Newcastle United FC took a big step towards the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup as they defeated RCD Mallorca 4-1 with a superb second-half spell of football in their first leg match at St James' Park. Craig Bellamy, Alan Shearer, Laurent Robert and Titus Bramble all got on the scoresheet after Correa had given the visitors a surprising lead.
Mark of respect
As a mark of respect for the victims of the bomb attacks in Madrid, a minute's silence was observed before the game and both teams wore black armbands. The first half was as dull as the second half was thrilling, as neither side found any rhythm; chances were few and far between.
The best opportunity came after just three minutes. Nené delivered what looked an innocuous corner, but it somehow found its way to Samuel Eto'o at the near post. The striker made good contact but sent the shot wide of the near post. The rest of the half passed by with barely a goalmouth incident.
Newcastle came out after the break a different side, putting pressure on their visitors with a series of dangerous Robert corners. Then some good interplay between Shearer and Robert sent Bellamy free, but the Welshman shot straight at the goalkeeper from an admittedly difficult angle.
Then, on 58 minutes, Mallorca struck a sucker punch. Gary Speed gave the ball away unnecessarily to Eto'o who played a one-two with Alejandro Campano before striking the bar with a powerful effort. Correa was quickest to react and tucked away the rebound.
The St James' Park crowd stayed behind their team though and seven minutes later they were level. Bramble's long ball from the back was flicked on for Bellamy by the battling Shearer and the Welshman showed excellent composure when clean through to slot the ball past Leo Franco.
On 71 minutes Shearer's head was again instrumental, as he gave Sir Bobby Robson's side the lead. Robert’s whipped corner to the near post was too good an opportunity to pass up for the Newcastle captain and he duly thumped his header in.
Goals keep coming
Robert soon got in on the act himself, drilling a 74th-minute free-kick into the centre of the goal with Mallorca goalkeeper Leo Franco deceived by the curl. Goalscorer then turned provider as his free-kick from the right was volleyed in by Bramble.
Mallorca's troubles were compounded as left-back Edu Moya was sent off for his second bookable offence in conceding the free-kick from which Newcastle scored their fourth. The visitors also had six other players booked, of which David Cortés will also be suspended for the second leg.