Newcastle played 135 minutes in Spain against Antwerp on Sunday in a game that was supposed to be friendly, but ended up fiery.

Both sides gave it their all and both sides put in some very robust challenges, as the managers watched on through their fingers from the sidelines.

Matt Ritchie gave Newcastle the lead in the first third but they couldn’t hold on for a win, with both Dwight Gayle and Joselu blanking.

After the game Benitez said, as quoted by the Chronicle, “I think it was fine, the idea was to get minutes under their belts and create some chances.

“It was positive for us, they didn’t create too much and we got no injuries. Some of them needed to play 90 minutes.”

Football Insider verdict:

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After a game that didn’t pull any punches we think the main positive is that there were no casualties and it’s fitting that Benitez mentioned that in his post-match comments. An injury would have been hugely counter-productive and undone any of the positives. As it is, Benitez got to rule the roost on a load of fringe players and the other players got to work on match fitness after a blank weekend because of FA Cup ties. Benitez would have wanted to see Joselu and/or Gayle get on the scoresheet and that’s got to be the biggest disappointment on the day.

In other Newcastle news, Newcastle blow as Benitez confirms reported £80k-a-week star has been sidelined

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