Deportivo La Coruna 0 Newcastle United 0
Newcastle win 5-4 on penalties
THE 65-year-old Trofeo Teresa Herrera is so hefty neither side fancied the onerous labour of lifting it.
So daunted by the task that required two stewards to move the coveted pre-season prize on and off the Riazor turf before kick-off and at half-time, Newcastle and Deportivo conspired to fluff a host of chances to avoid the job – before the Magpies eventually triumphed 5-4 on penalties.
Leon Best, Andy Carroll, Michel and Riki all wasted glorious opportunities to break the deadlock – and with mere minutes remaining Joey Barton topped the lot by scuffing a penalty and then shanking the rebound over the bar.
Such is the importance of this local tournament that a draw leads to penalties, and so the night’s fare proved – and, second time lucky, Barton made amends for his earlier miss by striking the winning spot kick in the shoot-out.
Graffiti is as good as any mood marker, and the Deportivo brand underlines the city’s muscular and threatening air.
‘Insult us at your own peril’ is hardly a veiled threat, but that lucid caveat adorns the ageing Riazor Stadium walls. Galicia’s capital, La Coruna, shares many parallels with Tyneside. The bustling industrial port bisects the Bay of Biscay and the North Atlantic Ocean, standing proudly on Spain’s northern promontory.
The lengthy Riazor beach frames a gritty centre where easy-going locals talk only one thing – football.
Don’t mess with Depor is a decent dictum, and will certainly resonate with United fans. There might be no stars of Diego Tristan-ilk these days, but a decorated team like this needs no pin-ups to survive. Industry underpins the culture of the town, and so it goes with the football team, that won La Liga as recently as 10 years ago.
Deportivo might not have lifted any serious silverware of late, but until last term they had scooped their own pre-season trophy nine times on the trot.
The Trofeo Teresa Herrera might seem small fry in comparison to the Premier League, but the tournament dates back to 1946 and the list of winners reads like a who’s who of world football. Sevilla won the inaugural tournament, and nearly all the world’s top sides have claimed the tower-like trophy in the past.
A trophy so sizeable and heavy by the way, that it took two men to heave it to and from the pitch.
Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Monaco, Lazio, Dinamo Kiev, Benfica, PSV and Sao Paolo have their names engraved on the silver slab, and Newcastle took the opportunity to join such exulted company.
United should have turned around with a 2-1 lead, but by the break neither team had broken the deadlock. Carroll and Best ought to have scored for Hughton’s charges, while Michel’s whimpering shot wasted a gilt-edged opportunity. Former Depor favourite Fabricio Coloccini captained a strong Newcastle side, an extra nod to his and Xisco’s Riazor return.