Newcastle United 2 Levadia Tallinn 1 <i>(Newcastle win 3-1 on aggregate)</i>: Newcastle lifted by the magic of Martins

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The Independent Online

Prior to this ultimately gratifying game of two halves the Newcastle manager, Glenn Roeder, had bemoaned the fact that United's fans had not been privy to a bounty of priceless practice ground finishes by the forward who bravely inherited Alan Shearer's famous number nine shirt last month.

Just as those same supporters were beginning to clamour for hard evidence of their own, Obafemi Martins conjured a brilliant brace of memorable second-half goals, thereby guaranteeing his club's progress into this season's Uefa Cup group stage. If his audacious triple somersault celebration on a greasy pitch caused Roeder to wince, then a thrilling five-minute cameo will have been the source of much satisfaction for a coach unhappy with premature criticism of a player still finding his feet in England following six years with Internazionale.

"Some people have shown some impatience where Oba is concerned and that's typical of us in this country," said the manager confident enough in the Nigerian's ability to invest £10m in the 21-year-old. "It can take up to 12 months for foreign players to settle in to a new club and to be judging him so soon is absolutely ridiculous.

"We're delighted for him and I hope his two goals at St James' Park will prove to be the first of many."

A mundane first half swiftly gave way to a thrilling second sparked by the movement of Martins and the vision of the Turkish midfielder Emre. The Newcastle forward's first goal was a near-post header of towering precision and his second an opportunist strike from 19 yards which fizzed off a flashing left boot.

Martins' moments of inspiration sparked a frenetic second half as substitute Indrek Zelinski reduced the deficit for Levadia, heading home a measured cross from full-back Tihhon Sisov in the 65th minute and capitalising on a costly slip by the United goalkeeper, Steve Harper.

"I was told the Newcastle fans would love me if I scored goals here," said Martins. "I miss Milan but this is a new start and the manager does not need to worry about my somersaults. They're safe as long as you know how."

No doubt Roeder will gladly accept a repeat of Martins' nerve-racking celebration if it means the forward adding to his three-goal tally for the season at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Harper; Carr, Taylor, Bramble, Ramage; Milner, Butt, Emre (Parker, 81), N'Zogbia (Duff, 70); Sibierski, Martins (Luque, 70). Substitutes not used: Krul, Moore, Pattison, Ameobi.

Levadia Tallinn (4-4-2): Kotenko; Sisov, Lemsalu, Cepauskas, Kalimullin; Dovydenas (Puri, 55), Nahk, Vassiljev, Dmitrijev (Kink, 63); Purje, Voskoboinikov (Zelinski, 63). Substitutes not used: Stonys, Marmor, Malov, Regelskis.

Referee: K Jakobsson (Iceland).

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