Toon Reign in Spain after a Real Rout

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), March 26, 2004 | Go to article overview

Toon Reign in Spain after a Real Rout


Byline: By Alan Oliver

It was a knockout punch that former world champion Nigel Benn, in the crowd at the Son Moix Stadium, would have been proud of.

And it left a Real Mallorca side which was already on the ropes down and out.

Miki led with his chin and Alan Shearer, surely the greatest fighter of them all, duly obliged, jabbing the ball into the net from fully 30 yards after the Mallorca keeper's weak clearance travelled straight to him.

And if Shearer had softened up Real Mallorca, it was adios to the Spanish side after a truly remarkable goal from Craig Bellamy when he ran half the length of the field within a minute of coming on as a 77th minute substitute for Gary Speed.

Bellamy's frustration at what had happened to him earlier in the week suddenly disappeared as he broke into a massive grin before being mobbed by his joyous colleagues.

And Bellamy and Shearer still weren't finished. The Welsh international slipped a perfect pass through to Olivier Bernard in the last minute and the Frenchman's cross was so perfect Shearer simply rolled it into the back of the net.

Shearer's first goal was in the first minute of the second half and it meant that what was to prove almost a mismatch over the two legs was well and truly over.

It also means that United's next bout will be back in Holland - and if they keep punching their weight as they did in the Son Moix Stadium last night, then PSV Eindhoven will also go the journey and Sir Bobby Robson's side will be through to the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup.

To be fair, everything was in United's favour last night. They had that 4-1 lead from the first leg, Real Mallorca fielded a weakened side and they rarely felt at home when they trotted out to a temperature which was said to be seven degrees but felt a heck of a lot colder.

Not surprisingly, United were the first to warm up, with Jermaine Jenas looking particularly dangerous. …

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