Maritimo v Newcastle – Match Preview
CS Maritimo v Newcastle United 6pm Live On ESPN
A youthful/largely inexperienced Newcastle team will represent us as we enter the group stage of the Europa League in Madeira.
Hopefully the frustrations of recent days and the Demba Ba saga will be put to one side, as United face up to a team that could cause more than a few problems as Newcastle look to progress.
Finishing fifth in the Portuguese league, Maritimo are regarded as the top team in Madeira and indeed thwarted a plan in the mid 90s which was to see them unite with the other two Madeira clubs, Nacional and Uniao, to form a superclub to compete with the likes of Benfica and Sporting Lisbon.
An average attendance last season of 3,827 is indicative of many European leagues where once you get past the top few clubs, you often find the rest are poorly supported.
Their ground is due to be fully redeveloped by next year and currently has a 5,000 capacity for European matches, with affordable travel options limited it was never going to be a problem getting an away ticket for tonight’s match even despite the low capacity.
Maritimo have produced players such as Pepe, Danny and Nuno Valente in recent years and predictably feature a large number of Brazilian players currently in their squad.
As a sporting club, many of Maritimo’s fans also actively support their other teams that play in national competitions, including Futsal and Roller Hockey – I don’t think John Hall ever got around to those two in his short lived sporting club dream/nightmare.
Newcastle travelled with the following squad shorn of most first team players, largely through choice, though Ben Arfa is suspended and Coloccini, Tiote and Krul injured.
Squad – Harper, Elliot, Perch, Santon, Williamson, Steven Taylor, Tavernier, Ferguson, Anita, Bigirimana, Gosling, Marveaux, Obertan, Abeid, Amalfitano, Vuckic, Campbell, Sammy, Shola
You would imagine the opposition will likely play a patient passing game and Newcastle will have to try and match them, options aren’t huge but I would expect Alan Pardew to ensure Newcastle have as strong a central midfield and defence as possible.
Alan Pardew has already indicated that he will make a late call as to whether Rob Elliot will get a rare game and help ensure Harper’s availability for Sunday.
Shola is almost certain to be captain and of course is nailed on to lead the line with seventeen year old Adam Campbell the only other out and out striker who travelled.
I expect to see a team close to the following; Harper/Elliot, Perch, Steven Taylor, Williamson, Santon, Obertan, Anita, Vuckic, Bigirimana, Marveaux, Shola
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