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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 August, 2003, 20:23 GMT 21:23 UK
Solano strike stuns Partizan
Partizan Belgrade 0-1 Newcastle

Partizan Belgrade's Igor Duljaj and Newcastle's Gary Speed challenge for ball
Gary Speed was making a club record 27th European appearance
Newcastle took a huge step towards the Champions League after securing an impressive away win against Partizan Belgrade in the first leg of the qualifying third round.

Nolberto Solano's opportunistic goal in the first-half decided the game as Bobby Robson's side safely negotiated their way through a tricky tie.

If Solano got the vital goal, Jonathan Woodgate also gave a commanding performance as Newcastle stifled Partizan's attacks.

Woodgate dominated in the air as well as distributing the ball with some elan.

Goalkeeper Shay Given also played a key role, notably just before the interval when he got across quickly to push away Andrija Delibasic' shot.

With 10 minutes remaining, Given made an even better stop when he quickly narrowed the angle and then flung himself to his left to stop Ivica Iliev's low shot.

And in the closing stages, the Newcastle keeper beat away a Taribo West effort as well as denying Nikola Malbasa and substitute Milan Stojanoski.

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Partizan struggled to create many clear efforts in the opening period, but improved after the interval when Partizan coach Lothar Matthaus replaced midfielder Igor Duljaj with Ljubinko Drulovic, who made an immediate impact.

Picking the ball up on the right, Drulovic delightfully flighted the ball into the area with the outside of his left foot, but when his cross reached Nebojsa Malbasa, the Partizan midfielder slammed his shot into the side-netting.

With Lee Bowyer suspended for six games in Europe, Robson had handed Solano the right midfield berth.

The Peruvian gave a disciplined display, diligently helping out Andy Griffin, as well getting forward to support Alan Shearer and Craig Bellamy.

That ability to get into attacking positions gave Newcastle the lead in the 39th minute.

Closely marked by West, Shearer was unable to reach Laurent Robert's cross from the left, but Solano prodded the ball home at the far post.

It was a fitting way to celebrate his making a club record-equalling 27th European appearance, along with Gary Speed and Given.

Pinned back by Partizan in the second-half, Newcastle struggled to create any attacking impetus after the interval, though Olivier Bernard did test Ivica Kralj with a fierce shot.


Partizan Belgrade: Kralj, Bajic, Dordevic, West, Cirkovic, Duljaj, Nand, Malbasa, Sasa Ilic, Delibasic, Iliev.
Subs: Radakovic, Savic, Rzasa, Zavisic, Cakar, Drulovic, Stojanoski.

Newcastle: Given, Griffin, Solano, O'Brien, Dyer, Shearer, Bellamy, Speed, Woodgate, Robert, Bernard.
Subs: Harper, Elliott, Jenas, Hughes, Bramble, Ameobi, Chopra.

Referee: Vladimir Hrinak (Slovakia).






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BBC Five Live's Ian Dennis
"Newcastle will be delighted with this display"




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