Jonjo Shelvey injury blow for Newcastle United as touchline melee follows Joelinton dismissal against Benfica
Eddie Howe had wanted a test for his team – and he got one at the Estadio da Luz.
Benfica beat Newcastle United 3-2 to win the Eusebio Cup tonight in a niggly game which saw Jonjo Shelvey suffer an injury and Joelinton sent off for two yellow cards.
There was a melee between the two benches following Joelinton’s second-half dismissal. United were unhappy at a series of decisions from the referee.
Newcastle’s two goals came from Miguel Almiron, who was a revelation on the right side in the first 45 minutes.
Head coach Eddie Howe, without injured goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, gave an indication on his thinking on Elliot Anderson when he named the 19-year-old midfielder – who spent the second half of last season on loan at Bristol Rovers – in his starting XI.
Almiron replaced Jacob Murphy in a late change to the teamsheet, and the midfielder had an early chance after exchanging passes with Bruno Guimaraes, who was booked for a late challenge on Rafa Silva.
Newcastle went behind in the 15th minute, when Goncalo Ramos headed home from a corner. Nick Pope and captain Jamaal Lascelles both went for the ball, but Ramos got the decisive touch.
Benfica’s lead didn’t last for long. Almiron found Kieran Trippier on the right with a superb through ball, and he continued his run into the box and finished from the right-back’s return ball.
The strike stunned the home fans, but they were soon on their feet again after Alejandro Grimaldo netted a second for Benfica with a well-flighted free-kick which Pope couldn’t reach.
United, however, were level before the break. Trippier again set up Almiron from the right, and the 28-year-old tucked the ball away with a neat, left-footed finish to equalise.Howe made 11 changes at the break, and neither side made much of an impact in the final third of the pitch in the early part of the half.
Benfica’s fans tried to lift their team, and Murphy had a shot blocked in the 70th minute. Matty Bondswell did well at left-back after replacing Matt Targett.
Howe was forced into a change for the last 16 minutes when Shelvey was forced off with an injury. Matty Longstaff, facing an uncertain future at the club, replaced him in midfield.
Joelinton was sent off for a second bookable offence late in the game – he caught an opponent with a late challenge – and there was a confrontation between the two benches following his dismissal.
Play eventually resumed, and Benfica netted in the final few minutes to claim a win – and the Eusebio Cup.
Benfica, however, had been made to work very hard for their victory – and that bodes well for the coming campaign.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Pope (Darlow, 46), Trippier, (Krafth, 46), Lascelles (Schar, 46), Botman (Burn, 46), Targett (Bondswell, 46), S Longstaff (Shelvey, 46), Guimaraes (Joelinton, 46), Anderson (Shelvey, 46, M Longstaff, 74), Almiron (Willock, 46), Saint-Maximin (Murphy, 46), Wilson (Wood, 46). Sub not used: Turner-Cooke.