Football: Benitez's Magpies Given Rude Awakening By Fulham

Football: Benitez's Magpies given rude awakening by Fulham

LONDON, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 6th Augst,2016) - Matt Smith's header made a mockery of Newcastle United's status as favourites to go straight back up to the Premier League as Fulham ran out 1-0 winners in their Championship season opener on Friday. Rafael Benitez's side could point to not being given what looked like a penalty for handball against Ryan Tunnicliffe in the first half but his team, which has seen #45 million ($58.9m, 53m Euros) of new talent brought in, rarely looked like taking the three points. Indeed it was the hosts, who finished 20th in the Championship last term and lost leading strikers Ross McCormack and Moussa Dembele in the close season, who played the most fluent football.

"Absolutely great to score my landmark goal with a header like that," said Smith. "We didn't really pay much attenton to the hype surrounding Newcastle and that they had to just turn up to win. "We simply believed in ourselves," added the 27-year-old. Newcastle's young captain, 22-year-old Jamaal Lascelles, accepted that the fire of the match and its competitive nature had taken them by surprise. "This is definitely a wake-up call as to how hard it is going to be to return to the Premier League," he said.