Half-Time Report: Newcastle United 1-0 Atromitos Athens

St James Park
© PA Photos
Newcastle United hold a deserved 2-1 aggregate lead over Atromitos Athens with 45 minutes of the sides' Europa League qualifier remaining.

Newcastle United are on course to earn a place in the Europa League group stages as they hold a half-time lead over Atromitos Athens at the Sports Direct Arena.

The hosts, who earned a 1-1 draw in Greece in last week's first leg, were forced to make an early change on 10 minutes when Ryan Taylor injured his right knee in an awkward landing.

Taylor's departure temporarily subdued the excitable atmosphere inside the stadium, but the Toon Army were soon celebrating thanks to the player's replacement Haris Vuckic.

The 20-year-old Slovenia international, who had never previously scored for the Magpies, collected a quick throw-in from Danny Simpson on the right, before cutting inside and finding the net with a deflected volley from 25 yards.

Vuckic came close to doubling his tally, but his close-range effort was well blocked. James Perch and Demba Ba also went close for the hosts.

At the other end, Tim Krul needed to be alert to deny Denis Epstein, after the German forward had breached the Newcastle offside trap.

Krul breathed a huge sigh of relief on 43 minutes when, after spilling a long-range effort, he appeared to bring down Chumbinho inside the six-yard box.

With most people expecting to see a penalty kick awarded and a red card shown to the goalkeeper, referee Stephan Studer shocked everyone by booking Chumbinho for an alleged dive.

Ryan Taylor
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