Bellamy off as Mags Slump

Last updated : 28 November 2002 By Matchday Correspondent

Newcastle slumped to their biggest ever European defeat when they were shot down 4-1 by Inter Milan in their second stage Champions League opener.

An expectant crowd was stunned after just 68 seconds when a mistake by Nikos Dabizas allowed Inter skipper Javier Zanetti to break clear on the right and whip in a low cross for Domenico Morfeo to drill a shot beyond Shay Given.

Newcastle's night of woe continued when Craig Bellamy lashed out at Marco Materazzi.

The incident was missed by the referee but spotted by his assistant and the Welsh international was shown a straight red card.

Newcastle skipper Alan Shearer can count himself very fortunate not to follow Bellamy after appearing to elbow Fabio Cannavaro.

Hugo Viana produced Newcastle's first attempt on goal after ten minutes with an inch-perfect free-kick for Dabizas, but the unmarked Greek defender saw his lunging header flash wide.

Shearer then headed over a Nolberto Solano cross from the right and the Peruvian was on hand again with a 25-yard free-kick that Francesco Toldo turned behind.

The gallant ten men fell further behind in the 33rd minute. Andy Griffin blocked Hernan Crespo's shot on the line but the ball was only cleared as far as the classy Matias Almeyda who crashed a stunning shot beyond Given.

Newcastle desperately needed the half-time whistle to enable them to regroup but it did not come soon enough as they went 3-0 down in stoppage time.

Aaron Hughes mistimed a challenge on the left and Okan skipped clear before crossing for Crespo to get in front of Dabizas and score at the near post.

It was now a damage limitation exercise for Newcastle but they rose to the occasion with a second-half revival.

It was due in no small measure to the introduction of French winger Laurent Robert following a spell out with a fractured cheekbone.

Robert relished the challenge and gave the Inter Milan defence plenty to think about with his shoot on sight policy.

Growing in confidence Shearer headed Solano's corner over the bar before the Peruvian threw the Magpies a lifeline in the 71st minute when he was played in by Robert before beating Toldo.

However it was Inter who had the final say when substitute Alvaro Recoba netted with a stunning left-foot shot after 82 minutes to round off the scoring.