When the last time Newcastle played in the UEFA Champions League?

Newcastle United 20002

Newcastle return to the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time in two decades on Tuesday night.

The Magpies travel to the San Siro to face AC Milan and face PSG and Borussia Dortmund in their remaining Group F fixtures.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the last time Newcastle were in Europe’s premier club competition in 2002-03.

First Group Stage

After qualifying for the competition in fourth place in the previous season’s Premier League, Newcastle reached the first group stage of the tournament, where they were drawn in Group E against Dynamo Kyiv, Feyenoord and Juventus. Their opener against Dynamo Kyiv ended in defeat at the Olympic Stadium in the Ukrainian capital as Maksim Shatskikh and Alyaksandr Khatskevich gave the hosts the advantage, while captain Alan Shearer left with four stitches in his head after a challenge from Andrii Husin.

Sebastian Pardo’s fourth-minute volley condemned the Magpies to further UEFA Champions League misery the following week at home to Feyenoord in an end-to-end battle in which goalkeeper Edwin Zoetebier produced some fantastic saves to deny the hosts.

The third game against Juventus kept them bottom of the group without a point after suffering a 2-0 defeat with two goals from Alessandro Del Piero and with three successive defeats under their belt, Newcastle needed something drastic to save their European hopes.

Sir Bobby Robson’s side did just that, starting again against Juve at St James’ Park, while full-back Andy Griffin got the ball moving as his shot was turned into the net by goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon as the Tynesiders ran out 1-0 winners. .

A home game against Dynamo Kyiv followed and they bounced back from Shatskikh’s opener as Gary Speed’s header leveled the scores before Shearer slotted home from the penalty spot to secure a 2-1 win.

Needing nothing more than a win against Feyenoord to be in with a chance of progressing to the next stage, the scores were level in the final minutes and Craig Bellamy struck in injury time to secure Newcastle’s dramatic second place finish in Group E and reach the next stage of the competition.

Second group stage

The Magpies were drawn in Group A for the next stage of the competition and made a shaky start as three first-half goals saw Inter Milan to a 4-1 victory in their group opener.

Robson’s return to the Nou Camp ended in defeat in the following match as goals from Dani, Patrick Kluivert and Thiago Motta were enough for Barcelona to beat the Magpies 3–1 as the hosts claimed a record 10th straight Champions League win.

The Newcastle boss then celebrated his 70th birthday in style as his side kept their chances alive with a 3-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen as Shola Ameobi’s brace put them ahead before Franco pulled one back and Lomana LuaLua restored their two-goal cushion.

Shearer bounced back from suspension with a quick-fire hat-trick against the German side in the reverse fixture on Tyneside, heading home twice in six minutes in the opening stages before firing past Jorg Butt from the spot.

Six points against Leverkusen gave Newcastle hope for the remaining games against Inter and Barcelona and their draw at the San Siro ended in a 2-2 draw as goals from Bellamy and Shearer were canceled out by Christian Vieri and Ivan Cordoba.

In the battle for a quarter-final place, the Magpies’ European dream was ended at St James’ Park by the LaLiga giants, who booked their place in the last eight ahead of the game as Kluivert and Motta scored for the visitors, meaning Newcastle finished third in the group.

The following season, the Tynesiders reached the third qualifying round of the competition, but lost 4–3 on penalties against Partizan Belgrade after the match finished 1–1 on aggregate.

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