FABRICIO Coloccini earned Newcastle United a draw against Braga at St James’s Park this evening.
Joe Kinnear, the club’s new director of football, watched the 1-1 stalemate alongside new signing Loic Remy, who is sidelined with a calf problem.
It was the first pre-season game to be watched by Kinnear, who was controversially appointed in late June.
And Kinnear saw captain Coloccini cancel out Braga captain Alan’s first-half penalty with a header from a corner after the break.
Remy was paraded on the pitch before the club’s final friendly, for which Alan Pardew’s team wore a limited edition black and white shirt.
United made a bright start, and Coloccini – who was passed fit to play after shrugging off a groin strain – put a left-wing cross from Hatem Ben Arfa narrowly wide in front of the 16,187 crowd.
And Moussa Sissoko played in Papiss Demba Cisse with a well-weighted through ball in the 19th minute, but goalkeeper Eduardo was equal to the striker’s right-footed effort.
However, United lost their early momentum, and Braga saw more of the ball as the half wore on.
Their breakthrough came from the penalty spot after Mathieu Debuchy tripped Felipe Pardo just inside the Newcastle box. Alan, after a stop-start run-up, rolled to the ball to the right of goalkeeper Rob Elliot.
Pardew sent on Yohan Cabaye, Tim Krul and Paul Dummett for the second half, and they helped energise United.
Shola Ameobi had a shot blocked early in the half after good work from Sissoko and Ben Arfa, whose corner eventually got the team back on level terms.
An unmarked Coloccini met Ben Arfa’s flag kick at the far post in the 60th minute, and the rarity of a Newcastle goal from a corner wasn’t lost on the club’s fans, who had watched their side fail to score from one all last season.
Five minutes later Coloccini was lucky to stay on the pitch after bringing down Yazalde, who had latched on to his scuffed clearance. Salvador Agra went close with the resulting free kick.
The game drifted towards the final whistle after a rash of substitutions from both teams in the latter stages.
United’s Premier League season kicks off against Manchester City on August 19.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Elliot (Krul, 46); Debuchy (S Taylor, 76), Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon (Cabaye, 46); Ben Arfa (Obertan, 88), Tiote (Dummett, 46), Sissoko (Anita, 77), Gutierrez (Sammy Ameobi, 52); Shola Ameobi (Gouffran, 63), Cisse (Marveaux, 77). Subs not used: Gosling.
BRAGA: Eduardo, Joaozinho, Carlos, Micael, Baiano, Vinicius, Alan, Santos, Edinho, Mauro, Pardo.
Goals: Alan 45 (pen), Coloccini 60.
Bookings: Coloccini 65
Referee: Lee Mason (Bolton)