A diagonal ball
eluded Tavernier and Epstein drifted in from the left to hit a low effort
past Harper to put the home side ahead at the opposite end of the ground
to where the away fans were housed - with only a handful of home followers in
the open stand behind the goal, which is actually built outside the stadium 0-1
45+2 mins Matias Iglesias pulled back Dan Gosling to give Ryan
Taylor a sight of
goal in a central position 25-yards out and our set-piece specialist hit
one of his finest dead ball efforts so far to level the tie 1-1
Atromitos 1 Newcastle 1
Full time: Atromitos 1 Newcastle 1
Alan Pardew said:
"We go home with some new experience, and certainly for some of our
players because they won't get that time on the ball they had tonight in a
Premier League game. Sometimes you can be uncomfortable with time, trust me.
I have been there as a player, so I know. You pick out the wrong pass and
you can lose confidence.
"But tonight, everybody used the ball well. We could have had a little
bit more devil in our game, but otherwise I was really happy. The most
important thing is that we wanted to win the game. I can't protect
"We tried to restrict (Cisse's) work-rate to protect him - he
didn't really close down too much. His only brief tonight was to get us a
goal, and he had a couple of half-chances and nearly did. But 75 minutes was
definitely, in my mind, that was him done.
"It was a great opportunity to put Adam Campbell on the pitch, the
youngest player to play for Newcastle. I consciously knew that and I wanted
him to have that tag because he has got a great future in front of him.
"He's such a lovely lad and a local lad, and it was nice that he had 15
minutes - and had half a chance as well to nick it for us.
"It was a great day for us in a lot of ways because we are going to
call upon everybody - League Cup, FA Cup, the squad is all going to play.
"If we are taking an away goal into the home leg, we would be
favourites - but we are the favourites when we play at home whoever we are
playing, in my opinion, so we have got to win the game.
"They have shown us tonight that it's not going to be a pushover and
it's not going to be a foregone conclusion, so we have got to be right and
we have got to make sure that the team is strong enough."
Dusan Bajevic (Olympiakos
boss when United beat them in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup) said:
"We knew the opponents would be stronger and better
prepared and we conceded at the
worst time of the match. If we had kept it at 1-0 then we would have had a
"I am delighted by the players - the first half was as we expected and we
could have done better but I'm generally pleased. 1-1 isn't a hopeless score but
it will be difficult - we will try to do what we can.
"We wanted to win and so I tried to
make them play more aggressively (in the second half). However we
couldn't keep the ball and some of our players tired.
"The players were too anxious - our
ball retention and passing could have been better but it was their first time at
such an event and they were anxious.
"We can go to England to win. Newcastle may be close to qualifying, but as
I've said before that doesn't mean that we'll go there to surrender."
United in Europe - all time
(not including penalty shootouts):
Played: 121 Won: 69 Drawn: 23
Lost: 29 Goals for: 209 Goals against: 120
Ryan Taylor's tenth competitive goal
in our colours was his first of 2012 and our 209th European goal
- almost five and a half years after Oba Martins scored number 208 at home
to AZ Alkmaar. And in doing so, Ryan became our 56th different
scorer in Europe (not including OGs).
Steve Harper made his 191st appearance
for United for over 16 months after his previous outing - a 0-1 defeat
at Aston Villa back in April 2011. Since then his sole senior
action was a five game loan stint at Championship side Brighton and
Hove Albion in October and November 2011.
The custodian also moved on to 18 appearances (16 starts)
competition since he made his bow under Sir Bobby Robson in a 2-0
victory away to CSKA Sofia back in September 1999. However
he remains some way off Shay Given's 62 European appearances for
He also became United's oldest-ever player in European competitions
tonight, at the age of 37 years and 162 days, two days older
than Stuart Pearce v Partizan Belgrade in September 1998.
All thirteen outfield players used were making their European debuts
There were club debuts for Gael
Bigirimana, Romain Amalfitano and Adam Campbell and a first
start for Vurnon Anita after he debuted from the bench against
Spurs last Saturday.
Adam Campbell became our
youngest-ever participant in Europe at the age of 17 years and 236
days. That bettered the record of Andy Carroll (17 years
and 300 days v Palermo in 2006), which had in turn pipped Aaron Hughes (18 years and 18 days v Barcelona in 1997).
The original record holder was Alan Foggon in 1968 (18 years and
249 days v Sporting Lisbon).
A magic Magpie month: Campbell's senior team debut capped a
frantic few weeks as follows:
21.07.2012-25.07.2012 scores six goals in four games for U17s
at Northern Ireland Milk Cup.
26.07.2012 plays in Milk Cup final with Alan Pardew present.
11.08.2012 plays in first team friendly away to Cardiff City.
18.08.2012 scores 33 minute hat trick for reserves with Alan
23.08.2012 makes first team debut for Newcastle against
PS: Hatem Ben Arfa was ineligible for this game due to
starting a suspension that dates back to his Marseille days and a 1-2
home loss to Benfica in the 2009/10 Europa League.
