Newcastle United 3 Aston Villa 3
- Lukasz Szpala
Newcastle United played out a six-goal thriller with Aston Villa in their opening Premier League Summer Series fixture in Philadelphia.
Ollie Watkins and Emi Buendia had given Unai Emery's side a two-goal lead in the States, but Elliot Anderson and Alexander Isak struck to bring the Magpies level before the break.
Buendia's close-range finish gave Villa the lead once more after the restart but Callum Wilson's leveller earned Eddie Howe's men a share of the spoils in what was an entertaining encounter as United maintained their unbeaten start to pre-season.
In a breathless first half at the Lincoln Financial Field, Villa started quickly. Although Isak had had an early shot blocked after Matt Targett picked him out, United's opponents moved ahead seven minutes in. It owed much to an excellent run from Buendia, whose burst through the middle and neat pass to Watkins allowed the England forward to slide home the opener.
Four minutes later it was two. It was another swift break from Emery's men, with John McGinn kicking it off before the ball was worked out to Buendia on the left. He struck it low and left-footed, beating Martin Dúbravka at his near post.
The lively Jaden Philogene nearly made it three soon after, seeing a shot deflected past the upright, but Newcastle began to grow into the contest and just before the half hour they pulled one back. It was a straightforward move involving a lofted pass over the top from Jacob Murphy, which found Anderson in space. The youngster had beaten the offside trap and then beat Ezri Konsa with a terrific turn inside which left the Villa defender sliding beyond him before dispatching into the bottom right-hand corner.
Aftre Dúbravka had kept out a Philogene drive, United drew level in stoppage time at the end of the first half. Anderson was unlucky not to grab his second after a fine run which saw him twist and turn past the Villa backline before seeing his shot saved by Emi Martinez, but Isak was waiting to smash home the rebound when it fell his well after an attempted clearance.
But barely two minutes after the restart, the Magpies conceded again. Another slick move from Emery's charges resulted in Philogene teeing up Omari Kellyman, whose effort was brilliantly tipped onto the post by Dúbravka. There was little he could do about the follow-up, however, as Buendia arrived to sweep home his second and Villa's third goal of the night.
Their lead didn't last long though. Jamaal Lascelles' excellent long ball picked out Anthony Gordon, whose first time shot was palmed away by Robin Olsen. Wilson was well-placed to latch on to the rebound, rolling home into an unguarded goal to make it 3-3.
Chances continued to come and go. United saw penalty appeals from Wilson and Gordon turned down, while at the other end, Buendia passed up an opportunity for a hat-trick by pulling a shot wide and teenager Kellyman just couldn't quite apply the finishing touch after some confident footwork had given him space in the box.
There was still time for a debut for Harvey Barnes, who replaced Targett just hours after completing his move from Leicester City, and he went closest to finding a winner with a curling strike that Olsen did well to hold in the closing minutes of an absorbing match.
Newcastle United: Martin Dúbravka; Kieran Trippier, Fabian Schär (Jamaal Lascelles 46), Paul Dummett (Sven Botman 46), Matt Targett (Harvey Barnes 70); Bruno Guimarães (Matt Ritchie 46), Sandro Tonali (Joelinton 46), Elliot Anderson (Dan Burn 46); Miguel Almirón (Anthony Gordon 46), Alexander Isak (Callum Wilson 46), Jacob Murphy (Lewis Miley 46).