FORGET about game of the season so far, this was one of the great Premier League tussles.
And in years to come it could well be viewed as the match where Newcastle – with all their new-found wealth – proved beyond doubt they are the growing force in English football.
Just a draw, yes, but Manchester City have rarely, if ever, had to work so hard for a point.
Having gone from 1-0 down to 3-1 up, the Toon Army were eyeing their greatest win in donkey’s years.
After Ilkay Gundogan’s early opener, Miguel Almiron, Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier’s free-kick had the City juggernaut on the ropes.
But just like that, Pep Guardiola’s side proved exactly why they are the best team in the land.
Erling Haaland struck from close range – his second of the season – before Kevin De Bruyne produced ANOTHER magical assist, this time for Bernardo Silva.
And while it was City pushing late on for the winner in this rip-roaring clash, you imagine it will live longer in the memory of the Magpies fans.
Since the Saudi takeover last October, their best win was against Arsenal at the end of last season.
They didn’t get the victory here but they went toe-to-toe with City all the way – proving they are well and truly on the right path.
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And it was lucky number 13 for Mags boss Eddie Howe having lost all of his previous 12 matches as a manager against City.
It leaves the Citizens in second, two points above early leader Arsenal, while Newcastle are sixth and believing they really can break into Europe this campaign.
Howe had another mountain to climb against City when they carved his static defence open just five minutes in.
Bernardo Silva picked it up on the right and set off on a mazy run inside before finding an unchecked Ilkay Gundogan in the middle, who cushioned it with his left before firing past a stationary Nick Pope.
In case anyone needed reminding, City don’t tend to squander leads – May 2021 was the last time they lost after scoring first.
The Citizens then had a couple of great chances to double their lead but this rapidly improving Newcastle side were never going to go under without a right good go.
And with St James’ Park cranking up the volume, they tore into the champions in a rip-roaring first half.
Almiron lashed a great chance over, Allan Saint-Maximin forced a fine stop, and rattled City were caught in the eye of a Tyneside storm.
Saint-Maximin had right-back Kyle Walker all dazed and confused, and the Frenchman’s great ball to the back post was bundled in by Almiron 28 minutes in.
The offside flag went straight up but replays showed he was clearly on, the goal was given, and St James’ erupted.
It was fully deserved, and nobody could have begrudged the rampant Mags taking the lead 11 minutes later.
It was that man Saint-Maximin again, pouncing on a poor defensive header by Walker on halfway before darting infield and slipping Wilson in to his right.
The No 9’s first touch took him across Ruben Dias – on for the injured Ake – and his second, with the outside of his right peg was a beauty to bring up his second of the season.
With finishing like that, England boss Gareth Southgate can surely ignore Wilson no longer.
Erling Haalnd finally sprung into life just after the break but Pope superbly tipped his low drive onto the post.
And what a save it proved, with the Geordie nation in absolute dreamland when Trippier bent a stunning free-kick into the top corner.
Saint-Maximin drew the foul on the edge of the box with his latest slaloming run and skipper Trippier did the rest, leaving Ederson with no chance as it nestled in the top corner.
If City looked down and out, think again.
A two-goal disadvantage was just what they needed after all as they burst back into life with two goals in four minutes to make it 3-3.
The first was direct, a short corner swung to the back post by Walker, with Rodri winning a scramble to square to Haalalnd to bury.
The Norwegian was then one-on-one with Pope after latching onto De Bruyne’s stunning through ball, but the Newcastle keeper burst off his line to smother.
If that pass from the Belgian good then his next was out of this world, somehow threading one through Joe Willock’s legs down down the middle to feed Bernardo Silva, who clipped beyond Pope.
And as if this game couldn’t get crazier, Trippier was then shown a straight red for a cynical, supposedly dangerous tackle on De Bruyne on halfway – only for VAR to intervene and ref Jarred Gillett to change his mind and brandish a yellow.