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Season 2012-13
Atromitos (h) Europa League Fourth Qualifying Round, Second Leg

In association 

Thursday 30th August 2012, 8pm
Live on ITV4

 St.James' Park


Admission: 15


Newcastle United


1 - 0

(2-1 on agg)




21 mins Substitute Haris Vuckic found space to receive Danny Simpson's throw in from the right flank and swivelled to hook a left-footed shot goalwards from the edge of the Atromitos area in front of a semi-populated Leazes End.

However, his effort took a deflection en route to goal off Matias Iglesias and that was enough to bamboozle his own goalkeeper Charles Itandje, who seemed distracted by Demba Ba - although the United striker didn't make contact with the ball as he slid in on goal. 1-0

Half time: Newcastle 1 Atromitos 0

Full time: Newcastle 1 Atromitos 0

We Said

Alan Pardew said:

"We took a bit of a risk with our selection, but we did enough.

"It just goes to show you the pressure of competition as it looks like Ryan Taylor has suffered a bad knock today. So I'll have to speak to the chairman tonight and we might have to think about bringing a player in on the back of that injury. Unfortunately when you get these games these type of things happen to you. I feel sorry for Ryan because he's a terrific player and I really hope its not as bad as we fear.

"I haven't seen it if I am honest
(the first half penalty appeal by Atromitos). I thought overall the game should have been over before we even got to half time, we had some fantastic chances in those first 40 minutes where we played really really well.

"But like anything in Europe it just goes to show you that if the referee had given a penalty and sent Tim off suddenly we've got a different game. Its a knife-edger in any game, whether its an FA Cup game or a League Cup game, they are very close affairs but I thought we just did enough to win.

"Haris (Vuckic) has got great technical ability and I'm pleased he got his goal because he's one of the favourites in the dressing room.

"For us, Andy Carroll was a political move that perhaps wasn't going to fall our way.

"You have to pay a lot of respect to Mike
(Ashley), we've had a couple of phone calls during the window and we could have cashed in on a couple of our players but he didn't and I thank him for that and our fans should thank him too."

They Said

Dusan Bajevic
(Olympiakos boss when United beat them in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup) said:

"It was a game of two different halves. In the first we pressed enough, but we did not have the proper overlap and made several mistakes. In the second half, we had two very good chances but could not score.

"We tried and pushed. We played well and I must say congratulations to my players. My players stood very well against Newcastle and in the second half we were better than the opponent.

I am very sorry for the players who gave all. There were two penalty not given and we could get a better result. I wish good luck to Newcastle.

"This game is our guide for the future. Now, we must continue to work hard and to get even better in the future. 

Atromitos later confirmed that they had sent a letter of complaint to UEFA over their failure to be awarded a penalty kick. Good luck with that.


Haris Vuckic became Newcastle's 57th different goalscorer in competitive European fixtures (not counting OGs and penalty shootouts) and along with Danny Simpson, Fabricio Coloccini and Demba Ba he made his debut in European competition for United.

Notching his first competitive goal for the club - and the first by a Slovenian - Haris now takes his name off the list of outfield players still to break their senior NUFC scoring duck. 

Remaining on there are messrs Abeid, Amalfitano, Anita, Bigirimana, Campbell, Ferguson, Perch, Santon, Tavernier and Williamson - the latter now on a 75 game barren run.

United in Europe - all time record: 
(not including penalty shootouts):

Played: 122 Won: 70 Drawn: 23 Lost: 29 Goals for: 210  Goals against: 120

Hatem Ben Arfa
served the second game of his three game ban.

NUFC are now unbeaten on Tyneside in their last eight home European fixtures - since a 2-1 win for Spaniards Deportivo la Coruna eliminated us from the Intertoto Cup in 2005.

And not including that now-defunct competition, United haven't lost on home soil since Partizan Belgrade upset our Champions League qualification hopes in 2003 with a 1-0 win that set them up to eliminate us on penalties. That's a total of 19 games undefeated - 16 wins and three draws.

