Newcastle United FC and AS Roma are both back in the hunt for UEFA Champions League quarter-final places after convincing victories on Matchday 10.
Shearer at the treble
Newcastle forward Alan Shearer had never scored a Champions League goal from open play before this evening - but two headed strikes in the first eleven minutes of his side's 3-1 Group A victory against Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Saint James' Park put paid to that unwanted record. For good measure Shearer blasted a 36th-minute penalty past Hans-Jörg Butt to notch the 15th hat-trick of his prolific career.
Leverkusen had earlier wasted a chance to get back into the game when França was brought down by Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given, only for Oliver Neuville to see his spot-kick saved by the Republic of Ireland goalkeeper. Marco Babic did score a finely-worked consolation goal for the German side in the second half, but it was not enough to prevent the 2001/02 finalists being eliminated from this season's competition.
Newcastle are still third in Group A, but they are now just one point behind second-placed Internazionale FC, who drew 0-0 with leaders FC Barcelona in a tight affair at the Giuseppe Meazza. The result brought to an end the Catalans' extraordinary run of eleven successive Champions League wins (including qualifiers). However, Barcelona only need one more point to be sure of a place in the last eight and still look odds-on to win the group. Newcastle and Inter, who face each other on Matchday 11, will fight it out for second place.
Roma hit three
Roma, without a point before tonight, threw Group B wide open with a shock 3-0 win at Valencia CF. Captain Francesco Totti gave his side the lead against the run of play with a header after 24 minutes and grabbed his second just six minutes later when he ran on to Cafu's low cross to bobble a right-footed shot into the net. Emerson's 36th-minute goal sent the away fans into further raptures and left the Spanish hosts shell-shocked.
The other Group B game between leaders AFC Ajax and Arsenal FC in Amsterdam finished goalless. Ajax therefore still lead the group with six points, with Arsenal second on the same tally. Valencia are third with five points, while Roma have three. All four sides still entertain hopes of reaching the quarter-finals going into Matchday 11, when Ajax are at home to Valencia and Roma visit Arsenal.
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