Newcastle into UEFA knock-out with Sochaux win

26th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

SOCHAUX, France, Nov 25 (AFP) - Newcastle on Thursday recorded their first win over French opposition in UEFA competition with a convincing 4-0 victory over Sochaux to progress to the Cup knock-out phase.

SOCHAUX, France, Nov 25 (AFP) - Newcastle on Thursday recorded their first win over French opposition in UEFA competition with a convincing 4-0 victory over Sochaux to progress to the Cup knock-out phase.

Newcastle, without talismanic club captain Alan Shearer who has a hamstring injury, needed only a draw to progress to the knock-out phase, having won their first two matches in Group D.

"I think in the first half we rode our luck a wee bit. We had some inexperienced players out there," said Newcastle boss Graeme Souness.

"But we managed to get a message across to them at half-time and we were better in the second half.

"We have missed one or two very good chances, and 4-0 away from home was a very good result. It was a very good performance all round."

The English Premiership club got off to a good start against Sochaux - currently lying third in the French league after a 3-1 win last Friday over Monaco - with James Milner's effort on goal deflected for a corner.

Sochaux came straight back, Romain Pitau eventually striking directly at Newcastle keeper Shay Given after confidently passing the ball around in front of the opposition's box.

Midfielder Lee Bowyer was yellow carded for a rash challenge on Mickael Isabey, meaning he will sit out Newcastle's fourth group game against Sporting Lisbon.

With Sochaux's top scorer Ilan of Brazil proving a handful, Given was forced into a great save in the 16th minute, diving right to fend off a 25-metre free-kick by Jeremy Menez.

Newcastle's Craig Bellamy had a chance 10 minutes later after a Milner cross but the fiery Welshman couldn't keep his effort down.

Bowyer then latched on to a defensive mistake caused by striker Shola Amoebi's parrying of Gregory Paisley in Sochaux's penalty box and drove home from 12 metres.

With their tails up, Newcastle opened up their game.

Amoebi came close with a 20-metre shot that deflected just wide of Teddy Richert's right post, and Milner missed a sitter after Bellamy played in a perfect cross in front of goal.

In a thrilling free-flowing period of play on the semi-synthetic pitch, Given was called back into action to save a low shot by Sochaux danger man Ilan and tip over an attempted chip minutes after by Isabey.

With halftime looming, Newcastle's French defender Marcus Bernard made a needlessly reckless challenge and was booked, as well as handing Sochaux a free-kick 25 metres out.

But Jeremy Mathieu's strike dipped just too late and the score remained 2-0 at the interval.

Another defensive error cost Sochaux dear at the very beginning of the second half, Amoebi coming in at the far post to knock home a ball that Paisley completely misplayed and bounced over the keeper's head.

Sochaux spelled out their intentions by bringing on striker Santos in the 57th minute, and the Brazilian-born Tunisian was immediately in the thick of it with a deflected shot.

He then hit a spectacular dipping volley that just floated over Given's bar. In a 63rd minute melee in the Newcastle box, the referee controversially awarded a penalty for pulling on the linesman's advice but Mathieu scuffed the ball to the right of the posts.

With 15 minutes remaining, Bellamy was on hand to stroke home a beautifully weighted squared cross from Northern Ireland international Aaron Hughes, himself played into acres of space down the Sochaux right by Kieron Dyer, who had come on for Bowyer.

To rub salt into Sochaux's wounds, Newcastle substitute Laurent Robert scored from a free-kick with a beautifully struck left-footed shot, Richert getting nowhere near to a save.

With Sochaux's defence wilting, Newcastle spurned two other goal-scoring chances in extra time in what manager Graeme Souness will doubtless consider a job well done.


Subject: French News

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