Newcastle United 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 4
- Martin Atkinson
Newcastle United's first friendly of the summer ended in a 4-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers in China.
On a humid evening at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Center, two goals from Jota and one from Morgan Gibbs-White, plus a late Tom Allan own goal, saw Wolves progress to Saturday's final, where they will face Manchester City or West Ham United in Shanghai while United will compete for third place.
Only Isaac Hayden played the full 90 minutes for the Magpies, with Ben Dawson and Neil Redfearn giving game time to as many players as possible - including handing senior debuts to youngsters Allan, Matthew Longstaff, Owen Bailey, Kelland Watts, and Elias Sørensen in the second half.
Achraf Lazaar, Jack Colback, Jacob Murphy, and Jamie Sterry were handed an opportunity to impress from the start having spent last season out on loan, while Sean Longstaff made a welcome return to the squad having been sidelined since March with a knee ligament injury, although he did not make his long-awaited return here.
In the sixth minute, Joao Moutinho curled a shot over the bar after United had surrendered possession in midfield, before United responded with a long-range Jonjo Shelvey strike which flew well off target.
But after an even opening 15 minutes, which United had arguably shaded, Wolves took the lead through Jota. He combined well with Jonny before his left-footed strike took a slight deflection to beat Karl Darlow.
And Wolves doubled their advantage in the 32nd minute when indecision in the Magpies' defence allowed Jonny to tee up Gibbs-White, who drilled the ball home from just outside the box.
Newcastle came close to responding quickly as Shelvey linked up nicely with Matt Ritchie, but the latter's powerful shot was too close to Rui Patricio, the Wolves goalkeeper.
However, Nuno Espirito Santo's team got a third in the 40th minute, with Jota again the scorer. United failed to clear their lines and the Portuguese frontman finished well from inside the area.
Ritchie saw a 55th-minute free kick comfortably saved by substitute keeper John Ruddy then, after a raft of substitutions, Javier Manquillo stung the palms of the former Norwich number one after good work from Sørensen and Matthew Longstaff.
At the other end, another youngster, Kelland Watts made a great clearance off the line to deny Taylor Perry, then Freddie Woodman beat away Ruben Vinagre's blistering strike to keep the score at 3-0.
But in the 85th minute, Wolves added a fourth as teenager Allan inadvertently headed Vinagre's corner into his own net. Steve Bruce is now set to join up with the squad in Shanghai following his appointment as head coach earlier in the day, and will look to immediately pick his new charges up after this disappointing loss.
Newcastle United: Karl Darlow (Freddie Woodman 46), Jamie Sterry (Javier Manquillo 46), Ciaran Clark (Kelland Watts 59), Jamaal Lascelles (c) (Federico Fernández 46), Achraf Lazaar (Owen Bailey 63), Jacob Murphy (Thomas Allan 63), Isaac Hayden, Jack Colback (Matthew Longstaff 63), Jonjo Shelvey (Ki Sung-yueng 59), Matt Ritchie (Rolando Aarons 55), Yoshinori Muto (Elias Sorensen 63).
Wolves: Rui Patricio (John Ruddy 46), Adama Traore (Taylor Perry 65), Ryan Bennett, Conor Coady (c), Willy Boly, Jonny (Ruben Vinagre 65), Ruben Neves (Terry Taylor 81), Joao Moutinho (Luke Cundle 81), Leander Dendoncker (Hong Wan 81), Morgan Gibbs-White (Dion Sanderson 65), Diogo Jota (Niall Ennis 65).
Subs not used: Will Norris, Maximilian Kilman, Roderick Miranda, Ed Francis, Christian Marques, Austin Samuels.