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Season 2004-05
 Heerenveen (h) UEFA Cup Third Round Second Leg
 

 
 

Date: Thursday 24th February, 2005
Kick-off 7.45pm  Live on ITV2 

Venue: St. James' Park

Conditions: 
Cold with occasional light snow / sleet showers, but nothing compared to Sunday's conditions.

20 adults
 


  
 

Newcastle United

Heerenveen

2 - 1
(4-2 on agg)

 

Teams

Goals

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

We Said

Once again coach Alan Murray gave the official Toon post-match verdict, saying:

"We could not have asked for more. We would be a little bit naive to say we could do it better - we would like to have done it better, but three tough matches, we have come through it. If we can get three points on Sunday it will have been a great 10 days.

"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."

About the prospect of Olympiakos in the next round:

"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.

On Robert:

" 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 is another big game for us because we are looking for points to climb the Premiership table. I'm sure they will be coming here a little bit anxious because we are a force to be reckoned with and we have a lot of good players. If we can be consistent then we can be a handful for anybody.

"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."

They Said

Coach Gertjan Verbeek said:

About Shearer and his retirement plans:
 

"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."

On Newcastle's chances of European silverware:

"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.

Stats

Lowest SJP crowd for a competitive game since the visit of Brentford in the League Cup which drew 25,633 in Sep 2001. 

Second-lowest European home crowd ever - 19,046 against Bohemians in Sep 1977 being the lowest. 

The second officially credited own goal in our favour ever at a home European match and only the third ever in our history. The only other one at SJP was by Boris Smiljanic of Basel last season - also at the Leazes end resulting from a Robert cross. 

John Beresford's deflected shot in Kiev via Olexandr Golovoko back in 1997 was the only away OG (NB: Anglo-Italian OGs not included)

Waffle

For Sunday, read Thursday.

Ahead in the opening ten minutes courtesy of another devilish cross from the left converted by a Dutchman. Only this time it wasn't Kluivert but instead Gouda-born Michel Breuer who disturbed the Leazes end netting to make his sides' task all the harder.

And when Alan Shearer converted the second to put us 4-1 ahead in the tie, then thoughts could then turn to a second Athens expedition - Olympiakos having won their early evening kickoff to end any chance of a Sochaux rematch. 

So, 25 minutes' worth of graft in Heerenveen and a similar period in toon proved enough to account for our opponents - which in view of our lack of overall dominance across the two ties is cause for much gratitude.

As successive teams have shown over the decades, cup football is about getting the results - and very little else. Certainly we have enough plucky exits in our back pages to be able to swap them for some winner's credits in the stats and our name engraved on some silverware, somewhere.

However those trophy-winning teams do also rely on the appearance of some good fortune from time to time - and we certainly seem to have been the recipients of a dose in the last few days, while others seem to have mislaid their lucky (Russian) rabbit's foot.....

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. 
  
Their away kit was vaguely reminiscent of our 1997/98 effort - and that didn't bring us much luck either. But there was nothing unlucky about the way we exploited the vast acres of space that they left us. 

The problem was that given a perfect stage on which to strut our stuff, we just couldn't spread our wings far enough to do so. Three games in eight days is one
valid explanation for this, as are the shortcomings of our squad when it comes to genuine creativity - and striking cover.

To our immense frustration, but to his apparent mirth, this was yet another featherweight performance from Shola, when once again the stage was set for him.

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..... 

Biffa

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Page last updated 25 June, 2012