Making his Premier League debut for Newcastle United, Sandro Tonali swiftly left his mark by scoring a goal just five minutes into the match.
During the preceding July, Newcastle made a substantial investment of approximately £55 million to secure Tonali’s services, successfully bringing him to St. James’ Park from AC Milan.
In their inaugural Premier League fixture of the season, Newcastle faced off against Aston Villa. Manager Eddie Howe opted to position Tonali in the central midfield for this encounter, a decision that quickly bore fruit as Tonali found the back of the net within the opening minutes of the game.
The Italian took just five minutes to score his first Premier League goal after he arrived at the right time to head home a cross from Anthony Gordon.
Since Tonali’s arrival, there have been rumours that the Italian looked like he wasn’t enjoying himself as a Newcastle player, something the manager strongly denied.
Howe said: “I’ve got no desire to drag anyone to Newcastle, they have to want to run here with no shoes on – that’s the mentality we want because you have to have that togetherness and desire to do well.
“He’ll show if he’s enjoying himself with his body language and how he plays. It certainly looks like he’s enjoying himself, certainly with the players around him in the first half,” he said. “I’d be surprised if he didn’t enjoy playing that style of football with the players he was with because it was a really attractive style of football.”
SANDRO TONALI ON HIS DEBUT!!!
DREAM START 💫 pic.twitter.com/bWtq4jVBNG
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 12, 2023
Despite Sandro Tonali’s early goal for Newcastle, their lead was short-lived as Aston Villa swiftly managed to find an equalizer five minutes later.
In another instance of a debutant making an impact, Moussa Diaby capitalized on an unmarked position within the Newcastle penalty area, volleying the ball into the net to bring Villa level.
However, the home side managed to regain their advantage through Alexander Isak, who concluded the play after receiving the ball from Sven Botman and putting it past the Villa goalkeeper.
Although Isak’s goal prompted a delayed celebration due to an extended VAR review for potential offside, Botman’s positioning was ultimately deemed onside, resulting in the goal being awarded to Newcastle.