Fiorentina finish second after Nice win
Newcastle United won their second match in a row to lift the inaugural edition of the VisitMalta Sela Cup on Sunday. The hosts were undeniably the stronger of the sides and they managed to win the tournament without conceding any goals. Fiorentina finished second after beating Nice earlier in the day.
In the main match of the day, Jacob Murphy opened proceedings six minutes into the game for Newcastle after a balanced opening. A Joelinton freekick was deviated away from goal by the wall but the ball fell to Murphy who drifted the ball away from his marker and fired straight past Pepe Reina in the Villarreal goal.
Four minutes later, they could have made it two when a Bruno Guimaraes freekick was tapped home by Callum Wilson but the ‘goal’ was annulled for offside.
On 28 minutes Newcastle had another goal called back, this time for a foul on Reina when Paul Dummett trampled on the Villarreal shotstopper when trying to meet a Matt Ritchie freekick.
After the change of ends, Newcastle were once again in control but Villarreal had their first real chance on 53 minutes when Alexander Sorloth sped towards goal with his marker beaten. However when facing goalkeeper Nick Pope, the Norwegian scuffed his chance, sending the ball wide off the mark.
55 minutes in, the Spanish outfit had another chance but Juan Foyth’s header from a corner missed the target.
They were made to pay for their misses as on 61 minutes, new recruit Harvey Barnes scored his first Newcastle goal at St James’ Park when Wilson took a run on the right, laid the ball to Joelinton who pushed the ball behind him to former Leicester midfielder Barnes who fired home.
Joelinton culminated Newcastle’s dominance when he scored the side’s third goal on 75 minutes. The Brazilian sped through the middle and shot through two Villarreal defenders.
The game was all but over on 78 minutes when a troubled Villarreal let in a fourth goal. Wilson went on another run on the flank, put in a low cross for Barnes to meet, and fire in to score his brace.
Two minutes from time, Villarreal had the chance for a consolation goal but Gerard Moreno hit wide.
Earlier, Fiorentina made it interesting when they beat Nice 2-1 in the first match of the day.
Both sides were in desperate need of points as Nice stood on two points after Saturday’s draw to Villarreal, while Fiorentina were the only side without a point after a defeat to Newcastle on Day One.
The two coaches made changes to their starters and 17 minutes in, Luka Jovic -one of those players who played no part in La Viola’s first game – raced inside the area to meet a Christian Kouame throughball to hit past Kasper Schmeichel to open the scoring.
On 26 minutes Fiorentina could have made it two when Jovic deceived his marker and laid the ball to Nanitamo Ikone whose shot was saved by Schmeichel.
33mins into the half, Fiorentina continued to assert their dominance on the game when Ikone fired at goal again, the ball slamming the bar this time. Two minutes later, Kouame put his side further ahead when the ball was placed into the area from a corner kick, and amid confusion in defence the Fiorentina forward tapped the ball home
The second half was largely uneventful but late in the game, Nice found a little consolation when on 85 minutes, Badredine Bouanani cut into the area from the right and fired in a powerful shot past Pietro Terracciano with the side’s best chance of the game.
Darren Eels and Malta Tourism Authority CEO Carlo Micallef presented the trophy to Newcastle captain on the day Jamaal Lascelles after the matches later on Sunday.
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