Heerenveen (h) UEFA Cup Third Round Second Leg
10 mins Laurent Robert made ground down the left flank going towards the Leazes end and pinged over a dangerous cross that visiting player Michel Breuer sliced into his own net from close range for an own goal, or "eigen doelpunt" as the Dutch fans called it. 1-0
25 mins A free kick awarded in a central spot for Bakkati's challenge on Dyer just outside the Heerenveen area saw Robert touch the ball into the path of Shearer, who cracked a low effort past the defensive wall and into the corner of the net - Dyer smartly jumping over the shot as it sped through en route to goal. 2-0
Half time: Newcastle 2 Heerenveen 0
80 mins Yildrim's corner was inexplicably handled by Ameobi as it dropped amongst a crowd of players in the United box. After some confusion among crowd and players as to what had been awarded, former PSV player Arnold Bruggink converted the penalty with a firm strike. 2-1
Full time: Newcastle 2 Heerenveen 1
again coach Alan Murray gave the official Toon post-match verdict, saying:
"We feel as though we are getting to where we want to be. We are not there by any means, but that is one defeat in 12, I think, and that was away to Arsenal, and we have got to make sure we keep that run going.
"We said we had four games in 10 days.
We have won three of them, but I think we would probably want to win Sunday and
climb up that Premier League table, which is what we are really all about."
"It is a really tough tie. That is the Champions League team that has dropped down. They have had a good result over the two legs against Sochaux - we know how difficult it is at Sochaux even though we won 4-0, it was not really a 4-0.
"We felt they were quite a capable team, so that is going to be a tough tie for us.
"Olympiakos are a top team, the best
team in Greece, and we will have a tough task going through. But I feel we have
got enough at the club to make sure we can go through provided that we play to
the standard we are capable of.
" A lot of things have been said about Laurent and the manager, but the boss loves attacking players and the flair he's got. But the manager will not accept people doing work one way only. In all the top teams you see attacking players putting in a shift the other way as well.
"Laurent put in a good shift against Heerenveen and we're very pleased about that. He's set the standard and shown what he can do and he won't be allowed to drop below that."
On a return to
Premiership action on Sunday:
"Bolton will bring Gary Speed back to St James' Park and he is a great professional. He holds the record number of appearances for the Premiership which speaks volumes.
"Longevity is a sign of quality and Gary has been around for many years."
Steven Taylor commented:
"It was good to get on in my favoured position (of central defence), but as I've said before I'll play anywhere to get a game.
"Funnily enough I'd only been on the pitch for a few seconds when the referee gave the penalty. I wasn't sure at first what was going on but the TV replays showed it was a handball.
"They had a couple of half chances after that, but we'd done the job in the first half and overall it was a comfortable evening. We're happy to get past this hurdle, and we've got an attractive tie coming up in the next round because Olympiakos are a quality side.
"We've been playing well and the results in the last week or so have really lifted us. We have kept the season alive with good results in the two cup competitions, and now we are back in the league at the weekend we want to start getting some more points on the board and get up that table.
"When you look at the players we have in the dressing room we should be in a better league position, but there are still plenty of points to play for and the way we're playing at the moment we look forward to every game."
Gertjan Verbeek said:
"If he wants to play on a lower level,
he can come to Heerenveen,. He does not have to train so much - we will spare
him for the games. He's a great player and very important for Newcastle still.
At his age, it is fantastic."
"I do not know the other teams, but they have a very good team, so why not? Three years back, Feyenoord won the UEFA Cup and I do not think they then had a better team than Newcastle now.
Lowest SJP crowd for a competitive game
since the visit of Brentford in the League Cup which drew 25,633 in
John Beresford's deflected shot in Kiev via Olexandr Golovoko back in 1997 was the only away OG (NB: Anglo-Italian OGs not included)
For Sunday, read Thursday.
Heerenveen had been text book hosts
and proved to be polite guests at this game - they probably wiped
their muddy boots on a mat outside the away dressing room and each and
every one of their swapped toon shirts is by now doubtless washed,
pressed and at the framers.
Bellamy and Kluivert were absent, we faced a pliable opposition with no defensive hatchet men, on a half-decent pitch and after 25 minutes, a pressure-free encounter beamed out live on the telly to anyone who wasn't daft enough to watch the smogs.
However the only time he showed punch on the ball was when he conceded a penalty.
Shola simply seemed incapable raising his game to a level that would give him headlines and boost his international aspirations. And before you scoff at that last statement, consider that Sven is has proved again that being English and scoring goals will get you picked - like Michael Ricketts before him, it certainly worked for Andy Johnson...
It's a measure of our comfort in this game though that we can indulge in bar room philsophising about Ameobi (and Owen!) playing for club and country.
Thankfully we'll never know whether we'd have provided more threat to the Dutch goal in the second half had we needed to score - as despite an energetic performance from Robert, we were fairly inept up front and Vandenbussche saw little action.
That's now six teams negotiated in this trophy in varying degrees of comfort, but the prospect of a double header against the Greek league leaders now sees this competition belatedly move up a notch or two.
Liverpool, Monaco and Deportivo have all already been beaten this season in Piraeus - and while it can be argued that none of that trio are the feared teams they once were, it's clear that we have a job of work on over two legs to make it into the last eight for the second successive season.
But with our current combination of occasional attacking inspiration, increased defensive solidity and that all-important slice of divine assistance we've got a bloody good chance of progressing further. That's all that really matters.
Just don't bother watching this game if you taped it.....