Dortmund's 1-0 Victory over Newcastle in Champions League
Borussia Dortmund rekindled their hopes in Champions League Group F with a gritty 1-0 victory at Newcastle United thanks to Felix Nmecha's clinical first-half strike on Wednesday.
Nmecha's well-taken goal near the end of a high-octane opening half proved enough for the Bundesliga side to post their first win in the group at the third time of asking.
After a wide-open first period, Dortmund defended their lead solidly after the break although Callum Wilson headed a chance against the crossbar and Anthony Gordon also struck the woodwork deep in stoppage time on a frustrating night for Newcastle.
Defeat was an anti-climax for Eddie Howe's side after their big win over Paris St Germain in the previous match, and the group is now wide open with PSG on six points, Newcastle and Dortmund both on four and Milan on two.
"In the second half we had to defend a lot but we did it with a lot of passion and a bit of luck," Dortmund coach Edin Terzić told TNT Sport. "This group is going to be a very tough fight until the end."
Newcastle had scored 18 goals in all competitions in seven home games this season, including four in the stunning demolition of PSG earlier this month.
But Dortmund proved a far harder nut to crack as they demonstrated their European experience with some exhilarating attacking play in the first half followed by stern resistance on a foul rainy night on Tyneside.
The two sides will meet again in a fortnight in Dortmund in a match that is likely to be pivotal.
"It is going to be difficult but we're in the Champions League. Nothing comes easy," a drenched Howe said.
"You know you're going to have to win in some tough places. Now we need to dust ourselves down and be ready.
"I don't think we deserved to lose today."
Nmecha's first Champions League goal at the end of a high-octane opening half was Dortmund's first in the competition this season and ultimately it proved decisive.
Gordon was dispossessed deep in Dortmund territory and the visitors launched a devastating counter-attack with Nico Schlotterbeck sweeping down the left before clipping back a pass for Nmecha to dispatch a first-time shot past Pope.
Pope had earlier produced some heroics to keep Dortmund out, blocking a shot by Donyell Malen after he was played through on goal and then making a stunning double save to first thwart Malen and then Niclas Fullkrug's follow-up.
Gordon was Newcastle's best attacking player and twice came close for the hosts in a frenetic opening to the game, forcing excellent saves from Gregor Kobel on both occasions.
Wilson, who replaced the injured Alexander Isak early on, should have scored shortly after the break but fired his shot straight at Kobel.
Dortmund stifled Newcastle after that but needed some luck in the dying minutes to go home with the points. First Wilson headed a Matt Targett cross against the crossbar, and with almost the last kick of the game Gordon's deflected shot looped against virtually the same piece of woodwork.
"We had a fantastic first half, when we deserved the win. In the second, we defended it," Terzic said.
"We invested a lot and gave everything to bring that win home."