Ameobi fires Magpies to victory
By Lewis Rutledge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Shola Ameobi bagged a brace as Newcastle overcame Lillestrom 3-0 in Norway.
Shola Ameobi bagged a brace as Newcastle overcame Lillestrom 3-0 in Norway to book their place in the Uefa Cup.
Following a 1-1 draw at St James' Park the tie was delicately poised, but the gulf in quality was evident as The Magpies advanced without really breaking sweat.
Lillestrom set out their stall to frustrate Newcastle, packing bodies behind the ball and hoping to hold onto their slender away-goal advantage.
Their game-plan was effective early on as the Premiership side probed away without success, although they nearly crafted their own undoing when a casual back pass was nearly seized upon by James Milner.
Ameobi crashed a header just over the bar, but made amends on 29 minutes with a cool finish to fire Newcastle ahead.
Charles N'Zogbia forced a fine save out of Otto Fredriksson following a cleverly worked free kick, but Ameobi latched onto the rebound, shrugged off his marker, and placed his shot calmly into the bottom corner.
Lillestrom's organisation deserted them and Ameobi added a second seven minutes later. New skipper Scott Parker was afforded oceans of space down the right wing and picked out the unmarked striker at the back post with a pinpoint cross, presenting him with an opportunity he could not miss.
Needing three goals to win in the second half the Norwegians huffed and puffed admirably, and enjoyed the greater share of possession as Newcastle understandably took their foot off the pedal.
Substitute Arild Sonoget nearly reduced the arrears with a header that flashed just wide of the post, while Bjorn Riise also scuffed a shot off target when well placed.
Newcastle seemed content to just go through the motions, with the game appearing to be little more than an extended work-out.
They did finish with a flourish though, as Emre glided into position in the dying seconds and unleashed a fine shot from distance which left Fredriksson completely rooted to the spot.
The Toon Army can now breathe a little easier after a professional performance, and will be looking forward to the next chapter in their European adventure.
The draw for the second qualifying round of the Uefa Cup takes place next Friday.