United See Off Olympiacos

nufc v olympiakos


Newcastle United 4: Dyer 17' Shearer 45' 68'  Bowyer 54'

Olympiacos 0:

 (United win 7-1 on aggregate)

United: Given, Carr (Ramage 67), O'Brien, Taylor, Hughes, Jenas, Butt, Bowyer, Robert (N'Zogbia 58), Shearer, Dyer (Milner 58)  Subs (not used): Harper, Faye, Ambrose

Olympiacos: Nikopolidis, Vallas, Antoulaksi, Stoltidis (Taralidis 78), Castillo, Kates, Maric, Giovanni (Philipakos 67), Djordjevic (Okkas 59), Mavroganadis, Pantos  Subs (not used): Kouloucheris, Schurrer, Joaquim, Giannou

STEVEN Taylor and Andy O'Brien both lined up in defence as United welcomed Olympiacos to St. James' Park for the second leg of their UEFA Cup clash.

They replaced Titus Bramble and Jean Alain Boumsong, who were injured and cup-tied respectively.

Nicky Butt replaced Amdy Faye in the centre of midfield, while Patrick Kluivert missed out through injury so Kieron Dyer went up front to allow Jermaine Jenas to start in midfield after coming on as left back in Sunday's FA Cup sixth round success over Tottenham.

Olympiacos were without their star player Rivaldo, while the two players sent off in the first leg were also missing, as was United old boy Giorgios Giorgiadis.

When the game got underway, Taylor was at left back, with Hughes in the middle alongside O'Brien.

The opening 10 minutes of the game proved to be frustrating for the home fans and players, with the match being held up by a succession of offside flags with the Greeks holding a high defensive line.

Butt was desperately unlucky not to break the deadlock on 15 minutes, with his angled drive from 20 yards clipping the crossbar with the goalkeeper Nikopolidis well beaten.

The visiting goalkeeper then had to race from his line to grasp a through ball from Carr as Dyer tried to get on the end of it, but on 17 minutes Dyer scored the opener, beating the offisde trap before netting with a superb back heel after a long range free kick from Robert wasn't cleared.

Dyer tried to break free again on 22 minutes when Carr sent a long diagonal ball over the top, but he eventually got crowded out and when he rolled the ball to Jenas who had ran to the edge of the box, Anatolakis got back to clear.

Dyer was full of running in his more advanced role, and he won a corner on 26 minutes after a good run down the right, and when Robert whipped the ball across the face of goal Taylor's volley flew into the sidenetting.

Dyer was then bundled over in the box by Vallas on 28 minutes, but the Austrian referee Konrad Plautz wasn't interested in pointing the spot and instead gave a goal kick.

On 30 minutes Shearer looked a certain scorer when he got past his marker after Jenas looped a ball over the top, but his effort flew into the Leazes End with just Nikopolidis to beat.

Shearer was inches away from connecting with a quickly taken free kick from Robert after Maric had fouled Taylor on the left flank, then the number nine saw a glancing header flash agonisingly wide of the goalkeeper's left hand upright after a great cross from Robert.

A foul on Bowyer by Pantos gave United a free kick in the spot where Robert scored from against Liverpool recently, but this time his effort was deflected away for a corner on the left hand side.

The Magpies continued to press in the closing stages of the half, and right on 45 minutes Shearer made it 2-0 with a close range effort after Dyer crossed from the right.

United made it 3-0 on 54 minutes, with the goalkeeper pushing out a looping header from Bowyer only as far as Jenas, and when he composed himself and slid the ball across goal, Bowyer sidefooted into the net. 

With the tie now all but over, Souness took the opportunity to give Taylor a chance in his favoured position of centre back, switching the 19-year-old with Hughes.

On 58 minutes Robert was replaced by Charles N'Zogbia and James Milner came on for Dyer with Souness saving the legs of his two midfielders ahead of Saturday's Premiership trek to Portsmouth.

On 67 minutes Souness handed a senior debut to Peter Ramage, with the Whitley Bay-based youngster replacing Stephen Carr.

On 68 minutes Shearer made it 4-0, skipping past Nikopolidis and firing into the roof of the net after a Jenas through ball for his second of the game.

The Magpies were playing some great passing football now, and another good move saw them win a corner on 77 minutes, but N'Zogbia's cross was cleared.

Milner had the ball in the net on 81 minutes, but a flag from the referee's assistant cut short his celebrations. On 84 minutes united went close again, with Bowyer sending a header just wide after Milner put in a good cross from the left wing.

Given had to push a long range effort from Okkas around his post right at the death, but  gathered the corner and the referee blew for time.

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