Newcastle prepare for long route into Europe

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The Independent Football

Newcastle learned yesterday the identity of the first of three clubs they could face in their opening Intertoto Cup match in July. Vasas of Hungary - whom Sunderland defeated on their first foray into Europe in 1973 - will enter the competition in the first round after finishing 13th in their domestic league.

Newcastle learned yesterday the identity of the first of three clubs they could face in their opening Intertoto Cup match in July. Vasas of Hungary - whom Sunderland defeated on their first foray into Europe in 1973 - will enter the competition in the first round after finishing 13th in their domestic league.

They will play an, as yet, unknown Slovakian side with the winners taking on a team from Turkey in the second round. The successful club in that tie will meet Newcastle in round three. Victory would hand Graeme Souness's men a place in the semi-finals and a chance of reaching one of the three finals, for which the prize is a Uefa Cup place.

For a side which has reached the second group phase of the Champions' League and the latter stages of the Uefa Cup in the last three seasons, that should be achievable. However, Marseilles and Borussia Dortmund are potential opponents as the competition comes to a head.

Vasas met Sunderland in the first round of the 1973-74 Cup-Winners' Cup following their FA Cup final victory over Leeds. Sunderland drew 0-0 in Budapest before winning the return leg 2-0 at Roker Park.

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