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  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 08:59 GMT
Newcastle stun Bayer
Newcastle celebrate Shola Ameobi's opener
Ameobi was at the double for Newcastle
Bayer Leverkusen 1-3 Newcastle

Sir Bobby Robson celebrated his 70th birthday in style with a crucial victory over Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.

Newcastle's makeshift strikeforce of Shola Ameobi and Lomano LuaLua delivered the perfect gift to football's favourite knight with three first-half goals.

The pair were drafted into the Newcastle side in the absence of the suspended Alan Shearer and Craig Bellamy.

And they gave Sir Bobby a night to remember as the Magpies collected their first points in the second phase.

Key moments
5 mins: Ameobi heads Newcastle into the lead
15 mins: Ameobi scores a superb second
25 mins: Franca pulls one back for Bayer
32 mins: LuaLua adds a third for the Magpies

The result leaves Newcastle third in Group A with three points and Bayer Leverkusen facing elimination from the competition they illuminated so brilliantly last season.

Bayer, for whom Francoaldo Franca scored to briefly threaten a comeback, were simply left to reflect on a season that has gone from bad to worse.

The German side sacked Klaus Toppmoller at the weekend, despite the curly-haired coach masterminding their passage to the Champions League final last year.

Toppmoller had forged an enterprising and exciting side, built on solid defensive foundations.

But there was no case for the defence under new coach Thomas Horster, whose wholesale changes simply let Newcastle torment the Leverkusen rearguard at will.

Thomas Kleine and the hapless Cris were the main culprits for Bayer, failing to contain the explosive threat of Ameobi and LuaLua.

Indeed, it was Cris who allowed LuaLua to skip free on the right side of the penalty area and whip in the inviting cross for Ameobi to head home Newcastle's opener.

Newcastle striker Lomano LuaLua
LuaLua scored a brilliant third

The Leverkusen defender then failed to deal with a simple through ball that fell kindly to Ameobi who, evading the challenge of Kleine, fired a superb left-foot strike past Hans-Joerg Butt.

Buoyed by their two-goal salvo, Newcastle unwisely opted to sit back and absorb the ensuing pressure from their shell-shocked hosts.

And Newcastle's own defensive frailties were soon exposed as Jan Simak played a clever one-two with Franco, who lifted the ball over the onrushing Shay Given to reduce the deficit.

That jolted Newcastle back into action and they capitalised on an error by the otherwise impressive Oliver Neuville to restore their two-goal advantage by half-time.

Neuville was dispossessed on the touchline, and Laurent Robert's cross from the left was met with an emphatic first-time volleyed strike by LuaLua.

Bayer improved after the interval, but despite the best efforts of Thomas Brdaric, who had a goal disallowed for offside and should have done better from close range, Newcastle held firm to make it party time for Sir Bobby.


Bayer Leverkusen: Butt, Preuss (Schneider 46), Cris (Callsen-Bracker 72), Simak, Basturk, Franca, Balitsch (Kaluzny 79), Ojigwe, Brdaric, Neuville, Kleine.
Subs Not Used: Starke, Zivkovic, Vranjes, Babic.

Booked: Balitsch.

Newcastle: Given, O'Brien, Jenas, Dyer, Speed, Hughes, Bramble, LuaLua (Chopra 84), Ameobi (Cort 84), Robert, Bernard.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Acuna, Griffin, Kerr, Caldwell.

Attendance: 22,500

Referee: T Hauge (Norway).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Dave Woods
"Newcastle were terrific in all areas in the first half"
Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson
"Our early play won us the game"

'Bayer Neverkusen' show no sign of living down their nickname after sacking Klaus Toppmoeller.Klaus kaput
Toppmoeller's fall from grace at Bayer Leverkusen

Wednesday's games

Tuesday's games

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