Entering as a 90th minute substitute, he was heading back down the
tunnel precisely 62 seconds later, red-carded for kicking out at an
opponent and landing himself a three game ban.
Thankfully though Ben Arfa's name did appear on the eligible
player list submitted by Newcastle to UEFA before this tie was played,
which means that the suspension now starts to run down.
That's in stark contrast to the 2003/04 season, when United attempted
to register Lee Bowyer, for their seventh European match of the
season (against Valerenga), believing that he had served the six game
ban he arrived from Leeds United with (after kicking a Spaniard in the
However they then found that by not including him in their submitted
squad, the suspension was yet to begin, forcing the midfielder to miss
the following six ties - and then one more due to injury. He
eventually made his debut in the UEFA Cup semi-final second leg defeat
από το τοίχο
may not have been many present to witness it at first hand, but Ryan Taylor's
stunning free kick set Newcastle on the road to what will hopefully be an
adventure matching the excitement and achievement of the domestic campaign that
secured this European return after five seasons.
Alan Pardew admitted before the match that he'd probably take a draw and seemed
satisfied with his first-ever goal and point in Europe as a manager, having lost
home and away to Palermo (0-1 and 0-3) when in charge of West Ham for their
abortive UEFA Cup campaign back in 2006.
Denied the luxury of an extra day to prepare for the visit to Chelsea by the
inflexibility of UEFA, the Premier League and Metropolitan Police, his team
selection reflected not only the twin demands of two fixtures in such close
proximity but also some early season injury concerns.
Having come up against Atromitis striker Kuqi (younger brother of toon old boy
Shefki) when playing recently for Northern Ireland against Finland, Shane
Ferguson was anticipated to feature in this game, along with fellow fringe
player Haris Vuckic - the latter a pre-season regular.
Along with Sammy Ameobi though, that pair weren't on United's charter flight to
Greece due to injury. And news that Shola Ameobi had failed to travel after
pulling out of the previous Saturday's game against Spurs in the warm-up further
limited United's striking options.
Whether Shola would have been capable of adding to his previous dozen European
strikes is open to question, but the enforced reduction in tempo caused by the searing Athens heat
would have suited him, while his ability to hold up the ball could have made him
a valuable asset - even for 45 minutes.
As it was, Papiss Cisse appeared to lead the line, while Demba Ba remained at
home with the likes of Cheick Tiote, Danny Simpson, Fabricio Coloccini and Hatem
Ben Arfa. The bench meanwhile included Tim Krul, Yohan Cabaye, Steven Taylor,
Davide Santon and Jonas Gutierrez but only the latter was called upon to work up
a sweat as United looked to push on for a second goal.
James Tavernier, Sylvain Marveaux and
Vurnon Anita added to their meagre appearance tallies, with
Anita making a first Newcastle start after debuting from the bench
against Spurs. The Dutchman however is no stranger to European club
competition with 28 appearances for Ajax since 2007 including ties against Real
Madrid and Manchester United last season.
Backed by a small but noisy section of "ultras", Atromitos made
the early running and put United under pressure; Epstein causing problems for Tavernier at
right-back before he nipped in from that flank to score a goal that home fans
and players alike seemed unprepared to celebrate.
Frustratingly, United were proving unable to
get either the ball or adequate support to Cisse and test ex-Liverpool 'keeper Charles Itandje in the home
goal - who looked anything
but reliable when awkwardly booting clear a whipped-in free-kick from
Taylor. The Cameroonian custodian was then grateful for a defender to hack
the ball clear after spilling
another cross - a weakness that will surely have been noted ahead of the
second leg on Tyneside.
Going in at the interval back on level terms boosted United and Harper never
looked like conceding after half time, although the attacking efforts of the
visitors from open play still remained fitful.
Cisse almost turned
provider when his cross found the toiling Marveaux and although his header was weak, a
deflection off a defender almost fooled Itandje. Gabriel Obertan then
burst into life with a first-time volleyed effort that narrowly missed the target,
before picking out Cisse with a centre only for the 'keeper to
get a hand on the ball as he shaped to shoot.
Romain Amalfitano came on for his senior debut
and again linked up well with fellow
substitute and new boy Campbell, as the pair had done in the closing
stages of the defeat at Cardiff. The former almost managed to jink into the box and fire in
what would have been the winner, only for a covering defender to intervene.
Honours even then and a broadly agreeable result from a low-level contest that
at times had the look and intensity of a pre-season game. Logic dictates that
we'll prevail next Thursday and find ourselves in the Group Stage draw, but it's
perhaps as well to recall the folly of our 2003 exit from the Champions League
at the hands of Partizan Belgrade (1-0 up, lost 0-1 at home, out on pens).
There's no such thing as a foregone conclusion where Newcastle United are
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