Newcastle United FC 0-1 Feyenoord
Sebastián Pardo's venomous volley was enough to earn a hard-working Feyenoord side a precious UEFA Champions League Group E victory at the expense of Newcastle United FC at St James' Park.
Feyenoord were sufficiently organised to deal with intense second-half pressure from the hosts and towering performances from Pierre van Hooijdonk and midfield player Kees van Wonderen kept a frustrated Newcastle side at bay.
Craig Bellamy had taken just 90 seconds to find the net in Newcastle's domestic game against Sunderland AFC last weekend and went close to repeating the feat when his left-foot shot slid across the face of goal in the first minute of a fast-paced game. The early break set the tone for a dazzling opening few minutes, which included a skidding shot from Laurent Robert before Feyenoord took a fourth-minute lead.
Van Hooijdonk's flicked header was poorly cleared by Newcastle centre-back Andy O'Brien and the ball fell to Pardo, who rifled an unstoppable left-foot volley high into the net from 17 metres. Moments later, with Newcastle shell-shocked, Thomas Buffel went close to doubling the visitors' lead after beating the offside trap but dragged his shot wide.
Emerton to the rescue
Newcastle began to recover from their shaky start and only a wonderful goalline clearance by Brett Emerton prevented Bellamy equalising after his shot beat the otherwise outstanding Edwin Zoetebier in the Feyenoord goal. Gary Speed also went close with a rasping 30-metre drive as the home side's momentum grew.
But despite their energetic thrusts forward, Newcastle looked far from confident at the back and after Van Hooijdonk and Chong-Gug Song both went close for the visitors, Nikolaos Dabizas and Shay Given almost conspired to hand Feyenoord a second goal when the defender played a pass behind Given, but the keeper scrambled back to recover.
Alan Shearer, who worked tirelessly throughout, went close with near-post efforts either side of half-time but the home side's best chance fell to Nolberto Solano on the hour. The Peruvian won the race to meet Robert's dipping centre but his diving header bounced down into the turf and sat up for Zoetebier to tip over the bar. From the ensuing corner, Shearer's bullet header was cleared off the line.
After Shinji Ono had a wasted a chance to put the game out of Newcastle's reach at the other end, the hosts went into overdrive. Robert saw his volley saved before setting up Bellamy, who hit the bar. Then seven minutes from time, with Feyenoord defending desperately, a golden chance fell to substitute Lomana LuaLua, but his volley from close range tore into the side-netting. It was simply not Newcastle's evening.