ADO Den Haag 0-0 Newcastle: Krul keeps clean sheet on return to former club as Pardew’s men fail to fire in friendly clash
An offside decision cost Shola Ameobi a second-half goal, but the Premier League side must hope for an improved attacking impetus in coming games
By Andrew Kennedy
Newcastle United were held to a goalless draw against Eredivisie side ADO Den Haag on Saturday afternoon, as Alan Pardew’s side continued their preparations to the kick-off of the Premier League season in two weeks’ time.
Tim Krul, returning to the club he left to join the Magpies at the age of 17, was rarely tested on his native Dutch soil, while the away team also failed to get going in front of goal despite a potent attacking line-up.
Other than a Papiss Cisse header which was cleared off the line, Newcastle looked blunt in attack throughout, although the Toon Army will be left to rue a poor offside decision which cost Shola Ameobi a second-half goal.
Alan Pardew named a strong starting XI, with Senegalese striking duo Cisse and Demba Ba deployed up front, while Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini and Cheikh Tiote were all named in the line-up.
The opening exchanges were devoid of any real attacking impetus, and while the midfield pairing of Haris Vuckic and Tiote helped the Premier League side maintain possession with relative ease, Cisse and Ba were both limited to half-chances.
First Gutierrez’s lofted cross from the byline just evaded the head of Cisse when the slightest of touches was needed to convert, before Davide Santon’s whipped ball similarly proved just too far to reach for the out-stretched leg of Ba.
Unfortunately for Pardew, that proved to be the forward pairing’s biggest contribution of the first 45 minutes, with Cisse instead focusing his attentions on protesting to the referee throughout the remainder of the half.
Newcastle continued to push for an opener, and Gabriel Obertan did well to work his driven volley through a crowd of players from the edge of the box, only to find goalkeeper Gino Coutinho positioned well on the other side.
While the hosts’ contribution had been limited to a series of robust challenges, the Eredivisie side were handed a golden opportunity to take the lead after half an hour, but striker Mike van Duinen was unable to guide his lofted effort goalwards after finding himself in behind the Magpies defence and the score remained goalless going into the break.
After the introduction of three substitutes, Den Haag started the second period the brightest, with Ryan Taylor doing well to block a dangerous looking cross after the Newcastle defence found themselves stretched.
Rydell Poepon found himself unmarked in the box from the resulting corner, only to guide his header comfortably into Krul’s hands from six yards out.
Two pot-shots from distance from Obertan failed to threaten Coutinho, but the goalkeeper was left stranded by Cisse’s headed effort following a Taylor corner – fortunately for the hosts, Tjaronn Chery was on hand to clear off the line.
With 25 minutes remaining, Pardew introduced Dan Gosling, Mike Williamson, Ameobi, James Perch and Gael Bigirimana into the fray, and only a poor offside decision denied the changes making an immediate impact.
Williamson headed back across goal to find Ameobi at the back post to leave the striker with a simple tap-in, but despite being level with the defender, the official was quick to raise his flag and wrongly cancel out the effort.
After nearly 90 minutes of play, Krul was finally forced into a meaningful save by Den Haag substitute Charlton Vicento, but the 24-year-old stood tall to the driven shot to ensure the game ended goalless, with a clash against fellow north-east side Hartlepool up next for Pardew & Co.
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