Pain in Spain for Newcastle
By Alex Livie
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The under strength Magpies were full of effort, with Shola Ameobi coming out of the game with real credit, but their defensive frailties were cruelly exposed by Barca`s array of forwards.
Dani, Patrick Kluivert and Thiago Motta were on target for the Catalans, although Newcastle briefly drew level through the excellent Ameobi.
Ultimately, Newcastle were undone by defensive lapses, with only keeper Shay Given preventing a heavier beating.
Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson will have urged his troops to stay focused in the early stages, but they were nearly undone inside three minutes as Marc Overmars, the main threat all evening, teed-up Kluivert but he mis-kicked his shot.
The Magpies carry an attacking threat, and Laurent Robert was only denied a run on goal by a linesman`s flag.
Barca`s pressure took seven minutes to garner a goal, as Xavi`s expert cross eluded the Newcastle defence and enabled Dani to volley past Shay Given.
The Catalans are full of attacking vigour, but do have a tendency to go to sleep at the back and a neat piece of skill by Lomano Tresor Lua Lua freed Robert but Nolberto Solano failed to direct the Frenchman`s fizzed cross on target.
Attack appeared to be the best policy for Newcastle and a fine move brought an equaliser.
Solano jinked his way past two defenders before finding Kieron Dyer who spun and passed to Ameobi. The youngster showed great composure to stroke the ball into the bottom corner.
The goal sparked a period of confident attacking play from Newcastle.
Dyer escaped down the right but failed to deliver, Robert fizzed in a superb cross that was inches from Ameobi`s foot and Solano fired in a fantastic drive that forced Roberto Bonano into a fine diving save.
For all their attacking purpose, Newcastle are shaky at the back and Overmars teased Andy Griffin before laying the ball into the path of Kluivert who dispatched a low shot past Given, his 100th goal for Barca.
Newcastle went on the attack after the interval and Ameobi twice went close with headers.
The Magpies were, though, undone at a corner, with Dyer likely to receive a grilling for his poor effort.
A corner was headed on target by Motta, but should have been comfortably cleared by Dyer. However, the former Ipswich man appeared to be half-asleep against the post and let the ball tamely cross the line.
The third goal knocked the stuffing out of Newcastle and only alert goalkeeping by Given prevented Barca adding to their total.