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UEFA Europa League
23 August 2012
• Stadio Peristeriou, Athína (Athens)
Referee: A. Yefet
• Attendance: 5002
D. Epstein 24'
R. Taylor 45'+
A second string Newcastle team recovered after an awkward start, during which Denis Epstein opened the scoring and caused Tavernier all sorts of problems. Ryan Taylor's free-kick on the stroke of half-time brought them level and an improved second half display was enough to hold on for the draw. Alan Pardew's side will certainly fancy their chances in the return leg back on Tyneside.
FULL TIME: Atromitos 1-1 Newcastle
90' + 1'
One last throw of the dice from a Taylor corner but Atromitos hold firm to clear the ball from danger. Three minutes to be added on.
Adam Campbell gets an effort in on goal. A heavy through ball means he has to bust a gut to get on the end of it, and in the end he could only steer a tame effort into the arms of Itandje.
Obertan wins a corner with 3 minutes left to play. Ryan Taylor as always steps up to take it but the referee spots a foul by a Newcastle player and blows for a free-kick.
Newcastle look happy to just see this one out with their league match against Chelsea only 48 hours or so away. They might just have one final flourish, but it seems they have been instructed to not exert themselves any further.
Ten minutes for Newcastle to hang on to what would be a good first-leg result, with the return leg still to come at the Sports Direct Arena.
Huge chance for the hosts to take the lead! Giannoulis gets in behind Tavernier but scuffs his half volley well wide of the goal, what a let off for Newcastle.
17-year-old Campbell comes on in place of Cisse, already dubbed 'the next Michael Owen', a big sign of faith shown from Pardew in his young forward.
Great move by Newcastle! Obertan does fantastically well to break from his own half and fly past the Atromitos midfield before sliding a pass across the pitch into Cisse, who back-heels a neat pass into the path of Amalfitano but Itandje comes out to smother the Frenchman.
Jonas Gutierrez comes on for the Magpies as they look to grab a valuable second goal to put the themselves in firm control of the tie.
Williamson appeals for a penalty after having his legs taken away from him inside the area, referee is not convinced.
What a chance! Obertan plays another high cross into the box and Itandje flaps at it first time round, allowing Cisse to take a touch and open up his body to slot it in, but the Atromitos keeper does well to recover and ultimately spare his own blushes. Cisse will rue that missed opportunity.
Another long range effort from Iglesias, a better strike than his previous one but Harper is again untroubled.
Change for the hosts as Karamanos replaces Kuqi and the wonderfully named Chumbinho takes to the field. Big things are expected for the young Greek forward Karamanos, he won't have ever played on a bigger stage than this.
Taylor picks out Papiss Cisse in the box but the strikers first touch is sloppy and the chance breaks down. The visitors are well on top now, with Atromitos' main threat Denis Epstein subdued so far in the second half.
A corner for Newcastle is earned from a long throw by Taylor, the goalscorer then also swings in the corner but Itandje does well to palm it away from danger.
Cisse is operating in a wide right role at the beginning of the second period, perhaps a ploy by Pardew to stretch the host's defensive line.
A poor volley from Kuqi after showing good control with his chest and head, the brother of the former Newcastle striker Shefki Kuqi showed good ability but got a bit carried away with his effort.
James Perch is dispossessed as he tries to play out of defence but Atromitos fail to make him pay for his mistake.
Half chance for Newcastle, Cisse works hard down the right and his cross is headed by Marveaux taking a deflection on its way into the keeper's arms.
Atromitos get the second half underway!
HALF TIME: Atromitos 1-1 Newcastle
Alan Pardew will be relieved to see his side go in level at the break. Newcastle certainly dominated possession but the hosts created the better of the chances in the first 45 minutes, despite that one swing of Ryan Taylor's right boot and the Magpies are in the more commanding position.
Goal.com's Andrew Kennedy reports: 'Ryan Taylor, over the wall!' will be the chants greeting Newcastle as they leave the field for half-time in Athens. The full-back pulls out a superb strike from a free-kick from 25 yards out after Atromitos had conceded the foul on the stroke of half-time. It's more than Alan Pardew's side deserve after an opening 45 minutes in which they have failed to get going. No doubt the Magpies will still be in for a wake-up call during the break from their manager, but they will surely hope to push on after the restart
45' + 1'
Pick that out! Ryan Taylor scores with a peach of a free-kick with literally the last kick of the first-half. Itandje had no chance of keeping that one out. Wonderful time to score what could be a crucial away goal. Game on.
45' + 1'
GOAL!!! Atromitos 1-1 Newcastle (R.Taylor)
45' + 1'
Free-kick to Newcastle about 30 yards from goal.
Tavernier's cross from the right is deflected out of touch, but the referee signals for a goal-kick much to the right-back's bemusement. Into the final minute of the half, with one extra minute to be added on.
