By Ofer Ronen-Abels at Ramat Gan stadium
Alan Shearer and Patrick Kluivert scored five times between them as Newcastle United FC eased into the UEFA Cup group stage with a comfortable win at Hapoel Bnei Sakhnin FC.
The Dutch international found the net twice to add to his two goals in the first-leg in England a fortnight ago, but it was 34-year-old Shearer who took the plaudits with a hat-trick that took him past 350 club goals in an illustrious career.
Sakhnin's coach Eyal Lachman had been hoping the heat wave Israel is currently experiencing would prove an advantage to his players by sapping the energy of their opponents. But it was Newcastle who made the more spirited start, and Kluivert scored a crucial away goal on nine minutes after Jermaine Jenas skipped past two defenders and cleverly back-heeled to the striker.
The goal was a huge blow for the home side and although Alain Masudi pulled a goal back just four minutes later after Andy O'Brien's poor clearance had gifted Sakhnin possession, it still left them needing to score three times without reply. It was to prove to great a task as Newcastle's new manager Graeme Souness once again justified his decision to use Kluivert and Shearer in tandem.
Shearer's former strike partner, Craig Bellamy, also appeared to revel in his new role on the right flank, constantly harrying the home defence. But it was an attack down the other flank that led to Newcastle regaining the advantage on 38 minutes, Lee Bowyer cutting inside and forcing goalkeeper Energy Murambadoro into a parry, with Shearer on hand to sweep the ball into the net. Kluivert then added his second of the night four minutes later after good work by Laurent Robert.
Steven Harper replaced Shay Given in the Newcastle goal at half-time, but it made no difference to the side's marauding front line, and seven minutes after the restart Shearer converted a penalty after Jenas had been brought down. The home side finished the game with ten men, after Murambadoro was sent off with two minutes remaining for handling outside his area.
By that time Sakhnin had used all their substitutes, so Khaled Khaliala took the gloves. The diminutive midfield player made a stunning save to keep out Shearer's free-kick but, never one to be outdone, the Newcastle captain completed his hat-trick in added time.