Shola gives Sir Bobby birthday bonus

Last updated : 19 February 2003 By FootyMad

Sir Bobby Robson received the dream 70th birthday present he so much wanted when Newcastle recorded the biggest Champions League away win in their history.

A stunning first-half display left last season's beaten finalists shell-shocked as Newcastle's makeshift strikeforce of Shola Ameobi and Lomana Lua Lua struck three goals.

Urged on by 1,400 travelling fans, Newcastle took the game to the Germans who made eight changes after having slipped to their fifth successive League defeat on Saturday as they plunged to fourth bottom.

Without the suspended Alan Shearer and Craig Bellamy, Newcastle's stand-in strikers relished their chance of glory.

United made a dream start with an Ameobi goal after just five minutes. Lua Lua tricked two defenders on the right before picking out Ameobi with an inch-perfect cross to produce a simple close-range header.

It got even better for dominant Newcastle on 16 minutes with England Under-21 international Ameobi once again the inspiration with his third Champions League goal of the season.

While Brazilian defender Cris hesitated, Ameobi nipped in and went around Thomas Kleine before beating Hans-Jorg Butt from the edge of the box.

If anything it was all too easy for United and they were brought back to earth on 26 minutes when Jan Simak played in Franca to lift the ball over Shay Given to pull it back to 2-1.

Even then Leverkusen could not capitalise on their lifeline as Newcastle again raised their game and bossed the match.

Oliver Neuville trying to keep the ball in play only succeeded in setting up an interception for Olivier Bernard to release Laurent Robert on the left and the Frenchman's cross was rifled in by Lua Lua to restore Newcastle's two-goal advantage and earn him his first Champions League goal.

Leverkusen were more purposeful after the break and Thomas Brdaric had a header disallowed for offside and put a golden opportunity wide.

Lua Lua missed a clear chance in the closing stages, but it didn't matter as this was all about Newcastle and in particular that five-star first-half showing.