Joelinton's tap-in saved Newcastle United's blushes as they scrapped a 1-0 win over Southampton at Saint Mary's Stadium in Tuesday's semifinal first leg of the Carabao Cup.
The Brazilian striker netted in the second half to put Howe's side on the brink of their first domestic cup final since 1999.
Southampton's Duje Caleta-Car was sent off in the closing stages as a feisty clash boiled over.
Nathan Jones' team, the bottom of the Premier League, felt hard done by after Adam Armstrong's equaliser was disallowed by VAR for handball.
But Newcastle can book their long-awaited trip to Wembley in the second leg at St. James' Park on January 31, with the winner facing Manchester United or Nottingham Forest in the final.
Tonight's Player of the Match: @brunoog97 ?— Carabao Cup (@Carabao_Cup) January 24, 2023
How good is this guy, @NUFC fans?#EFL | #CarabaoCup pic.twitter.com/VqjL5YBXS0
Forest host United in the first leg of their semifinal on Wednesday.
Howe isn't taking anything for granted yet, however.
"It's been a good day but there's still a long way to go in the tie. Pleased to win, that was our aim, but we know 1-0 is delicate," Howe said.
"It was a tough game. I thought both teams had their moments. Nothing is decided. We go back to St James' with our fans behind us."
Admitting Newcastle were fortunate to avoid conceding Armstrong's disallowed equaliser, Howe added: "I thought it was a goal. Very pleased to see VAR intervene."
Newcastle are enjoying a renaissance this season thanks to Howe's astute leadership and the financial investment of the club's Saudi-backed ownership group.
The Magpies sit third in the Premier League and are making their first domestic semifinal appearance since 2005.
Underlining Newcastle's new, confident attitude, Howe had said merely reaching a semifinal was "not enough" as he aims to win the club's first major domestic trophy since the 1955 FA Cup.
The Magpies' most recent domestic cup final ended in defeat against Manchester United in the 1999 FA Cup, with their last major silverware coming in the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.
For Newcastle, this is their most promising period since the Kevin Keegan era in the 1990s and they left the south coast having taken another step on the road back to relevance.
Joe Willock should have put Newcastle ahead inside two minutes when he fired wildly over after Miguel Almiron's pass found the unmarked midfielder in the Southampton penalty area.