Newcastle United 2 Hellas Verona 0: Dwight Gayle absent as club ends pre-season campaign with convincing win

Ayoze Perez, far right
Ayoze Perez, far right

Newcastle United wrapped up their pre-season campaign with a comfortable win.

Rafa Benitez's side beat Hellas Verona 2-0 in a friendly at St James's Park this afternoon.

Ayoze Perez and Christian Atsu were on target for Newcastle.

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Benitez was without striker Dwight Gayle, who had been an unused substitute for the midweek win over Wolfsburg.

Gayle is understood to have been left out because of a minor niggle.

Christian Atsu

Christian Atsu

Midfielder Jack Colback was also left out of the squad.

Verona, managed by former United coach Fabio Pecchia, were out-played and out-fought by Newcastle, who kick off their Premier League campaign on August 13 with a home game against Tottenham Hotspur.

The game, played in front of a crowd of 23,906, was won inside the first 12 minutes.

Javier Manquillo, making his home debut for the club along with fellow starter Florian Lejeune, broke down the left in the fourth minute and crossed for Perez, who beat goalkeeper Nicholas at his near post.

And Atsu doubled United's advantage in the 12th minute with a shot from a tight angle.

Newcastle, ahead of Verona in their pre-season preparations, were dominant in every department against a team which didn't match them physically.

United created chance after chance, but couldn't add to their two goals.

Benitez made nine changes during the second half and handed a home debut to midfielder Mikel Merino, signed from Borussia Dortmund last week.

Newcastle pressed on. Winger Matt Ritchie struck the post with a free-kick, while substitute Rolando Aarons went close with a header.

Meanwhile, Benitez gave fans a transfer update before the fixture.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Elliot (Darlow, 64), Manquillo (Murphy, 64), Lejeune (Lascelles, 64), Clark (Mbemba, 64), Dummett (Gamez, 64), Ritchie, Shelvey (Merino, 64), Hayden, Atsu (Aarons, 64), Perez (de Jong, 72), 64), Mitrovic (Diame, 64)..

HELLAS VERONA: Nicholas, Bearzotti, Fares, Buchel, Kumbulla, Souprayen, Zucilini, Bessa, Verde, Cerci, Pazzini.

Goals: Perez 4, Atsu 12

Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Preston)

Attendance: 23,906