Football: Newcastle teach Australians a lesson

By Hayden Meikle -
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Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa of Newcastle United climbs high to win the ball during the international friendly match between Newcastle United and Sydney FC at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Photo / Getty Images
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa of Newcastle United climbs high to win the ball during the international friendly match between Newcastle United and Sydney FC at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Photo / Getty Images

Otago fans would possibly rather have been watching the Highlanders prepare for a Super rugby semifinal, but they were given a brief glimpse of top football tonight.

The Football United tour opened with a bit of a stroll for English Premier League club Newcastle, which beat A-League club Sydney FC 4-0.

About 10,000 fans were on hand at Forsyth Barr Stadium to watch Newcastle - in grey, not its famous black and white strip - teach the Australians a lesson.

The extra pace, the silkier touch and the calmer defending were all on show as the English club did its part to create some buzz around the tour.

This was always going to be more about the occasion than the action on the pitch, but Newcastle started a strong XI and produced some wonderful attacking play.

There was a feeling that it all rather fizzled out, as both sides made multiple changes in the second half and Newcastle sat on an imposing lead.

But the goals - and the goodwill - were in the bank well before halftime.

In the space of 14 first-half minutes, Newcastle produced a withering attacking period that shattered Sydney's confidence and put the result well beyond doubt.

The opening goal came on 19 minutes following a goalkeeping howler from Sydney stopper Ivan Necevski.

On the edge of the box, Necevski fluffed a clearance that fell straight at the feet of striker Emmanuel Riviere.

The Frenchman, on debut, calmly fed Siem de Jong, whose strike was clean and straight.
Yoan Gouffran was leading the siege on Sydney's line and he provided the assist for the second goal just seven minutes later.

Finding space on the right, Gouffran slid the ball along the deck to Riviere for his first goal in Newcastle colours.

The Australians still appeared to be running on Sydney time and couldn't cope with Newcastle's pace on the flanks.

Fullback Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa came forward to join the fun, and he made it 3-0 with a powerful blast that was deflected into the goal from Sydney captain Sasa Ognenovski.

Opportunities were scarce in the second half until youngster Adam Armstrong made it 4-0 in the 83rd minute.

Before the game, wreaths were placed on the seats that were to have been occupied by Newcastle fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney, killed in the Malaysia Airlines crash.

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