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Newcastle beat Brentford to secure seventh place

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Newcastle face a wait to find out whether they will play European football next season after overcoming Brentford to secure seventh place in the Premier League.

The Magpies’ win means that a Manchester City victory over Manchester United in the FA Cup final next weekend will confirm their place in the 2024-25 UEFA Conference League.

Brentford’s Ivan Toney had an early goal disallowed against his former club, but Eddie Howe’s team took the lead midway through the first half when Harvey Barnes nodded Bruno Guimaraes’ delivery into the roof of the net.

Sean Longstaff had a close-range finish disallowed for offside, before Jacob Murphy converted Alexander Isak’s low cross at the far post following an error by Ethan Pinnock.

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Isak got on the scoresheet himself moments later, becoming the first Newcastle player since Alan Shearer in 2003-04 to score 21 goals in a Premier League season when he sidefooted Guimaraes’ through ball into the far corner.

Vitaly Janelt’s first goal since February 2023 reduced the arrears early in the second half, and Yoanne Wissa added a second for Brentford with a fabulous long-range strike into the far corner.

But Guimaraes all but ended the Bees’ hopes of salvaging anything from the game with 13 minutes remaining, firing home the rebound after Mark Flekken had saved Isak’s free-kick.

Given that Newcastle have suffered more than most with injuries this term, a top-seven finish – and a possible place in Europe for the second season in succession – should be deemed a satisfactory campaign for Howe’s side.

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Newcastle’s away form has left a lot to be desired, and when Toney slotted in Bryan Mbeumo’s cross in just the third minute it looked like being another frustrating afternoon away from St James’ Park for Howe and his players.

However, Mbeumo was adjudged to be in an offside position in the build-up and after that reprieve Newcastle never looked back.

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They could easily have been further ahead at the interval, Joelinton missing a glorious opportunity to put the visitors in front with the score still 0-0 and Flekken denying Isak a second goal shortly before half-time.

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Janelt and Wissa gave Brentford hope as the Bees threatened to mount a second-half fightback, but the Magpies held their nerve and restored their two-goal advantage through Guimaraes late on.

Remarkably, there have been 147 goals in matches involving Newcastle this season, the most in the Premier League since Liverpool’s fixtures produced 151 goals in 2013-14.

Having watched their side finish above Manchester United for the first time in the Premier League era, Newcastle fans must now hope Erik ten Hag’s side suffer further disappointment at Wembley on Saturday.

As for Brentford, the final-day defeat is only their second loss in nine matches since mid-March.

Thomas Frank’s side started brightly and were unfortunate not to take the lead when Toney’s early effort was ruled out.

But they crumbled after Barnes’ opener and could have been further behind at half-time.

They improved in the second half and Pope had to pull off an outstanding one-handed save to deny Toney his first goal since February – but Janelt and Wissa’s efforts were too little, too late for the home side.

Addressing the home fans at full-time, Frank promised his team would “go even bigger” next season after securing a fourth-successive campaign of top-flight football.

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