Magpies raid Olympiakos nest as Greeks gift victory

Newcastle 3 Olympiakos 1

Goals from Alan Shearer, Laurent Robert and Patrick Kluivert gave the Magpies a healthy advantage to take to St James’ Park next Wednesday, although Predrag Djordjevic’s 16th-minute penalty reduced arrears for the nine-man hosts.

Souness’ men were deserved winners as Spanish referee Arturo Ibanez flashed his cards regularly.

But the delighted Scot believes there is still work to be done to reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup.

“It is not over,” he said. “We still have a job to do in the second game. I have been in professional football 37 years and nothing is over until it is over in football.

“But I cannot be disappointed, winning 3-1 away from home here. They have not lost here in Europe, I think I’m right in saying, and we cannot be disappointed with a 3-1 win.”

The game got off to an explosive start when, with just 13 minutes gone, Grigorios Georgatos was dismissed for pushing Kieron Dyer as he attempted to head a loose ball into the empty net.

Shearer blasted the resulting penalty past keeper Antonis Nikopolidis to give the visitors a dream start, but Olympiakos, who had not previously conceded a goal at the Karaiskaki Stadium in Europe this season and had given away only three in total during the whole campaign to date, were back on terms within three minutes.

Andy O’Brien was adjudged to have fouled Ieroklis Stoltidis inside the box and Djordjevic duly obliged to make it 1-1. However, Laurent Robert’s 34th-minute free-kick restored Newcastle’s lead and after Athanasios Kostoulas had been sent off two minutes before the break for a second bookable offence, the Greeks were under pressure. It took the Magpies 24 minutes of the second half to complete victory when Kluivert slotted home after good work by substitute James Milner, leaving Souness to congratulate his players on their discipline.

The home side were furious with the referee, and fans, who have already incurred three bans this season, hurled missiles on to the pitch, one appearing to catch Newcastle substitute Charles N’Zogbia.

However, Souness had few arguments with the official’s display.

“I have only seen our penalty after the game and in my view, it was a penalty,” he said.

“The second one, I have not seen, but my players tell me it was a penalty.”

Olympiakos coach Dusan Bajevic was diplomatic over Ibanez’s performance but admitted his side is up against it at St James’ next week.

He said: “I respect my colleague’s comment that it is not over until it is over. I am not quite sure whether he really believes it, but that is his job and that is what he should do. Probably if I was in his shoes, I would do the same thing.”

OLYMPIAKOS: Nikopolidis, Mavrogenidis, Schurrer, Kostoulas, Anatolakis, Maric, Stoltidis, Djordjevic (Kafes 76), Georgatos, Rivaldo (Giovanni 65), Okkas (Pantos 65).

NEWCASTLE: Given, Carr, Andrew O’Brien, Bramble, Hughes, Dyer (Jenas 60), Butt, Faye (N’Zogbia 84), Robert (Milner 60), Shearer, Kluivert.

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