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Matt Smith scored only two goals in 21 appearances for Fulham last season

Championship title favourites Newcastle United were beaten 1-0 by Fulham in the opening match of the 2016-17 season.

Matt Smith headed in Tom Cairney’s corner just before half-time to condemn the Magpies, relegated from the Premier League last season, to defeat.

The visitors had strong claims for a penalty before Smith’s goal but Ryan Tunnicliffe’s handball went unpunished.

Fulham goalkeeper David Button saved twice from Matt Ritchie, one of five Newcastle debutants at Craven Cottage.

Manager Rafael Benitez has spent close to £45m on eight summer signings but winger Ritchie and £10m striker Dwight Gayle were largely stifled by a Fulham side which finished 20th in the Championship last term.

England international Jonjo Shelvey was among the substitutes thrown on by Benitez in an attempt to get something from the game, but the hosts held firm.

Fulham offered a threat going forward, despite the departures of prolific strike partners Ross McCormack and Moussa Dembele during the summer, with new arrivals Sone Aluko and Floyd Ayite linking up well with Smith in attack.

Aluko’s appeals for a penalty after a possible push by Grant Hanley were ignored by referee Simon Hooper, while left-back Scott Malone fired just off target as Fulham chased a second goal.

Fulham head coach Slavisa Jokanovic told BBC Radio London: “My players were very organised, we stuck to the plan, we suffered together during the game and we deserve the good result.

“My job is here, and there are many big names like Newcastle, we’re a big name too. It’s an important competition with many clubs of big histories and both fans were really good tonight.

“This is only the start but we have to be ready for what comes next.”

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez told BBC Newcastle: “At the beginning we were nervous, in the second half we made the wrong decisions.

“It’s a wake-up call. We will have games more difficult than this one.

“If we play for something more important than the first game of the season maybe the anxiety will be even higher, we need to make sure we can manage that and play better.”

Ex-Newcastle and England midfielder Jermaine Jenas told BBC Radio 5 live: “Fulham thoroughly deserved it.

“They marshalled the game as they wanted it to go, they picked their opportunities to attack and Matt Smith was the match-winner.

“For Newcastle, it’s back to the drawing board. It just didn’t go their way.”

Live Text

Match ends, Fulham 1, Newcastle United 0.

Second Half ends, Fulham 1, Newcastle United 0.

Daryl Janmaat (Newcastle United) is shown the yellow card.

Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Lasse Vigen Christensen (Fulham).

Foul by Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United).

Tom Cairney (Fulham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United).

Tom Cairney (Fulham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt blocked. Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Dwight Gayle.

Attempt missed. Lasse Vigen Christensen (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Denis Odoi.

Offside, Newcastle United. Jamaal Lascelles tries a through ball, but Rolando Aarons is caught offside.

Substitution, Fulham. Tim Ream replaces Scott Malone.

Rolando Aarons (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Denis Odoi (Fulham).

Attempt missed. Adam Armstrong (Newcastle United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Substitution, Newcastle United. Jonjo Shelvey replaces Isaac Hayden.

Foul by Adam Armstrong (Newcastle United).

Scott Malone (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Floyd Ayité (Fulham) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Tom Cairney.

Paul Dummett (Newcastle United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Paul Dummett (Newcastle United).

Denis Odoi (Fulham) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution, Newcastle United. Adam Armstrong replaces Ayoze Pérez.

Attempt missed. Scott Malone (Fulham) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Floyd Ayité.

Substitution, Fulham. Scott Parker replaces Ryan Tunnicliffe.

Substitution, Fulham. Lasse Vigen Christensen replaces Matt Smith.

Grant Hanley (Newcastle United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Dangerous play by Grant Hanley (Newcastle United).

David Button (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Dwight Gayle (Newcastle United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Denis Odoi (Fulham).

Attempt missed. Rolando Aarons (Newcastle United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Ayoze Pérez (Newcastle United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Tomas Kalas (Fulham).

Attempt saved. Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Vurnon Anita.

Substitution, Newcastle United. Rolando Aarons replaces Jack Colback.

Attempt missed. Ayoze Pérez (Newcastle United) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Matt Ritchie with a cross.

Foul by Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United).

Denis Odoi (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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Aug 052016
 
James Milner scored his only international goal against Moldova in 2014

England and Liverpool midfielder James Milner has retired from international football.

The former Manchester City man, 30, won 61 caps for England after making his senior debut in 2009.

He was a squad member at two World Cups and two European Championships but played just three minutes at Euro 2016.

“The decision we’ve reached is about common sense. I wish Sam [Allardyce], the players, staff and supporters success in the future,” Milner said.

Milner also holds the record for the most capped England Under-21 player, picking up 46 caps after making his first appearance in 2004.

He scored his first, and only, international goal in England’s 5-0 victory over Moldova at the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.

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Manchester City finished fourth in the Premier League last season

Manchester City will face Romanian side Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League play-off round.

Scottish champions Celtic will meet Israeli side Hapoel Beer Sheva while Irish champions Dundalk have been drawn against Poland’s Legia Warsaw.

Celtic beat Kazakh side FC Astana in the third qualifying round, while Dundalk were 3-1 aggregate victors over Belarusian side Bate Borisov.

The two-legged play-off ties will be held on the 16/17 and 23/24 August.

New City boss Pep Guardiola has won the Champions League twice as a manager – with Barcelona in 2009 and 2011.

The Spaniard has lost in the semi-finals of the competition in each of the past four seasons, once with Barca and three times with Bayern Munich.

City are looking to compete in the group stages of the competition for the sixth successive season.

Steaua, who won the European Cup in 1986 and were runners-up in 1989, finished second to Astra Giurgiu in the Romanian top flight.

City sporting director Txiki Begiristain said: “It’s going to be a difficult tie because Steaua are on the up again in Europe and have a lot of talent.”

Elsewhere, 2004 winners Porto face a tough tie against Italian side Roma, and 1995 winners Ajax will play Russian side Rostov.

The winners of the ties will progress to the Champions League group stage while the losers will drop into the Europa League.

Full draw

Ludogorets Razgrad (Bulgaria) v FC Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic)

Celtic (Scotland) v Hapoel Beer-Sheva (Israel)

FC Copenhagen (Denmark) v Apoel Nicosia (Cyprus)

Dundalk (Republic of Ireland) v Legia Warsaw (Poland)

Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) v FC Salzburg (Austria)

Steaua Bucharest (Romania) v Manchester City (England)

FC Porto (Portugal) v Roma (Italy)

Ajax (Netherlands) v Rostov (Russia)

Young Boys (Switzerland) v Borussia Monchengladbach (Germany)

Villarreal (Spain) v Monaco (France)

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Muhamed Besic has never scored a competitive goal for Everton

Everton midfielder Muhamed Besic has been ruled out for six months with a knee injury.

The 23-year-old Bosnia international, who joined the Toffees in July 2014, was injured while playing against Manchester United in Wayne Rooney’s testimonial on Wednesday.

The former Ferencvaros player made 17 appearances for the Goodison Park side last season.

He tweeted: