Young Magpies held by Benfica in International Cup opener
Newcastle United U23s 1-1 Benfica B
Newcastle and Benfica had to share the points in their Premier League International Cup clash after a 1-1 draw at Whitley Park.
Newcastle took the lead early in the first half through Ludwig Francillette, but Benfica levelled through a Daniel Dos Anjos penalty just past the half hour mark.
Chances were few and far between after the break, but Benfica would have stolen it at the death if not for a couple of stunning saves from keeper Jake Turner.
Benfica went into Friday night’s game with three points already on the board after beating Hertha Berlin II back in September, and it was the visitors who started stronger.
Benfica should have taken the lead just four minutes in when a corner on the far side was flicked on by David Zec, finding Joao Ferreira in space but the right back failed to hit the target.
Newcastle started to grow into the game after this and took the lead 13 minutes in when a Rosaire Longelo corner found Francillette who powered in a header from close range.
Newcastle could have doubled their lead just a few minutes later when Jack Young found himself in space on the edge of the box, but his effort was tame and straight at Fabio Duarte.
Benfica then should have taken the lead through Kevin Csoboth, from an almost identical position to the earlier Ferreira chance, but like his teammate, Csoboth blasted well wide.
The visitors did level moments later, when a penalty was given for an off the ball foul as Dos Anjos was heading in a Vukotic corner.
Dos Anjos picked himself up and sent the keeper the wrong way from 12 yards to restore parity.
The Magpies twice came close from corners just before the break, but Charman and then Allan both hit efforts wide.
Benfica came close just minutes into the second half with Martin Chrien firing a freekick inches wide.
Jack Young had Newcastle’s best chance of the second half just after the hour mark with a header from inside the box, after an Allan cross, straight at Duarte.
Mo Sangare tried his luck from outside the area in the last minute of normal time but was well off target with his effort.
Newcastle then had keeper Turner to thank for twice saving the game, denying both Nuno Santos and David Zec from close range.
Newcastle XI: Turner, Sterry, Cass, Francillette, Walters; Young, Sangare; Allan (White 80’), Anderson (Fernandez 72’), Longelo (Wilson 65’); Charman ©
Unused subs: McEntee, Langley, Barrett, Touré
Benfica XI: Duarte ©, Ferreira, Zec, Kalaica, Frimpong, Mendes, Vukotic, Chrien (Santos 69’), Vinicius (Conceicao 81’), Dos Anjos (Pinto 81’), Csoboth
Unused subs: Garrido, Ebuehi, Granchas, Henrique