Newcastle finished their pre-season this afternoon with a creditable 1-1 draw against SC Braga in front of just over 16,000 fans, after they went behind just before half time, when Mathieu Debuchy conceded a penalty, and it was a bit of a harsh decision, although it looked like the Frenchman had tripped Felipe Pardo in the penalty box.
Fab Coloccini leads the side out this afternoon at St. James’ Park
Newcastle had been the better side in the first half, but again lacked a cutting edge up front, but the lads put in a decent second half performance and Fab Coloccini scored with a great header from a Ben Arfa corner after 60 minutes to bring Newcastle level.
And Newcastle could have won this game in the last 30 minutes but it was a decent performance from a number of Newcastle players, with ben Arfa looking good for Newcastle.
Newcastle came out in a new strip and the shirts were black and white halves split vertically.
Newcastle almost went ahead after a minute, as Hatem Ben Arfa moved down the left wing and then hit a good cross over that Coloccini hit first time, and it was only just wide of the target.
Both sides were finding it hard to get going, but it was Newcastle who were stringing the passes together and the Braga side threatened for the first time after 15 minutes.
After 19 minutes Papiss Cisse had a good effort when he beat his man in the box, and the curled the ball with his right foot, but goalkeeper Eduardo dived well to his left to push the ball away – a good effort from Cisse.
On 33 minutes a good cross from Braga from the right wing went straight across the Newcastle goal, but Debuchy calmly chested it back to Elliot on his goal-line – good play by Debuchy and Elliot.
Three minutes before half time Jonas had been showing up well down the left wing, and he beat his man nicely to send in a nice low cross and Shola Ameobi poked the ball just wide of the post.
But then just before half time Mathieu Debuchy gave away (another) penalty, and as Felipe Pardo went past him to his right, the Frenchman stuck his right foot out, and the Braga forward took the opportunity to fall over and referee Mason immediately pointed to the spot.
Alan made no mistake from the penalty spot, as he sent Elliot the wrong way to score easily, and after one minute of added time, SC Braga found themselves one goal up at half time, although Newcastle looked the better side in the first half.
But the game was being played at what appeared to be a slow pace.
At the start of the seocnd half Tim Krul came on for Rob Elliot, Paul Dummett for Davide Santon and Yohan Cabaye replaced Cheick Tiote.
On 52 minutes Jonas took a knock and was replaced by Sammy Ameobi, and then good play down the Newcastle right wing saw Cisse pull the ball back inside for Shola Ameobi, but the striker blasted the ball over the bar.
Four minutes later Ben Arfa made a good run down the right, and put a good ball through to Shola Ameobi, but the ball went through Shola’s legs – it was good play from the Frenchman.
Newcastle were raising their game in the second half and after 60 minutes Newcastle equalized when Ben Arfa put in a great cross from a corner and Fabricio Coloccini headed home with a strong header into the net.
A goal from a set piece – well would you believe it.
And five minutes later Coloccini tried to put the ball back to Krul, but the Newcastle captain mis-hit the ball, and he had to bring down the Braga substitute Yazalde, as he tried to race past him Colo.
The game had quickened up from the slow pace of the first half, with both sides going for the winner, and Yoan Gouffran then replaced Shola Ameobi after 64 minutes.
On 71 minutes Moussa Sissoko hit a good shot and it whistled only just wide of the post, and then after 77 minutes Alan Pardew made a triple change with Steven Taylor, Sylvain Marveaux and Vurnon Anita replacing Cisse. Debuchy and Sissoko.
A triple substitution – that’s something the great Bobby Robson did a lot while manager at Newcastle.
Sammy Ameobi was showing up well down the left wing and combining well with fellow Geordie Paul Dummett, as Newcastle attacked frequently down the left wing.
After 85 minutes the lively Yoan Gouffran had the ball in the net with a good header but he was well offside, as Newcastle were making a spirited effort to win the game.
Two minutes later Ben Arfa, who had a good game and looked very fit, was replaced by Gabby Obertan.
The game fizzled out to a 1-1 draw, but it was a decent performance from the lads, with some good second half performances from subs Gouffran, Cabaye, Sammy Ameobi and Paul Dummett.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Rob Elliot (Tim Krul 46); Mathieu Debuchy (Steven Taylor 76), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon (Paul Dummett 46); Hatem Ben Arfa (Gabriel Obertan 87), Cheick Tiote (Yohan Cabaye 46), Moussa Sissoko (Vurnon Anita 76), Jonas Gutierrez (Sammy Ameobi 52); Shola Ameobi (Yoan Gouffran 64), Papiss Cisse (Sylvain Marveaux 76)
Sub not used: Dan Gosling
SC Braga (4-4-2): Eduardo (Cristiano 46); Baiano (Joao Pedro 82), Paulo Vinicius (Custodio 46), Aderlan Santos, Joaozinho (Florent Hanin 87); Alan (c) (Nuno Andre Coelho 46), Luiz Carlos (Salvador Agra 46), Mauro (Helder Barbosa 78) , Ruben Micael (Luis Silva 67); Edinho (Yazalde 46), Felipe Pardo (Rafa 46)
Sub not used: Pedro Santos
Referee: Lee Mason
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