Over 23,000 fans have watched Newcastle Jets take down David Beckham's LA Galaxy 2-1 at EnergyAustralia Stadium. The A-League club began slowly when USA star Landon Donovan scored an easy goal in the 7th minute but they fought back thanks to goals from Sasho Petrovski and Labinot Haliti to take out the Qantas Challenge cup.
The man they all came to see, David Beckham, was ok without providing his usual class and skill but he did remain on the pitch for a full 90 minutes, giving the fans their money's worth in what was a successful event for the city of Newcastle.
Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle Crowd: 23,317 Referee: Matthew Breeze
There were a couple of strong challenges early in the piece, particularly Kasey Wehrman's challenge on Juninho right in David Beckham territory but the man they all came to see sent his free-kick wide of the mark.
GOAL It didn't take long for the first goal when Galaxy's Sean Franklin made a run down the right before crossing deep into the area, the ball evading Jets keeper Matthew Nash, where Landon Donovan was on hand to knock it in unmarked right on the goal line in the 7th minute.
Minutes later the Galaxy should have had a second when Juninho let rip from outside the area but unfortunately it struck the crossbar and jutted out to safety from a Jets point of view.
The Jets had their best early chance when Adam D'Apuzzo sent an enticing cross in from the left where Sasho Petrovski made good position to get a strong header to the ball but Galaxy keeper Donovan Ricketts came up with a superb reaction save.
The Jets looked likely to score and came close on the half-hour mark when Ruben Zadkovich made a strong run from midfield but dragged his shot across the face of goal before Petrovski had another header which was sent just wide of the mark.
Ali Abbas then had a golden opportunity to equalize but stayed true to the Jets' form by placing his shot away from the target. GOAL Finally the home side were on the board when the Iraqi whipped it in from the left and Petrovski snuck in around his defender to net with a neat side-footed volley to restore parity.
Newcastle continued to attack but were unable to score again despite the efforts of Petrovski again and Nikolai Topor-Stanley late on and the Galaxy were inches away in injury-time when Beckham powered goalward from inside the area, essentially ending the opening 45 minutes of the game.
Tarek Elrich forced a top-class save from Galaxy's substitute keeper Josh Saunders in the second half's first piece of play of any real consequence after both coaches made a heap of changes during the break.
GOAL Seven minutes into the second term, the Jets hit the front when one of those substitutes, Labinot Haliti, found space on the edge of the area from a long ball before slamming home much to the delight of the Jets faithful.
Haliti was in the mood and let rip on the hour-mark and although his shot went wide, it did force Saunders into a full-stretch dive.
The EnergyAustralia Stadium crowd started up the Mexican wave with about 20 minutes left to spark some atmosphere into proceedings as the match started to fizzle out but neither side could really lift the intensity as the match finished 2-1 to the Jets.
NJ Matthew Nash (gk), Taylor Regan, Adam D'Apuzzo (Mooy 56'), Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Kasey Wehrman (Pepper 81'), Ruben Zadkovich (Fiorentini 46'), Tarek Elrich, Jobe Wheelhouse (Virgili 75'), Sasho Petrovski (Zhang 56'), Marko Jesic (Haliti 46'), Ali Abbas (Patafta 46')
Subs - Kaz Patafta (46'), Labinot Haliti (46'), Marcello Fiorentini (46'), Zhang Shuo (56'), Brodie Mooy (56'), James Virgili (75'), Jacob Pepper (81'), Sam Gallaway, Mario Simic, Scott Pettit, Fabian Iacovelli, Jack Duncan
LADonovan Ricketts (gk) (Saunders 46'), Todd Dunivant (Lewis 46'), Omar Gonzalez (Berhalter 46'), Landon Donovan (Jordan 46'), Chris Birchall (Kovalenko 68'), Edson Buddle (Jordan 46'), Juninho (Magee 73'), AJ DeLaGarza, David Beckham, Michael Stephens (Cazumba 57'), Sean Franklin (Klein 63')
Subs - Josh Saunders (gk) (46'), Eddie Lewis (46'), Jovan Kirovski (46'), Bryan Jordan (46'), Gregg Berhalter (46'), Alex Cazumba (57'), Chris Klein (63'), Dema Kovalenko (68'), Mike Magee (73'), Leonardo