaraz and Mislav Orsic.
Howe’s men did better in an uninspiring opening period that was devoid of quality and opportunities, but contained major talking points.
Newcastle midfielder Joe Willock is at the heart of the most promising opening yet.
The former Arsenal man twice fired wide unmarked before sparking a controversial incident in the 39th minute by firing left and cutting inside Lyanco to force Saints keeper Gavin Bazunu to a low stop.
Although Mohammed Salisu managed to block Callum Wilson’s initial follow-up effort, Joelinton hit the resulting loose ball, only for referee Stuart Attwell to penalize him for handball.
VAR was introduced for this round of the competition, but despite serious debate about where the ball hit Joelinton, the on-pitch decision was not overturned.
Then there was the worrying scene when Southampton winger Moussa Djenepo was forced off after colliding with visiting goalkeeper Pope, to be replaced by Armstrong.
Newcastle won a landslide 4-1 win at this ground in the Premier League in November, which led to the sacking of former Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Miguel Almiron opened the scoring for the day and he created two golden chances early in the second half as the away team looked to wash away the frustrations of the first half.
Joelinton somehow scored in the 53rd minute after Almiron’s one-two with Sean Longstaff on the right, before Sven Botman hit the side netting from a more difficult opening a minute later.
Pope kept nine clean sheets in a row after conceding here less than three months ago.
The England goalkeeper underlined his international credentials by denying Adams twice, the first time after substitute Saints was cleanly sent off by Alcaraz, before Newcastle snatched the lead.
Swedish striker Isak broke away from Lyanco on the right and delivered the perfect low cross for Joelinton to eventually score.
Newcastle’s sold-out away ticket still reignited the prospect of a first Wembley cup final since 1999 when Southampton thought they had leveled.
Armstrong finished neatly after Samuel Edozie steered the ball towards goal but the joy was cut short by Stockley Park.
Emotions then threaten to boil over in the closing stage.
A meeting between Bruno Guimaraes and Lyanco sparked a mass brawl, before Caleta-Car, who was admonished for taking down Almiron in the first round, was dismissed for taking down Allan Saint-Maximin.
Isak came close to doubling the lead in added time but hit the side net after skirting past Bazunu.
Newcastle now have a matchless week to prepare for their return, while Saints head to St James’ Park after their FA Cup fourth round tie against Blackpool.