It was Braga 4 Newcastle 0 at the final whistle on Wednesday night.
A bit like the old joke, Newcastle were lucky to get nil.
As on Saturday night in the very lucky draw against Porto, when Newcastle were completely outplayed and didn’t have a shot on goal, Rafa Benitez once again named his best team from what he had available.
The only changes were Gayle, Hayden and Atsu coming into the team for Joselu, Shelvey and Murphy.
Shelvey presumably carrying a knock as he wasn’t named on the bench.
Tonight it was terrible and while Newcastle could and should have got beaten by a hatful on Saturday, their luck ran out tonight.
Ayoze Perez had one effort well saved and put another over the bar in the first half but apart from that, Newcastle threatened very little going forward. The only other effort of note was a second-half free-kick from Ki that was turned away by the home keeper.
The woodwork and Martin Dubravka saved Newcastle against Porto but it wasn’t to be against Braga.
Dubravka was eventually beaten in the 53rd minute and Karl Darlow was the unfortunate one to be on the end of another three goals in the final 13 minutes.
The keeper replacing Dubravka but seeing goals fly past him in the 77th, 85th and 90th minutes, as the men in front of him crumbled.
I don’t take much notice of results in pre-season but to concede four and offer almost zero threat against a very average Braga side, you do have to feel the odd nervous twitch ahead of the season.
Obviously Florian Lejeune is injured, Shelvey wasn’t available, and Kenedy is still on paternity leave after the birth of his daughter, bu surely we shouldn’t fall apart when missing only a couple of players.
Yoshinori Muto should hopefully help when his work permit comes through and he gets up to speed…but surely this kind of result and performance has to show Mike Ashley that you can’t take such a massive gamble when giving your manager so little/nothing in terms of a transfer budget.
Newcastle United beat St Patrick’s Athletic 2-0 in the opening kickabout but that is against a very low quality League of Ireland side.
Then then they moved on to Hull City, Joselu opening the scoring but Ayoze Perez needing to score late for Newcastle to grab a 2-2 draw. Hull totally controlling the second-half.
Then Saturday night saw that very fortunate 0-0 draw at Porto, the Portuguese side somehow failing to score despite completely dominating and hitting the woodwork twice, plus a number of outstanding saves from Martin Dubravka and Karl Darlow. Newcastle not having a shot on target.
Tonight’s humiliation is now followed by Saturday’s home match with Bundesliga club Augsburg.
If a number of new signings are not now allowed by Ashley, you really have to wonder whether Rafa Benitez will just enough is enough.
You can’t do the Premier League on the cheap these days and expect to get away with it season after season.
A small reminder as well, Tottenham are the opponents a week on Saturday and their pre-season results in America have seen them beat Roma 4-1, draw 2-2 with Barcelona, and beat AC Milan 1-0.
Braga 4 Newcastle 0 – Wednesday 1 August 7.30pm
Dubravka (Darlow 73), Yedlin (Manquillo 73), Clark, Lascelles (Schar 45), Dummett, Ritchie (Roberts 80), Hayden (Ki 66), Diame, Atsu (Murphy 66), Perez (Longstaff 80), Gayle (Joselu 73)