Newcastle United 2 ACF Fiorentina 0
- Michael Oliver
Goals either side of half time from Miguel Almirón and Alexander Isak meant Newcastle United made a winning start to the Sela Cup weekend on Saturday afternoon.
Almirón fired home after Isak had played him in before the break at St. James' Park before the Swedish forward made sure of the victory with a well-placed header in the closing stages as Eddie Howe's side - who play Villarreal in their second and final game of the tournament on Sunday - maintained their unbeaten record in pre-season.
The in-form Elliot Anderson, with four goals already in this summer's preparations for 2023/24, sounded the first warning, skewing high and wide from a Gordon cutback before the latter flashed one wide in what was a promising start for United's forward line. Bar a Nicolas Gonzalez attempt, which cleared the crossbar, and a few dangerous moments caused by targetman Arthur Cabral, Howe's side looked to be in control.
Isak's low drive was parried by Michele Cerofolini and both the Swede and Gordon, on the left-hand side of the Magpies' attack, were particularly lively. The latter was unlucky not to find the target when his effort from Anderson's lay-off struck the base of the post midway through the half, but with 38 minutes on the clock they moved in front. It was Almirón who applied the clinical finish but Isak made the goal with a terrific penetrating run and a cute through ball for the Paraguayan to race on to and slide beyond Cerofolini.
Gonzalez called Martin Dúbravka into action shortly after with a tame shot and by the end of the first period the Viola were fortunate to not be further behind, as Gordon saw his strike palmed away after a brilliant solo run which took him into the box.
Just after the restart, Sandro Tonali - who was enjoying a quietly assured first outing at St. James' - whipped a free kick just past the upright at the Gallowgate End, while Almirón went close soon after, taking the shot on early after breaking away but seeing Fiorentina stopper Cerofolini thrown himself in the way of it.
With just over quarter of an hour remaining, Gordon squandered a great chance to grab his side's second, blazing Kieran Trippier's low centre well over the bar from around ten yards out, but with just under ten minutes left the Magpies eventually found another goal. It was a straightforward one for Isak, who found space in a congested penalty area to glance Trippier's corner into the net and wrap up the victory for the hosts.
Newcastle United: Martin Dúbravka; Kieran Trippier, Alex Murphy, Sven Botman, Matt Targett; Lewis Miley (Ben Parkinson 80), Sandro Tonali, Elliot Anderson; Miguel Almirón (Jay Turner-Cooke 88), Alexander Isak (Michael Ndiweni 88), Anthony Gordon.
Substitutes: Mark Gillespie, Jude Smith, Remi Savage, Charlie McArthur, Jordan Hackett, Nathan Carlyon, Jamie Miley, Lucas De Bolle, James Huntley, Amadou Diallo.