Yasir Al-Rumayyan may have seen Newcastle stadium farewells as Brighton turn air blue - 5 things

Newcastle United's hopes of qualifying for Europe look set to go down to the wire following a 1-1 draw against Brighton in the Magpies' final home game of the season.

Joel Veltman opened the scoring for the visitors after the quarter hour mark after knocking the ball in from a corner, but Sean Longstaff equalised for Newcastle from close range on the stroke of half-time.

Here are five things we learned from the match at St James' Park.

READ MORE: Newcastle United 1-1 Brighton highlights

Brighton fans taunt as early goal hurts Newcastle

It was far from the ideal start. Newcastle are usually so solid at set-pieces, but the black-and-whites were quickly put under pressure by Brighton from corner kicks. Martin Dubravka had a nervy moment when he failed to claim Julio Enciso's delivery from the first and Dan Burn had to make a huge intervention to get there ahead of former team-mate Lewis Dunk to clear Pascal Gross' second corner. It was a case of third time's a charm for Brighton in the 18th minute.

Gross again delivered the in-swinger into the box and the ball was knocked on to the back post, where Joel Veltman got there ahead of Elliot Anderson to prod it into the back of the net. Brighton fans up in the gods taunted: "How s--- must you be? We're winning away!"

St James' was a little stunned. Eddie Howe had commented how Brighton's style is 'difficult to grab hold of and control' and it was a little ominous how calm jack-in-the-box Roberto De Zerbi was on the touchline. Brighton were ahead and the visitors were not about to settle for a 1-0 win.

Julio Enciso's superb reverse pass played Danny Welbeck in, but Martin Dubravka rushed out to claim in the 37th minute. Then, just a few minutes later, Simon Adingra galloped forward on the break and picked out the dangerous Enciso at the back post, but the Paraguay international could only head the ball over the bar.

Those misses proved significant - Newcastle were soon level. Anthony Gordon's mazy dribble created the opening and the club's player of the year slipped in Elliot Anderson down the overlap. Anderson pulled the ball back to Sean Longstaff, who lashed home to make it 1-1 right before the break. The frustration for Newcastle was, despite a lot of huff and puff, the Magpies were unable to go on and win the game. The race for Europe looks set to go to the wire.

Alexander Isak change explained as Wilson missed

Even Alexander Isak looked a little surprised. It is practically unheard of for Isak to be substituted when Newcastle are chasing a win, particularly with no natural alternative in reserve, but the club's top scorer was taken off in the 68th minute having felt unwell on Friday and with two huge away games to come against Manchester United and Brentford next week.

How Newcastle missed having Callum Wilson still on the field or, even, to throw on after the number nine felt a 'little bit of tightness' and was ruled out of the game. Anthony Gordon, as a result, moved inside to lead the line after Howe threw on Joelinton, Miguel Almiron and Harvey Barnes for Sean Longstaff, Jacob Murphy and Isak.

The substitutes were soon involved in the thick of it - but Newcastle lacked that clinical edge. Almiron had a shot parried by Verbruggen; Barnes could only blaze over following Gordon's cutback; and Barnes had a shot comfortably saved by the Brighton goalkeeper from a tight angle a few minutes later. There was still time for Gordon to have the ball in the back of the net only for Almiron to be flagged offside in the build-up.

De Zerbi wowed by St James'

Roberto De Zerbi was in no doubt. "St James' Park is the best stadium in the Premier League," the Brighton boss said. "Last season is still in my head because of the incredible atmosphere." To think Brighton suffered a painful 4-1 defeat that night.

De Zerbi certainly knew what lied in wait 12 months on. It might not have been a night-time kick-off this time, but Geordies were understandably pumped for the final home game of the campaign in glorious sunshine. Wor Flags, as ever, set the tone before a ball was even kicked on Saturday with a superb colourful display that incorporated all four corners and supporters were chanting 'Europe again, olé, olé!' within seconds of kick-off.

Joel Veltman of Brighton & Hove Albion scores his team's first goal
Joel Veltman of Brighton & Hove Albion scores his team's first goal

However, Brighton, to their credit, quickly settled and the Seagulls quietened the crowd following that early opener as the away end hissed: "No noise from the Saudi boys!" Goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen even wound Newcastle fans up by taking his time with elaborate goal kick routines while Darren England also felt Geordies' fury for some of his decisions and the referee was booed off at full-time.

It was one of the rare occasions in recent months where Newcastle did not win at home. Only title challengers Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City have picked up more points on their own stomping ground this season than Newcastle, who have scored in all of their home games in the top-flight, equalling a 65-year record in the process.

Will this prove a Tyneside farewell for some?

There are going to be departures this summer. Newcastle have no plans to sell their prized assets, such as Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak, but Eddie Howe has already confirmed that there will 'have to be movement out'. "You know you're going to hurt people," he said.

That is why this final lap of appreciation at St James' may yet prove significant for one or two players on an afternoon nearly the entire squad were joined by owners Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Jamie Reuben, Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi; the coaching team; and their families on a walk around the pitch post-match.

Loris Karius, Paul Dummett and Matt Ritchie are entering the final months of their contracts while there have been question marks, externally, about the long-term futures of, among others, Martin Dubravka, Matt Targett, Miguel Almiron and Callum Wilson.

Special guests get quite the welcome

It was a moment nine years in the making. For the first time since scoring that goal, in his final act in a Newcastle shirt, Jonas Gutierrez returned to St James' Park alongside former team-mate Papiss Cisse.

"I can't imagine what it would be like to come back," Gutierrez previously told ChronicleLive. "I always think about it because the love and the support from the fans over the years is something that I can't explain."

You suspect it was worth the wait after everything Gutierrez had been through in the Ashley era. Gutierrez looked genuinely touched, slapping his chest, as tens of thousands of fans stayed out at half-time to applaud the Argentine and Cisse onto the field after never forgetting what the pair did for the club.