Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Euro Dream's over as Magpies Implode

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Euro Dream's over as Magpies Implode

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

The start of the new Premiership campaign is nine days away and already Newcastle can concentrate on domestic challenges.

Their latest European adventure over before the first weekend in August, United's season has got off to the worst possible start.

For those seeking reassurances the next 12 months will be an improvement on the last, there were few to be found at St James's Park last night as a team who excel in the art of self-destruction capitulated once more to crash out of the Intertoto Cup.

It may be a new season but the same old problems, which have stymied the Magpies for years, remain in abundance.

When they come to reflect upon their failure to secure Uefa Cup qualification, Newcastle's players can only have themselves to blame. Again.

Who else but United could throw away a winning position in such a haphazard fashion? Deportivo could not believe their good luck.

James Milner's goal had levelled this semi-final second-leg and, with the advantage of an away goal following a 2-1 defeat in the Riazor seven days earlier, Graeme Souness' side only had to hang on.

Yet the spirit of benevolence which has infuriated supporters for as long as they care to remember was all too evident again as Jorge Andrade and Pedro Munitis were invited to fire the Spaniards into the final.

It had all started so well as the mere presence of fresh faces ( Emre and Scott Parker were given home debuts ( gave the home supporters a fillip.

Their side responded during a vibrant opening period which suggested that Deportivo's fragile advantage could be overturned.

Yet for all their possession, a United team whose experimental formation offered an unfortunate indictment of the size of Souness' squad were unable to stretch the visiting defence and the tide soon turned.

A series of half chances ( shots from Sergio, Munitis and Diego Tristan came progressively closer to extending the aggregate lead ( bred mounting unease among the fans.

With Parker and Amdy Faye appearing to be performing the same holding midfield role, United's play became increasingly incoherent and the supply to Alan Shearer ( supported by Milner and Lee Bowyer ( soon dried up altogether.

A speculative attempt from Emre on 17 minutes did not cause Jose Molina serious problems. As the first half wore on, so La Coru-a's chances of preserving their advantage improved.

Quite how Joan Capdevila failed to fire Joaquin Caparros' side into a 30th-minute lead, only he will know.

The first corner of the match, delivered devilishly by Munitis, seemed to flick off the head of Shearer but, with the goal at his mercy, the defender somehow contrived to slice the ball high over the bar.

The Magpies had been highly-fortunate to have survived. …

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