Newcastle 1 Braga 1
Written by Newcastle Utd
Newcastle United FC
Fabricio Coloccini's second half header earned Newcastle United a 1-1 draw against SC Braga in their final pre-season friendly
By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
At St. James' Park
Newcastle United 1 (Coloccini 60)
Braga 1 (Alan 45 pen)
Fabricio Coloccini's second half header earned Newcastle United a 1-1 draw against SC Braga in their final pre-season friendly of the summer.
The Magpies trailed to Alan's penalty right on the stroke of half-time, after Mathieu Debuchy was adjudged to have fouled Felipe Pardo.
But captain Coloccini pulled the hosts level on the hour mark when he netted a rarity for United - a goal from a corner.
And it was no more than they deserved for dominating large spells of the warm-up fixture at St. James' Park.
United were almost in front inside the opening 70 seconds.
Hatem Ben Arfa teased his way down the left before drilling a low centre through the penalty area, and Coloccini - still forward from a half-cleared corner - struck a first-time, left-footed shot inches wide of the upright.
The visitors took 14 minutes for their first attempt but, midfielder Luiz Carlos could only fire a rising drive high into the Gallowgate End,
Newcastle were soon back on the front foot, however, and Cisse wriggled clear of a challenge 12 yards out before forcing goalkeeper Eduardo into a diving save to keep out his curled effort.
Braga stunned St. James' Park right on the stroke of half-time when they took the lead from the penalty spot. Pardo ran at Debuchy and knocked the ball past him before going down under the full-back's challenge.
Referee Lee Mason had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and captain Alan calmly slotted home with virtually the final kick of the half.
United boss Alan Pardew made three changes at the break, introducing Tim Krul, Paul Dummett and Yohan Cabaye for Rob Elliot, Davide Santon and Cheick Tiote, while Sammy Ameobi also soon followed them on in place of Gutierrez.
It sparked the home side into life, with Shola Ameobi's near-post shot deflected behind after good work from Sissoko, before they finally equalised on the hour mark courtesy of captain Coloccini.
Amazingly, it was a goal from a corner and it had been a long time coming - the last being Demba Ba's effort away at Wolves in 2011.
Coloccini ensured that statistic was firmly put to bed, losing his marker to connect with Ben Arfa's corner and thump home a free header.
Braga substitute Salvador Agra was inches away from edging the visitors back in front as his 25-yard free-kick curled just wide, while at the other end Sissoko suffered a similar fate with a low shot of his own.
With five minutes remaining, Newcastle thought they had won it as substitutue Gouffran prodded home from close range.
Again, it came from a corner, this time Ben Arfa's set piece floated to the edge of the area where Cabaye met it on the volley and Gouffran diverted home, but a linesman's flag cut short the Frenchman's joy.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Rob Elliot (Tim Krul 46); Mathieu Debuchy (Steven Taylor 76), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon (Paul Dummett 46); Hatem Ben Arfa (Gabriel Obertan 87), Cheick Tiote (Yohan Cabaye 46), Moussa Sissoko (Vurnon Anita 76), Jonas Gutierrez (Sammy Ameobi 52); Shola Ameobi (Yoan Gouffran 64), Papiss Cisse (Sylvain Marveaux 76)
Sub not used: Dan Gosling
Braga (4-4-2): Eduardo (Cristiano 46); Baiano (Joao Pedro 82), Paulo Vinicius (Custodio 46), Aderlan Santos, Joaozinho (Florent Hanin 87); Alan (c) (Nuno Andre Coelho 46), Luiz Carlos (Salvador Agra 46), Mauro (Helder Barbosa 78) , Ruben Micael (Luis Silva 67); Edinho (Yazalde 46), Felipe Pardo (Rafa 46)
Sub not used: Pedro Santos
Referee: Lee Mason