Newcastle United suffered a sobering end to their mini-tour of Portugal when they were beaten 4-0 at Braga’s Estadio Municipal.
There was some honour to be taken in the way they clung on for a 0-0 draw at Porto. They are, after all, going to be playing in next season’s Champions League. They did, though, have to ride their luck.
In match two at the quirky home of Braga, fourth in last term’s Primeira Liga, there was no papering over the cracks.
Newcastle were outplayed in all departments and again Martin Dubravka made a couple of good first-half saves, but even he was able to keep the Portuguese side at bay.
When the final whistle came it was a blessing for the visiting players.
The players looked tired and ready for home
It was incredibly hard work on a hot night in Braga, and the key to success was always going to be keeping the ball and making the other side do the running.
Unfortunately for Newcastle, it was the hosts who were able to do that.
When he put a backpass out of play after half an hour, Jamaal Lascelles looked shattered, as Matt Ritchie did when he was beaten to the byline for the cross which allowed Joao Novais to score the third.
Pre-season results always have to be kept in perspective, and the Magpies were after all up against Europa League opposition but it was alarming to see them so comprehensively outplayed when three of their first five opponents are bound for next season’s Champions League.
Rafa Benitez told the post-match Press conference he was “worried” about where his team and his squad are at the moment.
Newcastle have work to do on the training ground and in the transfer market.