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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 September 2006, 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK
Levadia Tallinn 0-1 Newcastle
By Chris Bevan

Antoine Sibierski
Sibierski was a deadline-day signing from Manchester City
Antoine Sibierski scored on his Newcastle debut as the Magpies won the first leg of their Uefa Cup first-round tie with Levadia Tallinn in Estonia.

Sibierski met Damien Duff's free-kick at the back post and his header bounced off a defender and flew into the net.

Newcastle had plenty of early openings but could not close the game out.

They were almost punished when Shay Given had to parry a ferocious shot by Vladimir Voskoboinikov and Konstantin Vassilijev skied the rebound.

But Glenn Roeder's side will still be favourites to clinch a place in the group stages when the sides meet again in the second leg at St James' Park on 28 September.

The Magpies made a bright start and should have scored more than the one goal they did manage in the opening stages.

Sibierski, who replaced the injured Shola Ameobi up front, was perfectly placed in the fourth minute when Charles N'Zogbia's cross was allowed to reach him in the box but shot wide from six yards out.

However, it was not long until the deadline-day signing from Manchester City was on the scoresheet, the Frenchman leaping to reach Duff's 10th-minute free-kick and seeing his header somewhat fortuitously end up in the net via a defender.

606 VIEW

The pace of Obafemi Martins had helped earn that free-kick and he and N'Zogbia were a constant thorn in the home side's defence.

N'Zogbia set Scott Parker free soon afterwards and Martins also ran clear to meet a ball over the top - with Levadia keeper Artur Kotenko saving well on both occasions.

But it was not all plain sailing for Newcastle, with Titus Bramble allowing Marek Lemsalu to ghost in and volley a deep free-kick just over Shay Given's cross-bar before half-time.

The Magpies looked shaky again at the back after the interval when Voskoboinikov cut inside before forcing a fine save from Given, and Vassilijev was first to the rebound only to miss the target by a mile.

But that was as good as it got for the Estonians, with Roeder's men finding defensive solidity as the game wore on.

By now Newcastle were showing none of their early attacking ambition, but were also giving nothing away at the back.

Levadia had plenty of possession in the closing stages but failed to create a clear-cut opening and were reduced to shooting ineffectively from distance by the end.

  • Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder:
    "We have got an away goal and a clean sheet, which was vital.

    "The first-half performance was very good but in the second half we did not look as sharp as you would expect.

    "Five or six players looked tired with 20 minutes to go which is unusual. But when we had to defend, we defended a lot better than we have been."

    Levadia Tallinn: Kotenko, Sisov, Lemsalu, Cepauskas, Kalimullin, Nahk, Dmitrijev (Kink 82), Vassiljev, Dovydenas (Sander Puri 71), Voskoboinikov, Andreev (Purje 65).
    Subs Not Used: Stonys, Deniss Malov, Regelskis, Marmor.

    Booked: Andreev.

    Newcastle: Given, Carr, Bramble (Milner 36), Moore, Ramage, Duff, Parker, Emre, N'Zogbia (Butt 73), Sibierski (Luque 80), Martins.
    Subs Not Used: Harper, Huntington, Bernard, Pattison.

    Booked: Moore.

    Goals: Sibierski 10.

    Att: 7,917

    Ref: Martin Ingvarsson (Sweden).


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