‘Super Sib’ is having a season to remember. Signed by Newcastle United FC in a low-key deal just before the transfer deadline last summer, Antoine Sibierski has proved a revelation for the Premiership club.
Initially the Newcastle fans, used to big-name acquisitions like English internationals Michael Owen and Scott Parker, were sceptical of what a 32-year-old French midfielder signed on a free transfer could bring to the team. He quickly answered his doubters with a goal ten minutes into his debut, the UEFA Cup first round first-leg match at FC Levadia Tallinn. He has not stopped since, scoring four goals in seven UEFA Cup matches.
The most recent of these was when he skipped past two defenders to convert in last night’s 3-1 win at SV Zulte Waregem that left Newcastle with one foot in the Round of 16 before next Thursday’s return. It was a crucial third as the Belgian hosts had just cut Newcastle’s two-goal advantage in half through Karel D’Haene. It was the first strike the English club had conceded in six European away matches this season, including their UEFA Intertoto Cup triumph and the UEFA Cup second qualifying round.
While it was a great night for the bald-headed Sibierski, it was not so good for home defender Frédéric Dindeleux, his former LOSC Lille Métropole team-mate and the best man at his wedding. Dindeleux had started the scoring for Newcastle with an own goal early in the second half before Obafemi Martins made it two from the penalty spot. Should Newcastle finish the job next week then a tie against either Fenerbahçe SK or AZ Alkmaar, who drew 3-3 in Istanbul on Wednesday, awaits.
Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder, speaking to the club’s website, said: “I may be repeating myself about Antoine, but I cannot think of another free transfer signing last August that has been better than him. I cannot praise him enough as a man or as a footballer and he thoroughly deserved the goal he got. I said to him before the game that [Dindelux] was his friend before and after the game, but that in between he must cause him problems and overall Sib made it very difficult for his best pal.”
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