Atromitos' lack of ambition since going ahead is clearly evident through the movement of Epstein. The star performer in this match so far, is no longer interested in getting in behind Tavernier.
Since going ahead Newcastle have enjoyed the majority of the possession, if they can keep that up the Greek side will eventually tire towards the end of the game and that just might provide a few openings for Cisse and co to exploit.
Finally a solid bit of keeping from Itandje. The Atromitos keeper does well to snatch a ball hung up into the area by Obertan.
Chance for Newcastle as they win a free-kick on the left hand side. It's taken by Ryan Taylor who goes for goal with a well hit effort which forces a decent save from Itandje. Might have been better off going with a more lofted cross on that occasion.
Corner for Newcastle is taken by Marveaux but Atromitos are defending in numbers now and will look to hurt the Magpies on the break. This is not going to plan as far as Alan Pardew is concerned.
Better from Newcastle, Obertan squares up to the right-back and beats him with a drop of the shoulder before swinging a low cross in for Cisse. Nothing comes from it but Pardew will hope for more of the that sort of tenacity.
Oh dear, can't say it wasn't coming. Tavernier gets caught out yet again by a ball over the top and this time Newcastle are made to pay. Epstein times is run to perfection and beats Harper with a fine first time finish.
GOAL!!! Atromitos 1-0 Newcastle (Epstein)
Outrageous bit of goalkeeping from the Atromitos stopper nearly gifts Newcastle a goal. Tavernier swings a cross in from the right and Itandje comes rushing out and attempt to catch the ball in one hand and makes a right hash of it but Newcastle waste the corner, a real let off for the Greeks.
Epstein is in again behind Tavernier, but this time he goes alone but couldn't find a finish from a tight angle.
It's a very warm and energy sapping evening in Athens, the tempo of the game is a reflection of the that, everything is happening at a leisurely pace at the moment.
Epstein swings a decent cross in from the left flank, he looks like a threat. The German showed good pace to get behind Tavernier but he couldn't pick out a team mate in the box.
Obertan misplaces two simple passes as he tries to combine with Tavernier down Newcastle's right-hand side. If those two can neaten up their exchanges they might have some joy.
Iglesias tries his luck from all of 30 yards out with a wild strike which sails well over the bar and out for a goal-kick. Atromitos are playing they way back into the match.
Epstein looks like an outlet for the Greeks on the left hand side, with young Tavernier bombing forward from right-back that may be a potential area that Bejavic's men will look to exploit this evening.
First effort of the game for the hosts, Kuqi gets on the end of a low cross but his side-footed volley doesn't trouble Harper, who incidentally is making his first start in 16 months, an early touch of the ball will do him no harm at all.
Goal.com's Andrew Kennedy reports: Solid start for 20-year-old right-back James Tavernier, who looks set to play a key role tonight with Atromitos already looking to play the ball in behind on the flanks when going forward. Newcastle are dominating possession in the early stages, and knocking the ball around freely up until the final third.
Only five minutes in to this game, but this is promising stuff for the visitors. Vurnon Anita in particular looks very comfortable on the ball in central midfield.
Decent start for the Magpies, they've settled on the ball very quickly which will certainly please Alan Pardew.
Newcastle kick-off to get the match underway!
The teams are out and we are moments away from kick-off...
We're nearing kick-off here in Athens, it's an incredibly warm evening in the Greek capital and Atromitos are expecting a decent crowd by their standards for what is a rare outing in Europe for the club.
The Magpies are back in Europe for the first time since 06/07 when they managed to make the last 16 of what was then known as the UEFA cup.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has made nine changes from the weekend win over Tottenham, with defender James Perch and frontman Papiss Cisse keeping their places in the starting line-up.
Newcastle (4-2-3-1): Harper; Tavernier, Perch, Williamson (c), R Taylor; Bigirimana, Anita; Obertan, Gosling, Marveaux; Cisse. Subs: Krul, Santon, S Taylor, Cabaye, Gutierrez, Amalfitano, Campbell.
Dusan Bajevic names his strongest possible eleven for what will be Atromitos' third match in European competition in their history. Former Liverpool keeper Charles Itandje and former Birmingham, Blackpool and Stevenage striker Njazi Kuqi will be the two names familiar to fans of English football.
Atromitos (4-5-1): Itandje; Skondras, Fitanidis, Lazaridis, Giannoulis; Iglesias, Dimoutsos, Brito, Beljic, Epstein; Kuqi. Subs: Tavlaridis, Nastos, Chumbinho, Pitu, Radman, Karagounis, Karamanos
Hello ladies and gents! Welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play coverage of Atromitos vs Newcastle United in the Europa League. Both sides are 180 minutes away from the competition proper, so stick with me, Husmukh Kerai, for all the action live!
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