Fabian Schar

Nothing to separate Newcastle, Brighton at St. James’ Park

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A bright performance from the visitors produced nothing, as Newcastle United and Brighton played to a scoreless draw at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

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Brighton had more than 70 percent of the ball and an advantage in shots, but couldn’t get a goal over the line. Newcastle only arrived late after the introduction of Allan Saint-Maximin and Andy Carroll, and would not truly challenge Mathew Ryan.

The Seagulls rise 15th with six points, two spots and one point ahead of the hosts.


Three things we learned

1. Relegation candidates for sure: Both Graham Potter and Steve Bruce are new managers of their sides, but neither looks much better than their predecessor. Maybe Brighton is on a slightly better trajectory than the Gulls side that survived by two points last season, but the Magpies looked very poor over two formations in the first half. Maybe that’s a symptom of the sick, but a winner of this game might’ve ended up pointing to the points as what kept it up come May.

2. Brighton cannot capitalize vs. awful Newcastle midfield: The match was screaming out for Glenn Murray as Brighton was the brighter side but oh-so-wasteful in the 18. The Seagulls press befuddled Newcastle’s midfield and kept the back line on edge, but every chance was wasted.

There was a gulf between the Magpies’ back line and center forward Joelinton, who himself struggled to assert himself on the game. It’s telling that Steve Bruce’s 73rd minute subs were Allan Saint-Maximin and Ki Sung-yeung for Miguel Almiron and Jonjo Shelvey, as the Magpies had little possession and less threat.

3. Carroll back in black (and white): Hometown hero Andy Carroll last played for the Magpies in a Premier League game on Dec. 29, 2010, against Spurs before being sold to Liverpool for a massive fee. The oft-injured but powerful striker came on for the final 10 minutes to a rousing “One of our own” chant from St. James’ Park, and cued Allan Saint-Maximin up for a chance during his cameo.

Man of the Match: Schar — It just has to be. Martin Dubravka was beaten by Neal Maupay, but his dink could not cross the goal line before Schar leapt to clobber the ball to safety with an overhead clearance. What a play, and indicative of how often the Swiss centerpiece has saved Newcastle at either end of the pitch over the last two years.


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Martin Dubravka was tasked with making the match’s first save after Pascal Gross blazed down the right and toward the six-yard box.

Almiron came close to getting his first goal with a well-timed run and shot which was saved by Mat Ryan in the 22nd minute.

The Magpies’ season record of wobbly starts continued, and Dubravka and Jamaal Lascelles needed to make borderline heroic plays to keep it 0-0 by the half-hour mark.

Joelinton came very close to nodding a corner kick home as Lewis Dunk forgot to mark the Brazilian. His free header just missed the far post.

Steven Alzate had the ball in the back of the goal, as Newcastle was at sixes and sevens at the back, but was offside in the 34th.

The Magpies were booed off the pitch at halftime, and started brightly with a 46th minute shot punched wide by Christian Atsu.

Almiron made a delightful turn on the right side before dribbling into the 18 for a low shot saved by Ryan. Closer, but still not enough. The ex-Atlanta United man two more extremely bad giveaways on the day, and isn’t offering too much hope.

Newcastle splits spoils with Watford

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Newcastle United overcame a second minute concession to draw wasteful Watford 1-1 at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Will Hughes had Watford ahead, but Fabian Schar leveled the score line and both squads had to be bailed out by goalkeepers.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Watford remains dead last with just one point through four matches, while Newcastle climbs out of the drop zone.


Four things

  1. Bruce’s men wobble early (again) — For as many redemption songs were sung about Steve Bruce following the sturdy defeat of Spurs, his team again came out of the gates as if they thought the darn things were locked. Terribly sloppy, they conceded after 90 seconds and were lucky not to be down 2 or 3 by the time they equalized. Credit Bruce for the tactical changes that swung the tide, but a poor start.
  2. Hughes rewarded again — The former Derby County prodigy has been the bright spot of Watford’s poor start to the season, and got his first goal of the season. Also of note: His wayward blonde beard. You do you, Will.
  3. Joelinton a menace — You can see why Newcastle was tempted to break the bank for big Brazilian striker Joelinton, who scored in the win over Spurs and works harder than your typical center forward. Magpies supporters would probably trade a little bit of industry for classier control and finish, but hopefully that will come to the hopeful star. Given Newcastle’s formation, Joelinton may end up being the most fouled player in the Premier League (if they are whistled).
  4. Almiron still struggling — There was more flair from Miguel Almiron, deployed in a more natural wide position, but he was again offside multiple times from a wide position, wasteful in dangerous attacking positions, and probably should’ve seen at least one yellow card for diving. Shades of his promising second half of 2018-19.

Man of the Match: Joelinton


Newcastle was down within 90 seconds of kickoff, Hughes played through with acres of space defy Martin Dubravka. 1-0.

