Lewis Hall has Champions League debut to forget as Dortmund put Newcastle to the sword
Report by Alessandro Schiavone at Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Newcastle United (Fullkrug, Brandt)
Such was Lewis Hall’s faux pas on his Champions League debut for Newcastle that Eddie Howe was left with no choice but to hook him at half-time. For Newcastle’s sake but first and foremost to protect the player from unwanted scrutiny. Dan Burn’s absence was sorely missed and what appeared to be an on-paper competition dream debut away to Borussia Dortmund quickly turned into a nightmare for the 2004-born Blues Cobham academy graduate. It’s fair to say that Newcastle’s overall struggles affected his own game. After stunning St James’ Park two weeks ago, it was clear that Dortmund had the Magpies’ number, just like Karim Adeyemi had his and ran him ragged. For Dortmund’s opening goal the new (undercooked) Tynesider's inexperience was cruelly exposed as he was sold cheap by Marcel Sabitzer who effortlessly teed up Niclas Füllkrug.
After swapping position from right wing-back to right-back, Tino Livramento did more in 11 second-half minutes than Hall in 45 on the other side. With Newcastle 1-0 down thanks to Germany international Füllkrug's clinical finish, fellow former Blues youth product Livramento found the head of Joelinton at the start of the second half. But the Brazilian headed wide from range. That proved costly as Julian Brandt took the game beyond the visitors with a well-taken low finish on 79 minutes. Hall’s naivety and poor decision-making, including not exactly knowing when to press his man high up the pitch and when to back off instead contributed to Newcastle’s shambolic night on their travels. Adeyemi sensed his insecurities and played like a million dollars, leaving him for dead numerous times with his accelerations into space. Erratic and ponderous at the back, he offered little in the way of quality on the ball as well and no progressing passing. It's obvious that Dortmund manager Edin Terzic instructed his players to direct traffic down his side and he was quickly sussed out. But it would be a step too far to claim that Newcastle lost because of Hall. Tried-and-trusted veterans Lascelles and Schar looked off the pace while Bruno Guimaraes and Joe Willock failed to spark. When all is said and done, it was not a smooth night by any means for Hall. But the youngster has a lot of potential and there’s no doubt that he’ll use tonight’s slip-up as an incentive to steadily work his way into the team in the years to come. And Chelsea are curious spectators...has Todd Boehly's club made the right call to let him leave so early without really knowing if he is made of the right stuff?