Magpies crash out in Holland
By Lewis Rutledge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Newcastle United's Uefa Cup dream was ended as they lost 2-0 to AZ Alkmaar.
Newcastle United's Uefa Cup dream was ended as they lost 2-0 to AZ Alkmaar in Holland, leaving the final aggregate score at 4-4 and knocking them out on the away goals rule.
Following the excitement of the first leg at St James' Park expectations were high for a thrilling second act, but The Magpies failed to deliver and were comprehensively outplayed by AZ.
The Dutch side's formidable home record suggested Newcastle would find life difficult, and it took just 14 minutes for Shota Arveladze to break the deadlock.
Danny Koevermans then grabbed the crucial goal early in the second half, before AZ withstood a belated rally from Glenn Roeder's side in the dying stages to book their place in the quarter-finals.
Paul Huntington was selected at left-back but was targeted time and again as AZ threatened down the flanks, while the rest of Newcastle's backline looked equally ill at ease.
Arveladze's dangerous cross was an early warning for The Magpies and Shay Given had to scramble to his left to parry away Koevermans' clever flick.
But Newcastle did not take heed and the same two players combined to put AZ in front as Koevermans' low delivery from the right snuck past a daydreaming Steven Taylor and was turned home by Arveladze from close range.
Newcastle came close to an instant riposte as Kieron Dyer teed up Scott Parker on the edge of the area and he sent a dipping effort just over the crossbar.
Taylor was lucky to escape action for swinging an elbow at Koevermans, but Titus Bramble was booked for a poor challenge on Julian Jenner.
As the first half progressed Newcastle gradually started to gain a foothold in the game and restricted AZ's openings, although Huntington was fortunate not to concede a free-kick just outside the area for a mistimed tackle on Jenner.
Dyer and Obafemi Martins looked full of energy but Newcastle carried little threat in attack and AZ's defence could have been forgiven for not recognising their opponents from last week.
A moment of opportunism almost gave Newcastle a crucial away goal early in the second half but Dyer could not find the target from a narrow angle after beating the offside trap and skipping around Boy Waterman.
The miss proved costly as Koevermans escaped his marker and headed home Maarten Martens' corner in the 56th minute to bring the aggregate score back to 4-4 and put AZ in pole position to progress for the first time in the tie.
Koevermans almost clinched AZ's place in the last eight moments later as he rounded off a flowing move with an overhead kick which flew narrowly over.
Newcastle were finally forced to show more ambition as the clock passed the hour mark, and Parker worked Waterman with a low shot after being slid in by Nolberto Solano.
AZ still looked the most likely to strike next and Jenner forced Given into action at his near post after brushing off Huntington on the left wing.
A long clearance then sent Koevermans through one-on-one with Given and he rounded the keeper, but Taylor raced back to intercept the ball on the goal-line.
Huntington had to make another goal-line clearance shortly after as he headed away Moussa Dembele's scuffed shot following more good work by Arveladze.
With eight minutes remaining Dyer's perfectly weighted pass presented Martins with a golden opportunity, but the Nigerian delayed his shot long enough for Waterman to rush out and smother the danger.
Parker prodded the ball home following a goalmouth scramble but his effort was disallowed for a shove by Dyer on Barry Opdam.
Arveladze nearly scored a superb solo goal on the break as Given pushed his shot onto the woodwork, but it mattered little as Newcastle's long Uefa Cup run came to an end.
|AZ Alkmaar||Team Statistics||Newcastle United|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|7||Shots on Target||3|
|2||Shots off Target||6|