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Season 2006-07
 AZ Alkmaar (h) UEFA Cup Round of 16, First Leg in association with

Marco's match prediction for this game
was that the opening goal would be
scored between 61 and 70 minutes....


Date: Thursday 8th March 2007, 7.45pm
Live on Channel 5

Venue: St. James' Park

Conditions: Perplexing



Newcastle United


AZ Alkmaar

4 - 2




8mins A neat flick by Duff down the United left released Dyer into space and his pull back from the byline was turned into the Leazes End net past his own 'keeper by the Icelander Steinsson, with Martins in close attendance but not near enough to get a touch and claim the goal 1-0

22mins A fabulous Sibierski flick from Butt's through ball played Dyer in and he maintained his improved form in one on one's as he burst into the box from the right side and lifted it beyond the advancing Waterman 2-0

23mins Within a minute, Parker's block tackle stopped an AZ advance and allowed Sibierski to threaten down the left channel, playing it forward to Martins, produced a fabulous run to take two defenders out of the game before converting with a low strike from the edge of the box. 3-0

31mins Julian Jenner centred from the right for ex-Rangers man Arveladze to headed home off the underside of the crossbar 3-1

37mins The three goal advantage was restored as Martins hit an excellent first-time effort after Solano had pulled the ball back to him from the right flank. 4-1

Half time: Newcastle 4 Alkmaar 1

72mins The referee harshly punished Steven Taylor for a handball in our area. The ball was hit at our man from close range but Taylor had his arm away from his side and didn't complain much about the award. 

Given saved Dembele's weak kick and Parker put in a fabulous tackle to prevent the taker converting the rebound. However, the ball fell to Koevermans who was able to dispatch the ball past Bramble and Given on the line
. 4-2

Full time: Newcastle 4 Alkmaar 2

We Said

Glenn Roeder said:

"We'll go there and do a thoroughly professional job. We certainly know that AZ are going to come and attack us because they have to. The best form of defence is attack and they need to do that next Thursday, but with Oba in the team you'd like to think that, on the counter attack, we will go down the other end and score a goal or two.

"Oba had a terrific game and it's just a shame he didn't complete his hat-trick when he went clean through near the end and hit the goalkeeper. Oba will cause problems for any defender in the game. The Premier League defenders now know what he is about and I'm sure they won't be getting so tight to him in the future.

"They'll be giving themselves a metre start because if they try to play level with him and try to make it a race for the ball they're going to get beat.

"What it means is that instead of going to Holland with a 4-1 lead we will go there with a 4-2 lead. Sometimes we would have got away with that one, sometimes we wouldn't and the referee thought it was a penalty. I don't criticise referees and I like to think it was an honest mistake.

"Other referees might have looked at it as totally accidental because Steven didn't move his arms. The most frustrating thing is that Shay Given saved the penalty and Scott Parker got back to make a terrific tackle, but the ball still skewed for the lad to put it in.

"We came out the blocks very fast and to be three-up so early on was a perfect start. It's nicely poised because, they have two away goals and if they beat us 2-0 they will go through.

"But I think we've shown enough pace to frighten them over there."

Emre reflected on his comeback:

"I'm very happy, because I haven't played for the past two months.

"And I have to thank everybody - the manager Glenn Roeder, our supporters, my team-mates and my family - for their support.

"When I signed for Newcastle I knew how good the supporters were, and they gave me strength when I came on the pitch because I knew they were behind me.

"It's hard coming back after being out for two months with a calf problem, and now I need to keep working hard on my fitness.

"I am just very happy to be back playing."

"I think the result is OK, because we can score over there as well."

They Said

AZ coach Louis van Gaal said: 

"Newcastle have the biggest chance to go through because they are two goals up. We scored two vital away goals. It keeps us alive. We must score two goals and concede nothing next week.

"We frequently lost the ball in midfield and in attack and Newcastle went very quickly from defence to attack. Martens, who was in blistering form, was a constant menace to our defence. We defended poorly at times. 

"They actually did not earn that many chances, but proved to be clinical finishers. Tonight every shot was a goal in the first half!

"We won the second half 1-0. Although we put in a below par display, we created chances. 

"However, we did not meet expectations and were punished for not reaching the level needed to make an impact at the European stage."


This was our 13th game in Europe this season - so far we've had ten wins and three draws.

