Newcastle United 1 CSKA Moscow 1: Salomon Rondon nets as Magpies play out draw in Spain friendly

Newcastle United in action at the Pinatar Arena.
Newcastle United in action at the Pinatar Arena.

Rafa Benitez gave a run out to 22 of his 23 fit Newcastle United players as the Magpies drew 1-1 in a friendly with CSKA Moscow.

Salomon Rondon opened the scoring at the Pinatar Arena before Abel Hernandez levelled just before the break, as United's six-day warm weather training camp in the south of Spain came to a close with honours even.

Rafa Benitez picked four of his starting back five in the opening 45 minutes, with only Matt Ritchie benched in order to get new boy Antonio Barreca gametime on the left.

Further forward Ki and Mo Diame were restored to the side with Kenedy and £21 million man Miguel Almiron playing off Rondon.

United could, and should have been in front within minutes of the start when Kenedy had the opportunity to first set away Rondon, put over hit his pass, then wasted an opportunity of his own from close range, firing high, wide and handsome when played in by Almiron.

The Paraguayan, full of running in the opening exchanges, almost nipped in to take the ball around Igor Akinfeev after some hesitant Russian defendin, but the experienced international stopper smothered Almiron's attempts at an opener.

Diame then got in on the act as he skied when set clean through on goal by Almiron. It's fair to say it was a lively opening 10 minutes for the Magpies.

Their dominance was rewarded when the figurehead of their South American attacking triumvirate Rondon popped up with a goal.

A raking cross-field pass from Florian Lejeue found DeAndre Yedlin in space out wide, he beat his man, then beat him again before whipping in a cross which Rondon battled for, then took down and turned home.

After the goal, though, United's intensity dropped.

Everton loan man Nikola Vlasic first tested Karl Darlow, who had a busy end to the half, but the Newcastle reserve keeper could little about the leveller.

Darlow made a quite brilliant stop to deny Fyodor Chadov but the ball was recycled on the United left and former Hull City striker Abel Hernandez turned into an empty net for 1-1.

Having been in control, United were now on the back foot and but for another smart stop from Darlow would have went in a goal down.

Benitez rung the changes at the break, sending out a whole new 11 for the second period switching to a 4-4-2.

Freddie Woodman, Javier Manquillo, Federico Fernandez, Paul Dummett, Matt Ritchie, Ayoze Perez, Isaac Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Christian Atsu, Joselu and Yoshinuri Muto all coming on at half-time.

And as they had in the first half, Newcastle started the brighter of the two in the second - Joselu having two chances to net, but he failed to get a shot way on one occasion and saw another effort blocked on the line after rounding the keeper.

In the new system United lost a little of the width and pace further forward which made them so dangerous, particularly down the right.

Despite that Perez and Hayden looked lively, so too Ritchie down the left.

While the first 45 was full of chances, the second was a whole lot more conserved as the wind played havoc with the players' ability to move the ball over long distances.

With 12 minutes remaining United almost snatched a win as a wicked Ritchie cross was deflected goalwards by CSKA's Oblyakov, but it was saved by Akinfeev.

And again, wiith almost the last kick of the game it was almost the perfect end for the Magpies as some smart work by Atsu in the area tee'd up Muto but his effort was saved. 1-1 it ended.

Only Martin Dubravka remained on the United bench, in a game where Benitez gave all 22 fit players a chance to stake a claim ahead of next week's visit of Huddersfield Town to St James's Park.

Jonjo Shelvey and Ciaran Clark both travelled and were at the game but did not make the squad. The duo must be rated as doubtful for the Terriers' clash in seven days.