Newcastle draw 0-0 with Porto after superb defensive performance

Newcastle United held Porto to a goalless draw tonight thanks to a superb defensive performance at the Estadio do Dragao.

Saturday, 28th July 2018, 10:11 pm
Updated Saturday, 28th July 2018, 10:17 pm
Estadio do Dragao.

The friendly kicked off as news broke of Aleksandar Mitrovic's departure for Fulham.

Mitrovic left the club's base in Portugal hours before the match to return to England, where he will complete a £20million switch to the newly-promoted club.

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The 23-year-old had spent less than 24 hours in the country.

In his absence, United put in a backs-to-the-wall performance against the Portuguese champions in front of a 40,000-plus crowd at the Estadio do Dragao.

And new signing Fabian Schar played his part.

Sir Bobby Robson – who led Porto to successive league titles in the mid-1990s – was remembered before the game, which was part of the Primeira Liga club's 125th birthday celebrations.

Newcastle, backed by around 1,000 fans, wore the club's new maroon and blue away shirt.

However, Benitez's side were on the back foot for much of the match, and United, braced for a tough Premier League campaign, defended superbly to deny an energetic and inventive Porto team.

Benitez had fielded Joselu up front and named Schar, signed from Deportivo La Coruna, on the bench along with Dwight Gayle, who had missed the previous friendly against Hull City.

Gayle, however, didn't make it off the bench.

Porto dominated the first half-hour without testing goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, who was making his first appearance of pre-season after sitting out the friendlies against St Patrick's Athletic and Hull City.

The Primeira Liga champions moved the ball well, and Newcastle had to defend deep and in numbers. DeAndre Yedlin cleared a Sergio Oliveira header off the line in the 32nd minute, and captain Jamaal Lascelles superbly blocked a shot from Yacine Brahimi late in the half.

Somehow, United went into the break with the score still goalless.

Benitez replaced Dummett, making his first pre-season appearance, with Javier Manquillo at the break, while Porto, oddly, changed strips.

There was more pressure from Sergio Conceicao's side after the break, and Sergio Oliveira struck the post with a free-kick in the 55th minute. Dubravka stopped a follow-up effort from Vincent Aboubakar.

Francisco Soares also struck the woodwork before Benitez made three changes. Schar came on for his debut along with Ki Sung-yueng and Jamie Sterry.

Dubravka stopped a header from Soares before Benitez made another round of substitutions.

Newcastle managed to see the game out thanks to a superb save from substitute goalkeeper Karl Darlow.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka (Darlow, 72); Yedlin (Sterry, 62), Clark (Schar, 62), Lascelles, Dummett (Manquillo, 46); Diame (Hayden, 72), Shelvey (Ki, 62); Ritchie (Roberts, 72), Perez (Longstaff, 72), Murphy (Atsu, 72); Joselu (Armstrong, 72). Subs not used: Elliot, Yarney, Fernandez, Gayle.