I'm confused by the verb "open up" used in this sentence. It has a couple of senses.

34 min City open Newcastle up with a beautiful passing move on the left. Eventually De Bruyne plays in Zinchenko, whose low cross just evades Jesus in the six-yard box. Burn (I think) did well to shepherd him away from the ball.

2 Answers 2


This is saying that the passing move weakened the opposing team's defense. It is described using the words "open Newcastle up" because it created an opening- a place of opportunity where the offense could attack.

The writer is trying to say that the passing move disorganized Newcastle's defense, allowing them to get into a threatening position to score.

  • Surely 'defence' is the better spelling, considering the context? Commented Aug 12, 2022 at 17:19

It is football jargon. It means to create space and gaps in the football team's defensive structure.

This exact quote was discussed on languagecaster-learn English through football

Good teams can open up a defence by using attacking patterns and of course good skillful players. In this example, City opened up Newcastle (opened Newcastle up) by passing beautifully.

  • Note this applies just as well to many other sports, basketball and American football for example. Really any sport where the players of both teams intermix, so it would not really apply to baseball (and I assume cricket though I don't have enough exposure there to be certain). Commented Aug 12, 2022 at 17:07

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