Referee leaves Middlesbrough's Uefa tie in balance, says Parlour

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Ray Parlour fears that the referee, Edo Trivkovic, has dealt Middlesbrough's chances of Uefa Cup glory a blow.

Ray Parlour fears that the referee, Edo Trivkovic, has dealt Middlesbrough's chances of Uefa Cup glory a blow.

The Croatian official made a number of questionable decisions during Thursday night's 2-2 draw against Graz AK at the Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium. The most controversial was his verdict that Parlour had fouled Samir Muratovic late in the tie.

Although replays showed the midfielder fell over Parlour, the decision allowed Roland Kollmann to curl home a second equaliser from a free-kick and set up an uncomfortable return leg at the Riverside next Thursday. There were also dubious cautions for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Chris Riggott, and they are among seven Boro players on one yellow card for the competition. Gareth Southgate was also booked and he and Parlour are on two yellows and one away from suspension.

"It was never a foul," Parlour said. "The fella is six foot three, 13 stone five, and he fell over as if someone had pole-axed him. Maybe I should have fell over with him and the referee would have played on. But he was never going to get the ball. I was baffled by it. I've played in Europe a lot and that was one of the worst decisions I've seen.

"All I did was stand my ground and he ran straight into me. There was nothing I could do. I couldn't get out of the way." Boudewijn Zenden and Hasselbaink scored Boro's goals.

Newcastle United will face Chelsea in the FA Cup tomorrow in buoyant mood thanks to their exploits in the Uefa Cup, according to their manager, Graeme Souness.

Newcastle came from behind to beat Heerenveen on Thursday and Souness believes their revival will be a tonic against the Premiership leaders at St James' Park.

"We should take a great deal of confidence from the game in Holland," Souness said, referring to the 2-1 victory. "We were involved in a hard football match and we went a goal behind but dug in and got a result.

"We didn't need to win in Heerenveen to be up for the game with Chelsea as it was always going to be a monster match. Chelsea are the team to beat at the moment because they're top of the Premiership, which is some achievement, but we'll start at 0-0 and it will be up to us to go after them in a sensible way and not leave ourselves exposed when we chase them.

"FA Cup ties are always exciting and I just hope we give a good account of ourselves. Chelsea have a fantastic squad and whoever they put out it will be a hard game for us.

"I'm not too interested in whether stopping Chelsea doing the quadruple would be a feather in my cap. All I'm interested in is us getting a result in whatever shape or form it comes," Souness added.

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