Kluivert and Shearer shine in Newcastle stroll

Newcastle United 2 Dynamo Tbilisi 0
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The Independent Football

If only it was always this straightforward for Newcastle United. They disposed of Dynamo Tbilisi last night in a manner bordering on the contemptuous and disproved the theory that there are no easy games in European competition.

Newcastle dominated every element of the match and, while goals from Alan Shearer and Craig Bellamy were scant reward for their control, a victory was the main concern of their manager Graeme Souness.

United have now won both their games in Group D and progress to the knock-out stage of the Uefa Cup is virtually guaranteed, with games against Sochaux and Sporting Lisbon still to come.

Both will provide a more formidable challenge than Dynamo, who were given respect by Newcastle, if nothing else.

They were out of their depth from the opening minutes last night and proved incapable of dealing with the movement and intelligence of players such as Shearer and Patrick Kluivert. Kluivert, in particular, contributed an accomplished performance.

But there were wasted opportunities and Souness admitted: "I'm a wee bit disappointed we didn't get more. We had a lot of chances and only took two. But our approach play was good and hopefully we are saving the goals for another match."

It was surprising that Dynamo survived for 38 minutes before Newcastle broke through and scored for the 100th time at St James' Park in European competition. Kluivert exposed a gap in the Dynamo defence with an angled pass that Shearer drove past goalkeeper Zurab Mamaladze in decisive fashion for his ninth goal of the season.

It did not get any better for Dynamo after the interval. Mamaladze dealt unconvincingly with a shot from Laurent Robert in the 49th minute and was culpable when Newcastle added their overdue second goal eight minutes later. He failed to clear a corner from the French winger and, when the ball fell to Bellamy near the penalty spot, he volleyed in powerfully with his weaker right foot.

Shearer again found a way through in the 73rd minute, but was offside and Kluivert was close to the goal he deserved with a shot in the final minutes.

More goals would have given the scoreline a more realistic appearance, but this was still a solid performance by Newcastle. Souness commented: "We have six points from two games and are top of the group and that's where we want to be."

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Given; Hughes, O'Brien, Elliott (Bramble, 70), Bernard; Bellamy, Jenas, Bowyer (Ambrose, 65), Robert; Kluivert, Shearer (Milner, 73). Substitutes not used: Harper (gk), Ameobi, Brittain.

Dynamo Tbilisi (4-5-1): Mamaladze; Kashia (Silagadze, 63), Salukvadze, Shashiashvili, Kvirkvelia; Aladashvili (Akhalaia, 63), Kankava, Kandelaki, Nemsadze, Kakaladze; Melkadze. Substitutes not used: Zoidze (gk), Dvali, Gancharov, Makharadze, Gigauri.

Referee: E Berntsen (Norway).