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Season 2004-05
 Hapoel Bnei Sakhnin (h) UEFA Cup First Round 1st Leg


Date: Thursday 16th September 2004, 7.45pm
Live on ITV2 

Venue: SJP

Not pleasant.


Newcastle United

Hapoel Bnei Sakhnin

2 - 0



3 mins Laurent Robert's low centre from the left eluded Lee Bowyer and the ball took several ricochets in the six yard box before Kluivert pounced to prod home into the Gallowgate end net from close range. 1-0

41 mins A fabulous near-post header by Kluivert from an out-swinging Robert corner. The Dutchman glanced powerfully towards the far corner, the ball hitting the bar, then post, before bouncing over the line. 2-0

Half time:  Newcastle 2 Sakhnin 0

Full time: Newcastle 2 Sakhnin 0

We Said

Graeme Souness said:

"We fell for a three-card trick. They came here to upset us and to knock us out of our rhythm, and they achieved that."

"We could not rise above it. And Nicky Butt fell for it which disappoints me. At his age and with his experience, that's not the cleverest thing he's done tonight.

"I've not spoken to him, I've not seen it again, but I think he may have raised his hands, which, as you know, you can't do.

"I'm disappointed, but I've certainly been there. Sometimes frustration takes over, but he's an experienced player, so he'll be disappointed."

"It became a poor game in the second half. You are playing European football. They dropped off and left us at the back and it's difficult when they do that.

"And it's difficult when they're trying to break the game up at every opportunity, but we have learned from that. They will have to come after us in the second leg."

Two-goal Patrick Kluivert told the Chronicle:

"I was happy with the two goals, and I'm happy to have three in two starts now. It is much easier to start the game than come off the bench, and it gives you confidence as a striker when you score goals.

"It was good for me to get the chance to play, and good to score. The manager now has a decision to make on Sunday, but it is good for him to have four strikers who are in good form.

"The most important thing for us last night was to get the win, and we did that. In games like that it is not important who gets the goals as long as we have a lead to take into the second leg.

"It was a tough, physical match with some hard challenges from their defenders, but we're confident we can go through."

They Said

Hapoel Bnei boss Eyal Lachman said:

"People thought that we would lose by seven or eight goals because of the difference in the size of the clubs and our budgets but I feel our tactics were well executed." 

"We conceded the first goal because we were still getting used to the atmosphere but then we managed to stop Newcastle scoring in open play because their second goal came from a corner.

"We protected our goal well and our positioning was good and for that reason I must compliment my players. Despite conceding in the third minute we never thought that the game was finished but that is our own very special way.

"I think that we can surprise Newcastle. To lose is never good especially for me but we did a lot of good work."


Israel becomes the 20th different country we've faced in European competition, after teams from the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Scotland, Hungary, England, Belgium, Italy, Ireland, France, Sweden, Croatia, Ukraine, Serbia, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Bosnia, Germany and Norway have played at SJP.

We maintained our record of never having failed to score in two consecutive home European games, after recording a 0-0 scoreline in the last one of the previous season versus Marseille.

Patrick Kluivert became our 57th goalscorer in Europe.

Shay Given made his 40th European appearance for the club, a record.

NUFC European debuts for Carr, Butt, Kluivert and Milner and a first European start for Bowyer after his ban (although he did come on as a sub in Marseille last season.)

Robbie Elliott captained the side for the first time.

Nicky Butt must surely be the unwanted holder of the title of quickest dismissal for the club, timed at 133 seconds, even faster than the 6 minutes Craig Bellamy lasted at home to Inter Milan in October 2002 - our last European dismissal.


Well, if he wasn't fully aware before, the events of Thursday night will have brought home to Souness just what sort of a job he has on his hands, if he's to succeed where many others have failed at Gallowgate.

His own personal mission impossible is to make something from a club with enviable support, resources, reputation, history and profile but question marks about morale, commitment, tactics, and overall credibility nearly as vast as the unused spaces in the trophy cabinet.

And if we were to lose our main sponsors, then there should be a ready replacement waiting in the wings - Carlsberg Lager, who could base their consequent Magpie advertising campaign on the slogan "probably the most expensive pub team in the world."

Just as they had on Saturday, things started promisingly enough with an early goal that whilst not technically an OG like Flitcroft's, owed plenty to the shortcomings of the visitor's backline. And had Jenas not indulged in a soft shoe shuffle seconds later when outstripping the defence, then we'd have been two ahead before Sakhnin had adjusted to their unfamiliar surroundings.
With Shearer and Bellamy watching from the bench, Kluivert and Ameobi were given the honour of being paired up for first crack at filling their boots - no doubt to the annoyance of the number nine who doubtless sensed easy pickings.
But while Kluivert responded with two goals and some class touches, albeit at three-quarter pace, Ameobi's response to Souness's selection was to shamble across the pitch in an uninvolved and apparently unconcerned manner. There were ballboys (and girls) at this game who demonstrated more devotion to the cause. All duly noted by the new manager no doubt....
Similarly Dyer again did himself no favours in his alleged right wing role, wandering infield at will but barely featuring on the radar, such was his ineffectual contribution, aside from one run and lunge in the box to waste a good chance.
That absence of a right-sided anchor for the side was later addressed by Souness when he introduced Milner to the fray.

The youngster brought some much-needed pace to the side and also seemed intent on impressing his new superior.

But until then we'd looked disorganised to the point of being shambolic - a team of individuals, some talented, some plainly mad - hence the pub team analogy.

Others showing commitment almost to the point of daftness included Bowyer, who seemed increasingly rattled by the physical approach of the opponents and was unable to rein himself in sufficiently to channel his anger for the good of the team.

He could have taken a lesson in restraint from Robert, who didn't torture the opposition but also failed to get sidetracked into conflict. Certainly the clownish cameo from Butt made Souness's pre-match words about relying on his seasoned European campaigners seem as if they had fallen on deaf ears - there were two European champions on the pitch in this game - and Fairs Cup winner Pop Robson's half time appearance was longer than champs league medallist Nicky's.
The Butt dismissal marked a turning point in this game, as the final half hour that should have seen our class, fitness and squad options make a decisive difference to the final score dissolved into a fractious mess.
It's a year since we finished our UEFA Cup tie off in one home game against a workmanlike and not unskilled Breda side, scoring five goals without reply.

In no way were Sakhnin a better side than the Dutch and in their 'keeper had the original weakest link, but we failed to test him often enough and overall were unable to impose our pattern of play on the opposition.

Another goal and we could have gone home and forgotten about this one, safe in the knowledge that the second leg was a formality. As it is though, we'll probably get away with this and progress through to the new artificial UEFA group stage.
Doubtless the manager will remember this night though, and one or two of the former manager's favourite sons may well have taken steps to being crossed off Souness's Xmas card list before the clocks change, regardless of what happens in Tel Aviv.   



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