Atsu found Miguel Almiron for a potential equalizer in the fourth minute, but the ex-Atlanta United man butchered his stomach settle and bounded it right to the keeper.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The Magpies very much grew into the game from that point, with Isaac Hayden particularly influential and dangerous. His 59th minute rip was parried out for a corner by Ben Foster.

Watford was content to counter in the final half hour, and Dubravka made a terrific intervention to deny Isaac Success but conceded a corner.

Yoshinori Muto was played through by Joelinton after a fine tackle by the forward, but the Japanese striker could not find his angle.

Early double sparks Magpies rout of Fulham (video)

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Fulham will head to the Championship on a sour note, while Rafa Benitez has something to cling to in contract talks with the club as Newcastle wins 4-0 at Craven Cottage to wrap up the Premier League campaign. Jonjo Shelvey‘s stunner opened things up with Ayoze Perez following up, and Fabian Schar sealed the deal in the second half, with an exclamation mark from Solomon Rondon.

The game opened up immediately and Newcastle scored inside the opening 10 minutes, on a brilliant strike from Jonjo Shelvey. A looping volley from the top-right corner of the box found the opposite corner, a highlight-reel goal on the final day of the season.

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Newcastle bagged the second just two minutes later with Perez bundling home to double the lead. Sergio Rico couldn’t handle an initial shot from Christian Atsu, and Perez was first to reach the rebound.

Fulham held a significant amount of possession through the first half, but couldn’t do much with it. Newcastle, meanwhile, made the most of its touches, nearly finding a third before the break with Rico nervously palming away a corner which looked destined to find the back of the net.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The Whites looked better after the break, but Newcastle held at the back amid a few corners to defend. The Magpies went further ahead on the hour mark with Fabian Schar getting wide open on a corner and bagging a header to make it 3-0. The game ended in open end-to-end fashion and the Magpies got a fourth as Rico again couldn’t collect at the post and Rondon finished from an absurdly tight angle with stoppage time beckoning.

The Whites finish the season in 19th on 26 points, a massively disappointing result given their summer spending spree. Newcastle will cling to 13th on 45 points, and hope that the punctuating result can help convince their Spanish boss to stay.

Schar to sit out next game after being knocked out, playing on

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Fabian Schar will Switzerland’s 2020 European Championship qualifier against Denmark on Tuesday, three days after the defender was apparently knocked unconscious in a 2-0 victory over Georgia but continued to play for more than an hour and finished the game.

[ MORE: Mourinho “preparing” for next job; expects to start “in June” ]

The Newcastle United center back was involved in a nasty clash of heads in the 24th minute. Georgia’s Jano Ananidze tried to stop Schar from swallowing his own tongue and blocking his airway while unconscious. Following nearly five minutes of treatment and evaluation, Schar was allowed to remain in the game. He has since been deemed — with the help of Schar’s club team, Newcastle United — unavailable for Tuesday’s game due to “medical reasons.”

Afterwards, Schar has the following to say about the collision and his state at the time:

“It looks awful, I can’t remember anything. I was out for a few seconds. My skull is still humming. And I’ve got neck ache and a bruise on my forehead. But it was worth it.”

Schar was directly involved in creating both of Switzerland’s second-half goals.

Swiss defender Schar allowed to continue after being knocked out

Associated Press
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Swiss defender Fabian Schar was clearly knocked out on the pitch in the 24th minute but was allowed to continue the match as Switzerland eventually defeated Georgia in a Euro 2020 qualifier on Saturday.

Schar, who plays for Premier League side Newcastle at the club level, suffered a clash of heads with Georgia’s 23-year-old center-back Jemal Tabidze and went to the ground out cold. He lay motionless on his back with his hands at his side and his eyes closed.

Players from both sides attended to Schar immediately, with Georgia’s Zhano Ananidze reaching into Schar’s mouth to keep him from swallowing his tongue, a skill players have learned in recent years due to previous on-field incidents of this nature.

Medical personnel attended to Schar for four minutes before play resumed, turning him onto his side before eventually sitting him up, appearing to administer some form of rudimentary concussion assessment, waving a hand in front of his face. Eventually Schar was allowed to return to the match. Tabidze also received lengthy treatment, requiring a bandage around his head to continue.

There has been a heightened awareness around head injuries at the top level of professional soccer, although clubs and national teams still struggle to make smart in-game decisions. Returning to play after suffering a concussion is extremely dangerous, with the risk of Second Impact Syndrome possibly deadly. Just because Schar was knocked unconscious doesn’t mean he suffered a concussion, but given the possibility and its danger, the look is a bad one for Switzerland.

The 24-year-old has been a fixture in the Swiss national team since mid-2014, earning his 48th cap on Saturday. He has been a regular for Newcastle this season since earning a starting spot in early November, making 18 Premier League appearances thus far.