Atromitos became the only second Greek side to play a competitive fixture on Tyneside, after rivals Olympiakos (managed by current Atromitos boss Dusan Bajevic) were soundly beaten here 4-0 back in March 2005. Due to the differing format of the UEFA Cup Group Stage that season, ties weren't played on a home and away basis and United faced Panionios just once - in Greece.

The Magpies debuted their new lime-coloured third kit in this tie, coinciding with its release date.
it may or may not have been inspired by a) the quayside link buses or b) Lemsip.  



Their goalkeeper may have gone to the same barber as Mister T but it certainly wasn't an A Team that threatened Newcastle's progression to the group stages at St.James' Park on Thursday night.

Having had Ryan Taylor to thank for sparing their blushes in the energy-sapping heat of Athens, United continued to make heavy weather of their task in the more tolerable Tyneside temperatures and were ultimately grateful to a Swiss referee who twice raised doubts over his neutrality. 
Stephan Suder reacted to a spot kick appeal from the visitors in each half by booking their players for simulation on both occasions - the first of which seemed a remarkably lenient decision when reviewing with the benefit of TV playbacks.

That came at the end of a first half in which United had lost the services of their first leg scorer but found the net thanks to Haris Vuckic. The Slovenian had appeared as an early replacement for Ryan Taylor, who caught his studs in the turf and sustained knee ligament damage that will sideline him for some months - the obvious pain he was in led to little doubts as to the severity of the injury. 

Failing to build on that advantage though, Alan Pardew's side were almost made to pay two minutes before the interval. First leg goalscorer Denis Epstein was allowed to shoot on goal from distance and when Tim Krul failed to hold it, Brazilian midfielder Chumbinho reacted first and took the ball around the 'keeper before tumbling under some hand to boot contact. 

Studer ran towards the incident and yellow carded Chumbinho to the relief of the home fans and Krul who looked to be fearing the worst - a penalty and a red card.

With a second enforced change coming after the break when James Perch departed with a neck problem, United proved unable to conjure up a second goal as the second half wore on. Itandje atoned for his earlier hesitancy by denying Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan and Ba, while the quality of our crossing and set pieces left much to be desired.  

Chances were fewer in the second period but it was one that fell to Dimoutsos that should have at least taken the tie to extra-time when the ball spun off Marveaux invitingly only for the visiting player to hit his shot wide of Krul's upright.

Studer then disciplined Nikola Bejic after his 85th minute run into the box saw him swerve past Coloccini and take a step before tumbling theatrically over - a more clear-cut booking than the one for Chumbinho coming after the referee consulted a linesman. 

There were a few more nervy moments for our defence before Alan Pardew was able to celebrate his first-ever managerial success in European competition, both Dan Gosling and Marveaux shooting wildly over when well-placed late on.

A case of job done then, despite having tempted fate by launching a new Euro kit on matchday - something which NUFC had also done back in 2003, when the silver/grey number went on sale just hours after Partizan Belgrade had ousted us from the Champions League. 

Some squad rotation saw a total of nineteen players get pitch time over the two legs, another three regular starters watch both legs from the bench, a quartet be unavailable due to injury and one more suspended. 

At times though, we looked like a team of strangers - something that can only be improved upon by playing together more often.  Whether that increased familiarity will result in an outbreak of quality in future cup fixtures though remains to be seen. Obertan will never enjoy more time and space than he did here but his delivery remained frustratingly random, while it's difficult to recall much that Marveaux achieved. 

In terms of support to Demba Ba we clearly have a long way to go, with tonight's performance from Gosling doing nothing to allay our suspicions that he's barely competent at this level and that's one gamble that is just destined not to pay out.

Putting aside those gripes though, cup football is all about the result and this display was forgotten within 24 hours, after the group stage draw landed us with a trio of beatable opponents within reasonable travelling distance. Plenty of time for practice there then.  


Page last updated 06 July, 2013