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Alan Shearer's eleventh UEFA Cup goal this season was all that separated Newcastle United FC and Sporting Clube de Portugal at St James' Park following a closely-fought quarter-final first leg.
Both teams take impressive records into the return at the Estádio José Alvalade, where Sporting have won four of their five UEFA Cup games this season. Newcastle's statistics are even more impressive having won on all five of their trips away from England.
The sides also met in the UEFA Cup's inaugural group stage. Their Group D encounter in England's north-east, where Sporting would return in the Round of 16 to defeat Middlesbrough FC 3-2, finished 1-1 - although both sides were already realistically assured of their places in the knockout stage before kick-off. In the event, Craig Bellamy put the home side ahead after five minutes but Custódio equalised shortly before half-time.
That game represented the second time that the clubs had been drawn together in Europe, and Newcastle will have fond memories of their first encounter. The teams met in the second round of the 1968/69 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, a tournament Newcastle went on to win. The first leg in Portugal was drawn 1-1 and the return was settled by Bryan Robson's solitary early goal. In the 35 seasons since lifting that trophy - by defeating Hungarian side Újpesti Dosza SC in the final - Newcastle have not won a single major domestic or European honour.
Newcastle have met two other Portuguese clubs, both in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, and each time failed to win away. Their progress to the 1969 final also featured a 6-4 aggregate win against Setubal club Vitória FC at the quarter-final stage, after the English club had built a 5-1 lead from the home leg. The following season, Newcastle defeated FC Porto in the second round 1-0 on aggregate.
Sporting are unbeaten in Lisbon against visiting clubs from England, most recently recording a 1-0 win against Middlesbrough. Manchester United FC were defeated in the 1963/64 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, Sunderland AFC were eliminated from the same competition 3-2 on aggregate ten years later and Southampton FC made way in second round of the 1981/82 UEFA Cup. The Saints lost 4-2 at home and drew 0-0 in Portugal.
Sporting's 1964 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final tussle with United produced one of the all-time great European comebacks, after the Portuguese club lost the first leg at Old Trafford 4-1, with Denis Law's hat-trick and a goal from Bobby Charlton seemingly giving the English club an unassailable lead. But Sporting found a hat-trick hero of their own in Osvaldo Silva in the return leg, as Sporting won 5-0 en route to lifting the trophy by defeating another Hungarian side, MTK Budapest, in the final.
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