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Newcastle finish fifth as Everton bow out in style

13 May 2012 18:16:58

Newcastle finish fifth as Everton bow out in style

Newcastle United's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League were shattered on the final day of the Premier League season as Everton signed off with a 3-1 win on Sunday.

Results elsewhere meant Newcastle could not have claimed a top-four finish even if they had won at Goodison Park, as both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur got the victories they needed to stay in Champions League spots.

But Alan Pardew's side were comprehensively outplayed anyway as goals from Steven Pienaar, Nikica Jelavic and Jonny Heitinga sealed the points for Everton.

A Tony Hibbert own goal in the closing stages was no consolation for Newcastle, who finished fifth and have the dubious reward of playing in the Europa League next season after an impressive campaign petered out with two successive defeats.

Meanwhile, Everton's win means David Moyes' side earn the bragging rights on Merseyside as they finished in seventh position, one place ahead of arch rivals Liverpool.

Newcastle almost made the perfect start when Fabricio Coloccini's header deflected goalwards off Heitinga, only for Tim Howard to make a routine save.

However, that was to be as good as it got for the Magpies, as Everton quickly found their attacking stride, with Belgian Marouane Fellaini especially prominent.

The attacking midfielder came close with an 11th-minute header that floated narrowly wide of the left-hand post, and was heavily involved in the move that broke the deadlock five minutes later.

Fellaini laid the ball off to Pienaar, who was loitering on the edge of the penalty area, and the Tottenham loanee found the top-left corner of the net via a hefty deflection off Mike Williamson.

Everton could have doubled their lead shortly after, but after Leon Osman squared Leighton Baines' cross back across the face of the six-yard box, Pienaar drilled a close-range strike into the side netting.

However, the hosts did not have to wait long to enjoy a two-goal advantage.

Heitinga's 27th-minute long ball released Jelavic beyond a hesitant Coloccini, and while Tim Krul saved the Croatian's first shot, he was powerless to prevent the in-form striker hooking in the rebound.

Jelavic was presented with the Premier League Player of the Month award for April prior to kick-off, and has now scored 11 goals since joining Everton from Rangers in January.

Newcastle brought in their own star striker during the January transfer window, but when Papiss Demba Cisse was presented with an opportunity to add to his 13 goals for the Magpies on the stroke of half-time, he could only shoot wide of the target.

The Senegal international wasted an even better opportunity at the start of the second half, scuffing a shot wide after an excellent through ball from Hatem Ben Arfa, but Newcastle at least displayed some fight after switching to a 4-3-3 formation at the interval.

Any hopes of a comeback were extinguished with 25 minutes left though, as Heitinga claimed a third Everton goal.

Darron Gibson swung in a free-kick from the right, and an unmarked Heitinga headed home from close range.

Newcastle claimed a consolation with 18 minutes left, but it had little to do with their own work.

Ryan Taylor's long ball was hopeful at best, but a back-tracking Hibbert headed it past Howard.

There was then drama following the final whistle as Everton's Australian midfielder Tim Cahill was sent off following a violent tussle with Newcastle's France international midfielder Yohan Cabaye.


AFP

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