The Frenchman cancelled out Raphinha’s opener in an end-to-end encounter
The mercurial Frenchman scored a stunning equaliser to hand the Magpies a 1-1 Premier League draw with Marcelo Bielsa’s men on Friday evening, and might even have snatched victory at the death after treating the St James’ Park faithful to a virtuoso display of high-octane dribbling.
Saint-Maximin has firmly established himself as the star of Steve Bruce’s struggling team, but has been hampered since his £16million arrival from Nice by injuries and a bout of Covid-19, although he has played every minute of the new league campaign to date and already provided two goals and as many assists.
Saint-Maximin told NUFC TV: “I’m really happy because the most important thing for me is to play and it’s five games and five starts for me, so I’m really happy.
“I just want to keep going, to play, to start games. It’s five 90-minute games, so I just have to keep going. The more I am on the pitch, the more I can help my team.”
Saint-Maximin’s latest telling contribution came a minute before half-time after Raphinha’s 13th-minute opener had capped an impressive start to the game by the visitors, who ripped into their bewildered hosts with relish.
The 24-year-old picked up possession on the edge of the penalty area and evaded a series of challenges before blasting an unstoppable shot back across Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier and into the net.
Em última análise, Saint-Maximin’s goal was enough to claim only a second point of the season with both sides still yet to win in the league, and that was a source of disappointment.
Saint-Maximin added: “I know my quality, I know what I can do, so I always try to help my team to win with some dribbling.
“I got the ball and so many players came close to me, so I just tried to pass one, two, três, to have to space to shoot and that worked, so I’m really happy to score this goal.
“But the most important thing is to win and again, my goal didn’t help the team to win, so I just have to keep going and work hard to help my team win.”
If the Magpies felt they could have taken more from the game, so too did Leeds, who were rampant before the break, but did not take their chances on a night when Luke Ayling and Raphinha were added to an already-lengthy casualty list.
Skipper Liam Cooper told the club’s official website: “We all know how important it is in this league to put chances in and keep them out at the other end as well.
“Newcastle defended well, they sat deep and filled the box which made the spaces a lot shorter, which was difficult for us to get in behind.
“We’ve dealt with that a lot. We need to improve on that and I am sure we will.”