NUFC European record:

P:119 W:69 D:22 L:28 GF:208 GA:117


P:60 W:44 D:8 L:8 GF:123 GA:47

Home draws:
Southampton drew 0-0 (Fairs Cup)
1999/00 Sofia drew 2-2 (UEFA Cup)
1999/00 Roma drew 0-0 (UEFA Cup)
2001/02 Troyes drew 4-4 (Intertoto Cup)
2003/04 Marseille drew 0-0 (UEFA Cup)
2004/05 Sporting Lisbon drew 1-1 (UEFA Cup)
2006/07 Lillestrom drew 1-1 (Intertoto Cup)
2006/07 Ventspils drew 0-0 (UEFA Cup)

Home losses:
Bastia lost 1-3 (UEFA Cup)
1996/97 Monaco lost 0-1 (UEFA Cup)
1997/98 PSV lost 0-2 (Champs Lge)
2002/03 Feyenoord (h) lost 0-1 (Champs Lge)
2002/03 Inter Milan lost 1-4 (Champs Lge)
2002/03 Barcelona lost 0-2 (Champs Lge)
2003/04 Partizan lost 0-1 (Champs Lge Qual)
2005/06 Deportivo lost 1-2 (Intertoto)

Dutch sides @ SJP (competitive games):

1968/69 Feyenoord won 4-0 (Fairs Cup)
1997/98 PSV lost 0-2 (Champs Lge)
Feyenoord lost 0-1 (Champs Lge)
2003/04 NAC Breda won 5-0 (UEFA Cup)
2003/04 PSV won 2-1 (UEFA Cup)
2004/05 Heerenveen won 2-1 (UEFA Cup)
2006/07 AZ Alkmaar won 4-2 (UEFA Cup)

This was the sixth time that an OG has been officially recorded in our favour in a European tie:

1997/98 Kiev (a) Golovko
2003/04 Basel (h) Smiljanic
2004/05 Heerenveen (h) Breuer
2005/06 Dubnica (a) Novak
2006/07 Waregem (a) Dindeleux
2006/07 AZ Alkmaar (h) Steinsson  

Obafemi Martins has now netted 16 times this season - 10 in the Premiership and the rest in the UEFA Cup.

Those half dozen goals have put him into the club's Euro scoring charts as follows:

Alan Shearer 30
Shola Ameobi 12
Craig Bellamy 11
Wyn Davies 10
Tino Asprilla 9
Pop Robson 9
Nobby Solano 7
Obafemi Martins 6
Kieron Dyer 5

Tommy Gibb 5
Patrick Kluivert 5
Laurent Robert 5
Jimmy Scott 5
Gary Speed 5

However he's been unable so far to register a first hat trick in Newcastle colours, despite getting a pair on four occasions - Levadia (h), Blackburn (a), Watford (h) and AZ (h).

He's also scored in his last three European outings, joining Pop Robson, Wyn Davies and Craig Bellamy in that feat.

Sir Les managed to notch in four consecutive games, while Shearer achieved runs of three, four and five - the latter in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup campaign. 

Though impressive, our 29 minute four-goal blast wasn't as rapid as the second half scoring blitz of Real Mallorca at SJP in March 2004.

On that occasion, Argentinean 'keeper Leo Franco was forced to pick the ball out of the net four times in just 17 minutes

This was the first time that we've netted four goals in a competitive game at SJP since a 4-0 UEFA Cup success against Olympiakos in March 2005.


After half a dozen forgettable European games here this season, it proved to be a lucky seven for those fans who were motivated enough to turn out and indulge in that increasingly outdated activity of actively supporting one's own side.

After the tedium of the Waregem second leg, Wigan snoozeathon and the non-event with the Smoggies, loyalty was repaid as we cut loose and filled our goalscoring boots for once - achieving this with some controlled, flowing football that is rarely glimpsed in domestic games.

Numerous echoes of former times at St.James' Park were evident, from the re-appearance of Van Gaal in the visitor's dugout to a rare onfield sighting of our Turkish misfit. 

One thing that wasn't spotted though was a Mexican wave of the type that famously distracted our players when they raced into a 3-0 lead against Bilbao here in October 1994.

Despite that welcome avoidance of crowd buffoonery, we still contrived to allow our opponents to regain a foothold in the tie. 

The award of the penalty and brave but futile attempts to keep it out couldn't be helped, but our attitude in the second half seemed a little triumphalist, as we quite literally took our eyes off the ball and failed to kill the tie completely.

Having scored four in the first half, history dictates that a second half repeat doesn't often come to pass. But while AZ undoubtedly organised themselves better after an interval pep talk, there remained opportunities for us to really get out of sight of the Dutch.

While we would have certainly settled pre-match for taking a two goal lead to Holland, spending the final moments pressed back as AZ looked to become the first side to net three times in a UEFA Cup tie here wasn't quite what was envisaged when cheering the lads off at half time.

