CALAMITOUS Newcastle defending gifted Manchester City an early opener at St James’ Park.
Toon centre-back Ciaran Clark ducked under a knock-back from flying City right-back Joao Cancelo.
The 32-year-old clearly expected keeper Martin Dubravka to pounce on the floated ball across the face of goal.
But a communication breakdown at the back allowed City skipper Ruben Dias to nod home from close range – after just four minutes.
Magpies fans reacted with despair at the defending on show as Eddie Howe’s men welcomed the Premier League leaders.
Supporter Ryan Moseley wrote on Twitter: “Just seen the goal f****** hell Clark man. Need defenders in Jan.”
User turtel_swag replied: “Obviously more to it than that. Someone definitely shouted to leave it, probably the keeper.”
Fan Danny wrote: “Eddie Howe is well out his depth here !! Careful what u wish for football fans, Steve Bruce was not perfect, but he was one of your own and if you had shown him some love he would of saved you this season !!”
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Newcastle are desperately struggling to escape the relegation zone and the last thing needed was the arrival of Pep Guardiola’s high-flying Citizens.
The reigning champions are a point clear of second-place Liverpool, who play Tottenham in Sunday’s late kick-off.
They added a second soon after Dias’ opener on Tyneside when Cancelo went from provider to scorer on 28 minutes.
The Portugal star skipped past one defender before smashing a rocket of a shot past the helpless Dubravka to score on his 100th City appearance.
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