Passionate Toon impress all

Last updated : 12 March 2003 By Martyn Elliott

Daily Telegraph – Christopher Davis

Inter will be relieved they gained a share of the spoils last night because they were outplayed for long periods by a rampant Newcastle team whose attacking play deserved better reward.

Unfortunately for the visitors they conceded two soft goals, both headers, and both should have been prevented. Manager Sir Bobby Robson will rue the absence of the ineligible Jonathan Woodgate but he could have expected more from experienced players who should have dealt with the cross and free-kick which enabled Christian Vieri and Ivan Cordoba to score.

Alan Shearer scored two more goals and battled bravely against defenders who got to grips with him mostly in an illegal manner.

The Times – George Caulkin

While their prospects of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Champions League might have flickered and dimmed last night, Newcastle United mustered a performance of intensity and passion that will forever summon a glint in the eye of their supporters. It is 42 years since Inter Milan have been beaten by an English club at the San Siro, but that proud record was shaken and tested.

Sir Bobby Robson’s players will retain an active role in the competition until their final group A fixture, against Barcelona a week today, but that sound achievement is tempered by the knowledge that even victory over the Spanish club will not be good enough unless Inter fail to beat Bayer Leverkusen. That remains a dark, distant prospect.

The evening encompassed racist abuse directed at Titus Bramble and Olivier Bernard, flares and missiles being hurled at Newcastle’s team and 10,000 supporters, some sharp practice from Hector Cúper’s team and lax refereeing, but buried beneath the debris was a wonderful match, full of fury and finesse. The Italians play in black and blue, an appropriate motif.

The Scotsman – Massimo Marzocchi

Newcastle captain Alan Shearer claimed a Champions League double at the San Siro to write himself into the club’s history books on a night when his quarter-final dreams were left hanging by a thread.

Shearer twice fired the visitors into the lead on 42 and 49 minutes, to equal and then overtake Wyn Davies’ Magpies record, but Christian Vieri’s first goal in this season’s competition cancelled out the opener and then Ivan Cordoba equalised a second time to put Inter Milan in the driving seat for qualification.

The Guardian – Michael Walker

A match of enthralling drama, brilliant in its intensity and relentless in its excitement both legal and otherwise, ended with the teams level on the night but with Newcastle United feeling like losers in the group.

They are famed for their black and white but brown was another Newcastle colour last night. Browned off and covered in bruises, Newcastle left this cacophony of a game knowing that only an improbable draw between Bayer Leverkusen and Internazionale next Wednesday, coupled with a victory over Barcelona at St James' Park, will see Sir Bobby Robson's side into the last eight of the European Cup.

Newcastle needed to win and Alan Shearer twice gave them the lead, equalling Hughie Gallacher's 143-goal tally for the club in doing so.

But two towering second- half headers, the first from Christian Vieri, the second from the vicious Colombian defender Ivan Cordoba, meant that Inter had the point that maintains their advantage in the group.

But it was a proper heroic performance from Newcastle in an incredibly hostile environment. The racism directed towards Titus Bramble and Olivier Bernard was disgraceful but the gamesmanship on the pitch from players such as Cordoba, Fabio Cannavaro and Sergio Conceicao was also shocking.

The Portuguese referee Lucilio Batista was woeful

The Sun - Neil Custis

Who would have thought Newcastle would be in with the faintest sniff of a chance after also losing their first two games of the second stage.

They gave it everything in the San Siro in front of the 10,000-strong Toon Army who made the trip from Tyneside.

Their fans roared them on and when Shearer netted three minutes before the break the fairytale was fast becoming reality.

Christian Vieri's 47th-minute equaliser briefly quietened them down.

But Shearer scored again two minutes later to keep the fires alive.

Ivan Cordoba extinguished them with his 61st-minute header, though Gary Speed might have come up with the winner when he met Andy Griffin's cross.

Unfortunately his effort was straight at Inter keeper Francesco Toldo.

United had heroes all over the park. Titus Bramble, who has struggled since his £6million arrival from Ipswich, was a titan at the back, Speed a tiger in midfield and Shearer the predator in attack.

Daily Mirror

Newcastle star Titus Bramble was the target of racist abuse as two-goal Alan Shearer proved the hero of the San Siro.

The Newcastle defender had monkey noises directed at him by the Inter Milan crowd in the latest racist outrage to blight Europe this season.

Inter Milan are facing a UEFA probe and a huge fine after their fans shamed Italian football again.

Shearer kept Newcastle's Champions League hopes alive with two fantastic goals only to have the vital win snatched away twice by the battling Italians.

The Journal – Simon Rushworth

In a city famous as the home of Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper, the mercurial Alan Shearer was finally able to feast on an ill-tempered Italian defence.

On a night marred by the stomach-churning antics of Newcastle's play-acting hosts, both on and off the field, United's magnificent skipper gorged on sweet service to become the club's record goalscorer in Europe.

The previous holder of that landmark, that old warrior Wyn Davies, would have marvelled at the way his successor set about an irritable Internazionale.

In six previous matches against Italian opposition, Shearer had failed to score, but strikes five minutes either side of half time earned the Magpies a memorable draw.

That Christian Vieri and Ivan Cordoba were allowed to cancel out the former England international's sixth and seventh goals of a phenomenally productive Champions League campaign soured an otherwise perfect evening.

But if Newcastle now fail to make further progress in world football's elite club competition, then it will not be for the want of trying.