Sporting Clube de Portugal staged a heroic fightback to secure a place in the last four of the UEFA Cup after a dramatic win against Newcastle United FC kept alive their hopes of playing in the final here at the Estádio José Alvalade.
Kieron Dyer looked to have put Newcastle, 1-0 up from the first leg, through with his strike after 20 minutes, but Sporting - who needed to score three times - clawed their way back into the game with goals from Marius Niculae, Sá Pinto, Beto and, in stoppage time, Fabio Rochemback. The only disappointment for Sporting was that the man who scored the decisive goal, Beto, will miss the first leg of the semi-final against AZ Alkmaar in Lisbon through suspension after being booked.
From the start, Newcastle played on the counterattack, using the pace of Dyer effectively. After 20 minutes a long punt by Shay Given was flicked on by Jermaine Jenas and when Anderson Polga misdirected his header, the ball dropped loose and Dyer outsprinted Rui Jorge to finish between Ricardo's legs.
Back in contention
Sporting desperately needed a goal before the break. Moutinho saw a powerful volley well saved by Given before providing the excellent cross for the equaliser. With only five minutes left in the half, the 19-year-old's centre was met by Niculae, and the Romanian guided his header past Given.
Unfortunately for Newcastle, Dyer suffered a hamstring injury in the second half and had to come off after an hour's play. Nevertheless, Newcastle still threatened on the break and Patrick Kluivert, Dyer's replacement, missed an opportunity to put Alan Shearer clear to finish the tie on 69 minutes. It proved costly.
Sá Pinto strikes
Sporting took the lead on the night three minutes later. Niculae teed up Pedro Barbosa after Andy O'Brien failed to clear. The substitute's shot deflected off Taylor and although Given saved Sá Pinto was there to tap into the empty net.
The momentum was with Sporting and on 77 minutes came the crucial goal. Rochemback's corner allowed Beto to make amends for an earlier miss by thumping past Given. A stunned Newcastle tried to salvage the game but Rochemback's stoppage-time strike, after a Stephen Carr error, sealed it for Sporting. Alkmaar visit Lisbon for the semi-final first leg on 28 April, before Sporting visit the Netherlands a week later.
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