Newcastle United and Roma are still in the hunt in the hunt for UEFA Champions League quarter-final places after convincing victories against Bayer Leverkusen and Valencia respectively.
Former England striker Alan Shearer had never scored a Champions League goal from open play before – but he wasted little time in ending that unwanted record, scoring twice in the opening 11 minutes to set Newcastlle on their way to a 3-1 win.
Shearer added a third from the penalty spot after Kieron Dyer was impeded as he bore down on goal. Leverkusen had a wonderful opportunity to reduce the arrears but Oliver Neuville saw his spot-kick saved by the goalkeeper Sahy Given.
Marco Babic did eventually pull one back for the visitors, but it was not enough to prevent the last season’s losing finalists being eliminated from this season’s competition.
Newcastle are still third in Group A, but they are now just one point behind second-placed Internazionale, who drew 0-0 with leaders Barcelona.
The result brought to an end the Barcelona’s remarkable run of eleven successive Champions League wins. Despite the setback, Barcelona only need just one more point to be sure of a place in the last eight.
Newcastle and Inter, who face each other on March 11, will battle it out for second place.
The shock of the night occurred at Valencia, where Roma, without a point before tonight, produced a stunning 3-0 win.
Captain Francesco Totti was his side’s inspriation, scoring twice and setting up a third for Emerson.. It was Valencia’s first defeat at home in the Champions League in three years.
The otherÿGroup B game betweenleaders Ajax andÿArsenal in Amsterdam finished in a disapppoinitng goalless draw.
Ajax still lead the group with six points, with Arsenal second on the same tally. Valencia are third with five points, while Roma have three. All four sides still have a chance of reaching theÿquarter-finals. The next round of matches sees Ajaxat home to Valencia while Roma visit Arsenal.