At least though we showed some positivity from the off and committed men into forward positions whilst making a concerted attempt to play the ball through midfield and get to the byline, rather than the rather more familiar option of an aimless aerial assault.

And although the visitors did come back into it in terms of possession (actually coming out on top in that most meaningless of stats), they contributed to their own downfall some dallying on the ball and a reluctance to play anything resembling a physical game - a perfect example of the former being Bramble's legal cleaning out of
Koevermans on the hour, although he should never had have the chance to get near the ball before it was driven past Given.  

Speaking of Shay, the most work he'd had to do before conceding the first goal was removing a cluster of black and white balloons from his area. He'd have surely twisted them expertly into a zebra and presented it to some orphans, but wouldn't want to appear a show off...

As expected Carr walked back into the side tonight while soft targets Milner and N'Zogbia were "rested" - policies that say much about our current managerial direction.

If there was one big downer tonight, it was that a vastly more enjoyable game than most of the usual shambolic slug fests we endure in the Premier League failed to draw a 30,000+ crowd.

Whilst it's sorely tempting to lay into people for dereliction of their toon-supporting duty and look at previous cup crowds here in wonderment (over 41,000 for the visit of Bradford in the League Cup Third Round here seven years ago) then there comes a time when reality intervenes. 

In a week when Niall Quinn has resorted to working the clubs in an effort to shame the missing mackem multitudes into going again and the smoggies congratulate themselves for selling 29,000 tickets to their own fans, we're not alone.

At what point does the lack of a crowd become a factor in a live televised game? 

Aside from our utter ineptness when losing here in the FA Cup to Birmingham, the most startling image evident in the TV pictures of that night were the blocks of empty seats behind the goals -  right from the off, not when people had drifted away in disgust. 

More than one watcher has since written that they never knew what colour our seats were previously - which may just be a throwaway line, but betrays the fact that the football recession has at last reached these parts.

Eyebrows were raised at the claim that night of a half-full ground of 26,000 and on other recent occasions there have been suspicions that our crowd figures included players, pigeons, policemen and passengers on the 62 bus going up Barrack Road.

So on the basis this is a no-lose situation and 20,000 people will turn up regardless of time or price, why not at least try to be imaginative in selling these unwanted seats?  

Contrary to some other fans I certainly have no desire to be punished for my loyalty by seeing blocks of seats given away to some nefarious youth organisations with a dangerously large number of adult helpers (see numerous internationals of various types here over the years).

But halving the 10 bairns rate would surely be a positive gesture - putting an extra few shekels in the pot for the other expenses involved in taking young 'uns to the match eg food, drink, transport, programme etc.

And if the Chronicle is to believed, then the walk-up scheme to try and attract fans in off the street is a complete and utter waste of time - the paper claiming that over 28,000 seats had been sold by Tuesday night.

Is a scheme to charge 20 on the gate but 15 if bought before match day really beyond our wit? 
That would certainly be a damn sight more helpful than the latest crackpot scheme to buy money off vouchers for club outlets via the programme.

At some point the apparent apathy of many will transfer itself to season ticket sale though. The annoying thing about all of this though is that it's avoidable - and gate revenues are just a fraction of the latest TV bonanza. In other words making positive pricing gestures wouldn't break the bank, but might just improve the perception of cynical punters. 

Like everything else at this place though, there has to be a will to achieve and improve matters - and that has to over-ride the inbred smugness of decades of taking punters for granted. 

For a prime example of that, look no further than tonight's kickoff of 7.30pm - something agreed before tickets were printed, only for them to duly appear with 7.45pm printed on them.    

We will hopefully progress further in this competition, but AZ's admirable home record in cup competitions and our enduring ability to screw things up mean that this one isn't over yet.

While we may struggle to keep a clean sheet over there though, certainly the ease with which Martins and Co. penetrated their defence here in the opening half hour should see us also register. 

Were we to come a cropper though, we'd merely be adding another line to the roll of dishonour that is our history - the date of the second leg marking the anniversary of among other things, losing 5-4 to Ipswich, hoying petrol bombs at Hammers and Freddy & Douggie's unwanted front page appearance in the News of the World. High time for some good news.

Looking into the future though, we need to take some of the positive attitude shown from the off here into the game at the Valley on Sunday week - rather than the unadventurous approach seen at the JJB and against the Smoggies - repeats of either won't fill the ground at any price.........


(Answer: the 1997 minute's silence was for Louis Van Gaal's grandmother.)


Page last updated 08 March, 2012