This is how we saw the major highlights of the game tonight, as Newcastle beat Braga 2-1 for their second victory in five pre-season games so far, with two left to play.
Newcastle started off with young James Tavernier in central defense and Danny Simpson at right back with Ryan Taylor at left back.
For the first 25 minutes or so it was all Braga as far as possession went, but the Portuguese side found it hard to create any decent chances, with Coloccini looking good and steady at the back for the Magpies.
Newcastle were finding it hard to get going in this game, and Tiote was caught in possession after 7 minutes, but the shot was straight at Steve Harper.
Braga were looking very good, and it was most of their second team playing, and on 17 minutes Tiote went down with what seemed a knee injury (oh no) but he was OK and carried on.
Then on 25 minutes Sammy Ameobi on the right did some good work as he cut inside, but his cross was cleared for a corner.
And on the corners tonight Sammy Ameobi was standing in front of the goalkeeper, and he looked about five inches taller than their goalkeeper – is he still growing?
On 35 minutes Cisse had a good chance from about eight yards out, the best chance of the half, but he blazed the ball way over the bar, after good work by Danny Simpson down the right wing, and Danny pulled the ball back well, and Cisse should really have done better.
On 43 minutes Tiote committed a foul as he was finding it hard to get going tonight, and the free kick from the left wing was headed wide and then just before half time Braga had a half chance, but the shot was wide of Steve Harper’s right hand post.
Newcastle had started this game poorly, but they came into the game in the last 20 minutes or so of the first half, but they would need to be a lot sharper in the second half to get the win in this game.
Demba Ba was looking good up front with Cisse a little rusty, and Tavernier at the back was very solid alongside the mercurial Coloccini, although Cheick Tiote did not play well in the first half.
There were no changes made in at the beginning of the second half by Newcastle, and on 50 minutes Tiote fouled again just outside the penalty area as the Ivorian was having a frustrating game – and he was booked, but the free kick went for a goal kick.
Braga started the second half as they started the game, and they were again much more sprightly than Newcastle.
On 57 minutes Cisse brought down a through ball brilliantly with his right foot – pure skill – but he was adjudged to be offside and then after 60 minutes Ryan Taylor got a good ball into the box and it seemed that Ba was fouled, but the referee waved play on – it looked like a penalty.
Newcastle were trying to raise their game and on 60 minutes Marveaux went through into the box, and his shot was saved by the goalkeeper.
And then Newcastle did get a penalty as Marveaux weaved his way through the box again and was brought down – excellent play by Sylvain – and a clear penalty.
Demba Ba’s penalty was saved by the goalkeeper low to his right, but Ba followed up and put the rebound in – and Newcastle were ahead 1-0, probably just against the run of play.
Ba was then fouled and he got a yellow card for his reaction, as the Senegal man was enraged by the tackle and pushed the Portuguese player.
On 67 minutes Sammy Ameobi had the ball in the back of the net from a corner but he was adjudged to be offside – just – but then almost immediately Braga pulled level.
The Portuguese side broke away quickly down the right wing and played some neat one-two passes in the penalty area, and the shot from Amorin wrong footed Steve Harper and the ball rolled slowly into the net.
Alan Pardew will not be pleased with the Newcastle defending for the goal, and the lads cannot seem to hold onto leads in pre-season – that will have to change.
Cesar then had a great chance to put Braga ahead, but his shot went just over the bar, and he should have done better, as the Newcatsle defense was starting to wobble again.
And then on 70 minutes, former Newcastle player Hugo Viana was brought on as a substitute and two minutes later Yohan Cabaye was introduced for his first taste of pre-season for the top French International.
Almost immediately after Yohan came on, Newcastle scored from a free kick 25 yards out, and it was that man Ryan Taylor who put the ball into the top corner, and the goalkeeper got nowhere near the ball.
It was another brilliant goal from Ryan Taylor – he’s such an improved player since Alan Pardew came to Newcastle.
Now can the lads hang onto the lead this time?
There was a bit of a mix up between Harper and Coloccini as to who should take the ball in the penalty area, but Steve got the ball away – just.
After 79 minutes Tavernier did just enough to stop the Portuguese forward from getting to the ball from a right wing cross, which went for a goal kick, as Braga made another change to try to get back in the game.
On 81 minutes a good corner from Braga was not cleared by the Newcastle defense as panic reigned, but Harper just got down quick enough to smother the ball.
But then young James Tavernier gave the ball away just outside the penalty box, and Braga hit the post as the shot was just deflected onto the post by Danny Simpson – he’s good at that stuff on the goal line.
Some inexperience showed there by young Tavernier, who neverthless was very steady for most of this game tonight, and has again looked a good player in pre-season – as he did last year – this lad can do a job for the Newcastle first team this season.
And then Sammy Ameobi was brought down on 82 minutes by Douglao, and would you believe it but Douglao was sent off for his reaction to the Assitant referee and he was sent off, as he argued vociferously that the ball had gone out of play – silly boy.
It’s the same scenario as last night – a goal in front and playing against 10 men late in the game, and then Alan Pardew brought Haris Vuckic on for Demba Ba after 86 minutes, as Alan tried to keep the lead with fresh legs.
Cabaye put Cisse through with a great through ball but Papiss blasted the ball well wide, and he really looked rusty tonight.
On 87 minutes Gabby Obertan came on for Sylvain Marveaux, as Newcastle were hanging on for the win, but the defense looked a little shaky at times – are we going to sign some new defenders?
The game went into four minutes of stoppage time, and in the last minute of added time Yohan Cabaye almost got a third for Newcastle after good work by Gabby Obertan and Harris Vuckic down the right wing.
But Yohan’s shot bounced just over the bar – and after almost five minutes of injury time (there was supposed to be only four minutes) the final whistle blew.
Newcastle won the game 2-1, our second win in five pre-season games, and with it Newcastle also win the 12th annual Guadiana Trophy, with 4 points from our two games in Portugal.
It’s a good job Tim Krul saved that last penalty last night.
It was a decent performance from Newcastle tonight, but it’s obvious some players are still not match fit – but that means it must be pre-season. :D.