By Luke McLaughlin
Newcastle United FC overcame a determined SC Heerenveen side with a 2-1 second-leg victory at St. James' Park to match their triumph in the Netherlands last week and book their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup.
The Dutch side had their work cut out once Michel Breuer's own goal had put Newcastle further ahead on aggregate. Alan Shearer doubled the home side's lead and even though Arnold Bruggink pulled one back for the visitors, it is Graeme Souness's side who will face Olympiacos CFP over two legs next month.
Kieron Dyer recovered from flu to start in midfield with Lee Bowyer suspended after his dismissal last week. Patrick Kluivert was suffering from a thigh strain, and Souness was also without Robbie Elliott (knee). Influential Polish midfield player Arek Radomski returned to the Heerenveen lineup having missed the first leg through illness.
The visitors started strongly, Klass Jan Huntelaar forcing a good save from Shay Given on eight minutes, striking powerfully from the edge of the penalty area. But the evening took an ominous turn for the visitors two minutes later when Breuer turned a low cross from Laurent Robert, who had been released by Shearer's excellent flick, into his own net.
Newcastle became even more comfortable a quarter of an hour later when captain Shearer smashed a low free-kick which goalkeeper Brian Vanderbussche could only palm into the net. The Belgian keeper had looked nervous under almost relentless pressure and the onslaught continued right up until half-time.
Dyer made way for Jermaine Jenas at the break, displaying Newcastle's superior strength in depth, and the home side dictated the pace of the game for much of the second half. But there was a glimmer of hope for Heerenveen with eleven minutes remaining as Shola Ameobi briefly turned defender in his own area, challenging substitute Marcel Seip in the air and only succeeding in handling the ball. Bruggink made no mistake from the penalty spot.
Suddenly it looked as if the Dutch team could get back into the tie - Victor Sikora fired in a fine volley from a Ugur Yildirim corner which Ameobi cleared and Mika Väyrynen went close at the death. But it was too little, too late for the outclassed Eredivise outfit.