Newcastle and Olympiakos managed to draw last night, even after a penalty shootout, thanks to some bizarre rules in the XII Trofeo Guadiana tournament in Portugal.
With the score deadlocked, perhaps deservedly, at 1-1 at the full time whistle a penalty shootout was ordered to decide the winner although both sides scored four and missed one of their spot kicks with the penalty shootout called to a halt after five spot kicks each.
It was the final straw of what was a bizarre night all round. From Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba being rested and pulled from the substitutes bench in the moments prior to kick-off, to the tough tackling from the Greeks and some bizarre decisions from the referee, to a penalty shootout that doesn’t have a winner. Ultimately it’s one great big advertisement for why pre-season games can’t be taken too seriously.
Newcastle started off brightly and could have taken the lead inside ten minutes although Roy Carroll managed to dive to his left and tip Shola Ameobi’s goalbound header wide. That was about it as good as it got for Alan Pardew’s men though who then struggled to mount any meaningful attacks until they took the lead half way through the first half. Steven Taylor was in the right place at the right time to sweep home after the ball bounced off Gabriel Obertan and found the back of the net in his first start for seven months.
Chances were hard to come by for both sides with Olympiakos only really testing Tim Krul from long range although one shot in particular seemed to cause the Dutchman some problems as he cleared it with his legs.
Perhaps the most notable part of proceedings was the tackling of the Greeks. The word “friendly” may have been applied but their approach to challenges was anything but friendly and Newcastle players were on the end of some “robust” challenges on more than a few occasions. Amazingly Olympiakos even had a player sent off when Francois Modesto received his second yellow card of the night following a late challenge on Romain Amalfitano on 73 minutes.
That was to spark Olympiakos into life and they equalised six minutes later as Kostas Mitroglu stroked the ball home from the edge of the box. Newcastle could have regained the lead through Papiss Cisse who connected with Romain Amalfitano’s cross only to see Carroll scramble the ball back into the path of Cisse who then hit the post with Romain Amalfitano’s follow up finding the side netting.
So penalties it was and Papiss Cisse stepped up first casually stroking the ball way over the bar. Olympiakos responded by scoring their first four penalties before Tim Krul saved their fifth to deny the Greeks victory before Mehdi Abeid restored parity with the final penalty of the match.
Final score: Newcastle 1-1 Olympiakos (4-4 after penalties)
Of course we play again this evening, and if we beat SC Braga it will mean we will win a piece of meaningless pre-season silverware. It’ll do though…
We do need to start getting a bit more fluidity in our play though. We have three pre-season games remaining so the time for testing is coming to an end and we need to now start working towards our first league game of the season against Tottenham in three weeks time.
Howay the lads!
Newcastle United: Tim Krul, James Perch, Steven Taylor, Mike Williamson, Davide Santon, Gabriel Obertan, Gael Bigirimana, Dan Gosling, Romain Amalfitano, Haris Vuckic, Shola Ameobi
Subs not used: Steve Harper, Fabricio Coloccini, Paul Dummett, Danny Simpson, James Tavernier, Ryan Taylor, Jonas Gutierrez, Mehdi Abeid, Cheick Tiote, Sammy Ameobi, Sylvain Marveaux, Papiss Cisse
Olympiakos: Roy Carroll, Tasos Papazoglou, Fejsa, Djebbour Rafik, Giannis Fetzatzidis, Siovas Dimitris, Dielna Claude, Vlahodimos, Marinaldo da Silva, Diogo Luis Santo, Torosidis Vasileios
Substitutes: Balazs Attila Megyeri, Maniatis, Francois Modesto, Marko Pantelic, Kostas Mitroglou, Jose Holebas, Andreas Tatos, Manolas Konstantinos, Likoeannis Ch, Karagounis Vasileios, Giannis Potouridis, Djamel Abdoun