LEVADIA TALINN 0 NEWCASTLE UTD 1
LEVADIA TALINN: Kotenko, Sisov, Lemsalu, Cepauskas,Kalimullin, Nahk, Dmitrijev (Kink 82), Vassiljev,Dovydenas (Sander Puri 71), Voskoboinikov, Andreev (Purje 65).
Subs Not Used: Stonys, Deniss Malov, Regelskis, Marmor.
NEWCASTLE UTD: Given, Carr, Bramble (Milner 36), Moore, Ramage,Duff, Parker, Emre, N’Zogbia (Butt 73), Sibierski (Luque 80),Martins.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Huntington, Bernard, Pattison.
Well there certainly wasn’t a repeat of that on Thursday, as 7,917 watched two teams lock horns in a match that saw new signing Antoine Sibierski become a hero within ten minutes of his debut. I’m sure £10million Obafemi Martins wished he could have had the same impact.
The Frenchman appeared at the back post and leapt above a defender to power home a great goal from Damien Duff’s free-kick, to give the Magpies an advantage they should have built upon against limited opposition.
However, that failure to convert chances, leaves Levadia Tallinn with a slim – but still – fighting chance at St James’ Park in a fortnight’s time.
Duff, who started the game on the right wing, played more than half of it at left-back, when Titus Bramble went off injured with a kick to the knee.
But the standard of opposition was poor, despite Levadia being unbeaten in 30 games before a 4-2 defeat by JK Maag Tartu last weekend. But Newcastle have still to find how to get the best out of what they have up front.
With the early goal it should have been comfortable enough, but as every Newcastle fan knows, there is always the chance someone in the back-line will give away a ‘gimme’. Bramble, the villain so often in the past, left the field after half an hour so there was one ‘problem’ out of the way.
Roeder had little option to replace Bramble, but sending on James Milner did have us wondering. However, the want-away winger lined up on the right, Peter Ramage moved from left-back into the middle and £5million winger Duff was asked to drop in at full-back.
Newcastle took time to readjust and started to look vulnerable, but got to grips with it in the second half.
Perhaps the main talking point was when goalkeeper Kotenko bundled Milner over in the box. The referee waved play on, and no Newcastle player appealed for a penalty, but it looked a nailed-on pen in my book.