Football: French test lies in wait for Newcastle

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The Independent Online
Newcastle United will meet the French side, Metz, in the third round of the Uefa Cup, with their manager, Kevin Keegan, confident that his side are well prepared for the challenge. "We respect Metz but we don't fear them," he said. "At the same time we are fully aware that French teams always seem to do well in Europe."

The Metz club president, Carlo Molinari, said: "Newcastle are obviously the most dangerous club we could have drawn. I have no doubt that they are future champions of England and they have great attacking potential."

Metz will be especially worried about David Ginola's return to home territory. Keegan said: "David will be going back to France and he will have the chance to show the French team manager what he is all about now."

Keegan's team, the only British representatives left in the draw in Geneva yesterday, will face a first leg away in the 27,000 capacity Saint-Symphorien stadium on 19 November. They will definitely be without their pounds 15m striker Alan Shearer, recuperating from last week's groin operation, but Keegan hopes he will recover in time for the second leg at St James' Park on 3 December.

Metz finished fourth in the French League last season, but are in a in mid-table position this season. They have played in the Uefa Cup three times in the past, but they have never progressed as far as the quarter- finals. They advanced to the third round this time by beating Sporting Lisbon 3-2 on aggregate.

Internazionale remain the favourites for the tournament, but their trophy- winning credentials were dented somewhat when they were taken to penalties by the unfancied Austrian side, Casino Graz, on Tuesday. Inter, who had Paul Ince sent off, won 5-3 on spot- kicks. The Italian side, trying for a third Uefa Cup in seven seasons, meet Boavista of Portugal. Unfancied before the tournament, Boavista progressed impressively with a 5-1 aggregate win over Dynamo Tblisi of Georgia.

The three German clubs to reach the last 16 avoided each other in the next round. Hamburg face arguably the sternest test after being paired with Monaco, Karlsruhe meet Aberdeen's conquerors, Denmark's Brondby, while Schalke 04 will play the Belgians, Club Bruges.

UEFA CUP Third-round draw: Metz (Fr) v Newcastle Utd; Monaco v Hamburg; Brondby (Den) v Karlsruhe (Ger); Tenerife (Sp) v Feyenoord (Neth), Anderlecht (Bel) v Helsingborg (Swe); Club Bruges (Bel) v Schalke 04 (Ger), Internazionale (It) v Boavista (Por), Valencia v Besiktas (Tur). First leg ties 19 November, second leg 3 December.