Brezina own goal 1-0
Half time: Newcastle 1 Sparta 0
61 mins Drchal penalty 1-1
75 mins Barlaser shot 2-1
Full time: Newcastle 2 Sparta 1
Newcastle's first home
victory of the season got their Premier League
International Cup campaign off to a perfect start at Whitley Park - ending a winless run in all competitions at the eighth attempt.
A goal worthy of winning any game came via the boot of Dan Barlaser - a
timely strike coming just days after the midfielder signed a new two year
deal with the club.
There was a touch of fortune about Newcastle's 19th minute opener, Victor Fernandez
crossing from the left flank for David Brezina to head past his own 'keeper.
Luke Charman looked to have doubled the lead on 29 minute but the striker's headed effort was
Visiting custodian Vojtech Vorel blocked a Fernandez effort nine minutes
before the break but the second goal that United's possession warranted
Freddie Woodman did well to deny Richard Sedlacek soon after the restart but
was beaten after 61 minutes from the penalty spot, Vaclav Drchal sending him
the wrong way after a tug on Simacek was punished.
The winner arrived with 15 minutes remaining, Barlaser seizing on
a loose ball outside the box, advancing and cracking home an unstoppable
Three minutes of added time were signalled as Sparta broke away through
Drchal, who was unable to force his shot past Woodman - United fortunate
that the visiting player didn't go to ground after defender Josef Varney
grabbed his shirt.
This competition was established in 2014 and initially involved 16 teams from
six different European leagues including domestic Elite Academies - with all
matches staged in the UK rather than on the continent.
Now a 24 team, eight league competition, United are one of a dozen English and
Welsh sides participating plus representatives from Portugal, Spain, Germany,
Scotland, Croatia, Poland and the Czech Republic.
Alongside United and Sparta in Group A are Liverpool and PSV Eindhoven. Our
Wed 15.11.2017 Liverpool (a) Prenton Park, 7pm
Tue 12.12.2017 PSV (h) Whitley Park 7pm
Teams are made up of U23 players, plus a maximum of three over-age outfield
players plus a goalkeeper.
A: Sparta Praha, Liverpool, Newcastle United, PSV
B: Hertha Berlin, Legia Warsaw, Leicester, mackems
C: Derby, Dinamo Zagreb, Everton, Wolfsburg
D: Athletic Bilbao, Celtic, Manchester United, Swansea
E: Arsenal, Bayern Munich, FC Porto, Reading
F: Benfica, Spurs, Villarreal, West Ham
Six group winners and two best runners-up move on to the quarter-finals before
the competition becomes a knockout affair. Porto are the reigning champions,
beating the mackems 5-0 in last season's final.