Newcastle 2-1 Levadia (agg: 3-1)

Newcastle eased into the group stages of the Uefa Cup thanks to an Obafemi Martins brace against Levadia Tallinn.

Martins headed home Emre's right-wing corner just after the interval and followed it up with a 20-yard left-foot screamer that crashed in moments later.

Magpies keeper Steve Harper let Levadia back in it, letting Indrek Zelinski's tame header slip through his fingers.

But Newcastle rarely looked in danger after that slip-up and comfortably held on to secure their passage through.

Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder was clearly confident his side had enough to progress after a 1-0 first-leg win, choosing to rest captain Scott Parker, Shola Ameobi and Craig Moore for the return.

Steven Taylor came in for his first start in over a month after injury to partner Titus Bramble at the back and both men had shaky starts, having to rescue each other after early slips.

At the other end midfielder Emre was causing Levadia problems with his intelligent off-the-ball running and dribbling, though a 25-yard shot flew miles over the bar.

Halfway into the opening period Taylor and Bramble failed to pick up Vladimir Voskoboinikov, and the tall striker headed Konstantin Vassiljev's cross over from six yards.

Newcastle were looking lightweight up front and relied mainly on set-pieces to create chances, Emre forcing a save from Artur Kotenko with a curler from a narrow angle.

Roeder must have been concerned at his side's inability to kill the tie off, but soon after the break Levadia's hopes disappeared.

Martins secured his status as the heir to Alan Shearer's throne with a hugely impressive double that got the 27,012 crowd off their seats.

Two minutes after the break he glanced in Emre's right-wing corner, before adding a stunning second with a left-foot strike that crashed in off the crossbar after Antoine Sibierski's knock-down.

The Magpies were soon in cruise control, spraying the ball around St James' Park with all the confidence of a side who had the game wrapped up.

But, for keeper Harper, there was another nightmare moment to come after he was beaten by Xabi Alonso's 65-yard effort against Liverpool last week.

Tihhon Sisov sent over a cross from the right and Zelinski headed straight at Harper, who somehow let the ball slip straight through his grasp and into the net.

But Levadia failed to threaten again and Roeder's men were never in danger of failing to progress.

By Jonathan Stevenson


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