Mainz 2-1 Newcastle United
A tough start to Newcastle’s trip to Germany saw the Magpies fail to overcome a slick FSV Mainz side.
Rafa didn’t look happy after the game and was clearly disappointed with how his side both closed down the German side (or rather didn’t) and seemed impotent at the other end. Plenty to work on then but better that he sees these things from his new look team now than in a couple of weeks when the season kicks off.
It would take only 5 minutes for the home side to go ahead in front of a disappointing crowds the Opel Arena. The finish came from U21 International Levin Oztunali as he placed his shot past Darlow in the Newcastle goal after a great threaded pass from Pablo De Blasis.
STARTING XI: Darlow (Woodman, 60), Yedlin (Manquillo, 29), Clark (Mbemba, 45), Lejeune (Merino, 79), Dummett (Gamez, 45), Colback (Shelvey, 60), Diame (Perez, 60), Ritchie (Aarons, 45), de Jong (Hayden, 60), Murphy (Atsu, 60), Mitrovic (Gayle, 60)
Newcastle would offer little in the first half as for long periods they seemed to be chasing shadows and Mainz moved the ball quickly when they had it and closed down just as frantically when they didn’t.
The visitors could have been level but for a great save from the Mainz keeper however as a rare moment of quality from Diame found Siem de Jong, who’s sublime first touch to bring the ball down and snap finish was only matched by the bravery of the onrushing keeper.
And things weren’t much more enjoyable for Rafa’s men after the break as the home side could have increased there lead on a number of occasions.
But with it only looking like a matter of time before Newcastle United were two behind they found an equaliser from the most unlikely of sources. The set up was from Christian Atsu, who looked like one of the few bright spots after his introduction as a sub. His cross would be cleared only as far as Gamez who’s shot would take a huge deflection and find it’s way into the Mainz goal. As lucky a strike as you will ever see!
But with only a few minutes left of the clock the home side would get the winner they undoubtedly deserved. The goal would be harsh on Woodman who’d already made one great save before having to pick the ball out of his net.
This time it was a slick move involving several of the home side before Serdar found space at the edge of the box but rather then go for goal himself his delightfully weighted pass to the flank would find Fischer unmarked to finish brilliantly from a tight angle.
No complaints then for Newcastle but much to take on board from this one.
Onwards and upwards, we hope!