Another French challenge
NEWCASTLE and Liverpool, received vastly different European challenges yesterday when the quarter-final draws for the UEFA and European Cup Winners Cups were made in Geneva.
Newcastle have another French challenge, following their win over Metz, against French league leaders Monaco in the UEFA Cup, while Liverpool can expect a much easier time against Norwegian side SK Brann in the other competition.
Newcastle's manager, Kevin Keegan, was bracing himself for a major confrontation against France's best while his counterpart Roy Evans of Liverpool could smile at the kindness of fate.
Newcastle's second successive French test looks on paper a great deal stiffer than their first, when two late goals from Faustino Asprilla saw off a Metz side who deserved better at St James' Park. The controversial Colombian will miss the quarter-final first leg on Tyneside on March 4th after his celebratory flag-waving landed him his second booking of the campaign.
And a Monaco team including Scotland's former Celtic ace John Collins, Tottenham target Emmanuel Petit and the multinational strike force of Brazilian Anderson and Nigeria's Victor Ikpeba will ensure Keegan's men must step up another gear after previous conquests of Halmstads, Ferencvaros and Metz.
"Monaco are one of the top two sides in France, and this tie is as tough as they come," said Keegan, who admitted last week his team had been lucky to survive.
"They have good experience in Europe, some great players and beat Hamburg quite convincingly in the last round."
While Monaco have proved their qualities by disposing of Arsenal's conquerors Borussia Monchengladbach and Hamburg, who beat Celtic, Newcastle at least avoided Roy Hodgson's Inter Milan.
They face Anderlecht, with the other ties seeing Tenerife play Danish side Brondby and the other Spanish outfit, Valencia, travelling to Bundesliga side Schalke 04 in the first leg.
Monaco's technical director, Henri Bincheri admitted: "Newcastle were one of the teams we were kind of hoping not to get, along with Inter Milan."
Liverpool's Roy Evans could hardly have wished for more good fortune than against a side, like his own, that entered the Cup Winners' Cup having lost their domestic cup final.
Beaten by Rosenborg, who caused the shock of the season to date in beating AC Milan in the European Champions' league last week, Brann have surprised even themselves by making the last eight.
Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven were their unexpected victims in the second round, but Evans, whose side travel to Bergen for the first leg on March 6th, admitted: "We're reasonably pleased with the draw.
"At least we've avoided the bigger teams, but there's been a big improvement in Scandinavian football over the last few years and we always find them to be organised, strong, fit and difficult to beat."
Only Bobby Robson's Barcelona, who drew Swedish side AIK Stockholm, had as many reasons to be cheerful as Evans.