Martins' double downs Dutch
By Chris Stanton
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Obafemi Martins claimed two goals as Newcastle beat AZ Alkmaar 4-2.
Obafemi Martins claimed two goals as Newcastle beat AZ Alkmaar 4-2 in the first leg of their Uefa Cup last 16 tie at St James' Park.
In a remarkably open first half that harked back to Kevin Keegan's reign on Tyneside, the hosts raced into a 4-1 lead.
Damien Duff had already seen one delivery tease an opening goal when the Irishman teed up Kieron Dyer to cross into the box and, with Martins lurking, Gretar Steinsson turned the ball past his own goalkeeper with just eight minutes on the clock.
Martins headed off target but Dyer doubled his team's lead 22 minutes in with a smart chipped finish from Antoine Sibierski's flick.
It was 3-0 just a minute later. Scott Parker won the ball in midfield and Martins turned inside two defenders before firing in a low shot for the goal of the game.
After an awful start, AZ regained a measure of composure and, after Maarten Martens rattled in a shot that Shay Given parried, Shota Arveladze's spectacular header from Danny Koevermans's cross found the back of the net via the underside of the crossbar.
AZ sensed a reprieve but the Eredivisie side fell three goals adrift once more in the 37th minute when Nolberto Solano crossed from the right and Martins swept a low shot into the bottom left hand corner.
A hugely entertaining half ended with Koevermans's drive from distance forcing Given to push the ball away.
The hosts survived another scare eight minutes into the second half when Tim de Cler's shot prompted a spot of pinball, while a superb tackle from Titus Bramble denied Koevermans a shot on goal.
Duff slipped at the vital moment when another goal threatened but the second half, not surprisingly perhaps, was a more low-key affair.
AZ struck again in the 73rd minute after Steven Taylor was adjudged to have handled a cross from substitute Moussa Dembele inside the penalty area.
Dembele's initial kick was stopped by Given and the player then fluffed an opportunity from the rebound but the ball did eventually find its way into the back of the net at the third time of asking from the more assured boot of Koevermans.
Martins had a glorious chance to claim his hat-trick nine minutes from time but, when through on goal, struck his shot too close to Boy Waterman - Glenn Roeder will hope that miss does not come back to haunt his team in next week's second leg in Holland.
|Newcastle United||Team Statistics||AZ Alkmaar|
|4||1st Half Goals||1|
|5||Shots on Target||6|
|4||Shots off Target||2|