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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 July 2005, 20:55 GMT 21:55 UK
Deportivo 2-1 Newcastle
Pedro Munitis (l) tangles with Newcastle's Celestine Babayaro
Newcastle suffered a narrow defeat against Deportivo in the first leg of their Intertoto Cup semi-final.

The Magpies struggled early on and fell behind when Ruben Castro sidefooted home Diego Tristan's cross.

Lee Bowyer levelled in spectacular style after half-time with a glorious volley into the top corner.

But Jorge Andrade restored the home side's advantage, striding forward from the half-way line and curling the ball past Shay Given with a precise shot.

Illness and injury had decimated the Newcastle squad ahead of the game at the Estadio Riazor.

Jermaine Jenas was absent with a hamstring injury and Nicky Butt played despite being laid low with a stomach bug in the hours leading up to kick off.

Striker Michael Chopra only made it on to the bench after suffering concussion on Saturday - meaning Alan Shearer started the game on his own up front.

Shearer was a virtual spectator in the opening 45 minutes as the Spanish side dominated.

Deportivo had already made several dangerous forays forward in the opening minutes before they took the lead on 11 minutes.

Tristan found space in the area and cut the ball back into the path of Ruben Castro who coolly side-footed home from 12 yards out.

Sergio went close soon after with a first-time effort from the edge of the area after a neat build-up, and Castro should have done better when Munitis again found him inside the area.

Another goal looked likely but Newcastle battled on until the break - and came out fighting in the second half.

They were on level terms on 47 minutes when a corner was not properly cleared and Bowyer smashed home a fantastic first-time strike.

At last the Magpies were competing, but it was not long until they were behind again.

Deportivo's imposing centre-half Jorge Andrade picked up the ball in the centre-circle and was allowed to march into the Newcastle box.

No-one challenged him and the Portugese international composed himself before planting the ball into the bottom corner for a superb solo goal.

The chances dried up for both sides in the final half hour as their lack of fitness began to show.

Munitis went close for Deportivo with a smart volley on the turn, while Chopra almost slid home Charles N'Zogbia's cross at the far post for the Magpies.

Despite the defeat there was plenty of encouragement for Graeme Souness and his side, and the tie is wide open ahead of the return leg at St James' Park on 3 August.


Deportivo La Coruna: Molina, Manuel Pablo, Andrade, Romero, Capdevila, Munitis, Duscher (Victor 70), Sergio, Luque (Scaloni 61), Ruben Castro, Tristan (Valeron 56).
Subs Not Used: Gomes, Munua, Juanma, Hector.

Booked: Ruben Castro, Capdevila.

Goals: Ruben Castro 11, Andrade 58.

Newcastle: Given, Carr, Boumsong, Taylor, Babayaro, N'Zogbia, Bowyer, Butt, Faye, Milner (Chopra 71), Shearer.
Subs Not Used: Elliott, Harper, Ramage, Brittain, Huntington.

Booked: Carr, Taylor.

Goals: Bowyer 47.

Att: 16,000

Ref: Serge Gumienny (Belgium).




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