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Football: Champions' League: Newcastle finish campaign in the right vein

Newcastle United 2 Dynamo Kiev 0
Newcastle finished their Champions' League campaign last night as they had started it: by taking a notable Continental scalp at St James' Park. First- half goals by John Barnes and Stuart Pearce earned the victory which ensured Kenny Dalglish's team avoided Group C's wooden spoon.

In preventing Dynamo Kiev from advancing to the quarter-finals with the only unbeaten record in the competition, Newcastle finished two points ahead of the Barcelona team they beat on Tyneside back in September. They also claimed the consolation of pounds 240,000 in match prize-money, and a measure of pride in front of a 33,694 crowd, as their horizons narrowed from Continental matters to the pursuit of parochial honours.

"I think it speaks volumes for the lads that we've taken four points off Kiev," Dalglish said. "We certainly took the game seriously."

That much was evident when Faustino Asprilla appeared in the Newcastle starting line-up. Dalglish conceded that playing the Colombian against Arsenal on Saturday had been a mistake but he needed the one specialist striker at his disposal, with a near-capacity crowd packed into St James'.

Newcastle attacked from the start, Asprilla narrowly failing to connect with the cross Steve Watson delivered towards him from deep on the right. There was early evidence too, though, of Kiev's sharpness on the counter- attack.

Sergei Rebrov's blistering turn of pace left Alessandro Pistone helpless as the Kiev striker raced to meet what seemed to be an over-ambitious through ball, lofted from half-way by Yuri Kalitvintsev. Rebrov got his head to the ball but his effort looped over Shaka Hislop's crossbar.

There were only nine minutes gone when the ball was in the net at the other end. David Batty forged the opening, with a forceful run on the right, before slipping the ball to Barnes, who wrong-footed his marker and dispatched a right-foot shot into the bottom left corner.

It would have been swiftly followed by a second Newcastle goal but Robert Lee miskicked as he attempted to bury the chance Pistone served to him from the left wing. Newcastle, though, struck again in the 20th minute.

Or, rather, Pearce did. There was only one thing on the defender's mind when he touched an indirect free-kick to Lee just outside the left edge of Kiev's penalty area. The return ball was the cue for a hammering left- foot drive that was deflected as it flew past Alexandr Shovkovsky into the left corner of the Kiev net.

It was Pearce's first goal for Newcastle but the celebrations it prompted would have faded by half-time had Hislop not been in such agile form. The Newcastle keeper produced a brilliant one-handed save to keep out a thundering effort by Kalitvintsev and then denied Rebrov from point- blank range.

As well as a sizeable contingent from the Ukraine, the St James' crowd included representatives of Real Madrid, apparently attracted to Tyneside by the dazzling form Keith Gillespie produced in Newcastle's home win against Barcelona. The Bangor boy had little opportunity, however, to show that he was the Real thing on the wing.

Newcastle, in fact, struggled to pick up the attacking threads after half-time and just before the hour mark the tiring Asprilla made way for Temur Ketsbaia. The South American thus lost his chance of claiming the one goal he needed to equal Wyn Davies' record tally of 10 in Europe for Newcastle, though he departed to a standing ovation.

The same appreciation was afforded to Asprilla's colleagues at the final whistle. It was the end of the European Cup road for Newcastle, but the Toon Army were grateful for the ride.

Newcastle United (5-3-2): Hislop; Watson, Peacock, Albert, Pearce, Pistone (Hughes, h-t); Gillespie, Batty, Lee; Barnes, Asprilla (Ketsbaia, 57). Substitutes not used: Rush, Tomasson, Hamilton, Elliot, Given (gk).

Dynamo Kiev (4-4-2): Shovkovsky; Luzhnyi, Bezhenar, Mykhailenko, Dmitrulin; Volosianko (Radchenko, 79), Gusin (Venglinski, 79), Kalitvintsev, Kosovsky; Shevchenko, Rebrov. Substitutes not used: Kardash, Belkevich, Kernozenko (gk).

Referee: H Krug (Germany).