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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 8 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Oct 21, 2008

Newcastle appeal Beye's red card

Newcastle United defender Habib Beye has protested his innocence over the tackle that could have cost him his place in Saturday's derby clash with Sunderland.

The Magpies have launched an appeal against the 31-year-old Senegal international's 12th-minute dismissal for a challenge on Manchester City star Robinho in Monday night's 2-2 draw at St James' Park.

Referee Rob Styles awarded a penalty and swiftly produced the red card, although replays showed Beye had played the ball.

The Football Association were today awaiting the referee's report, but the defender insisted he had been cruelly punished.

Beye said: "For me, that was the start of my season and I am devastated by the decision.

"I wouldn't have made the tackle if I didn't think I could have got the ball, and that's why I am so disappointed.

"It was my first game back for some time after my injury, and to be sent off so early is very disappointing."

Beye's return from an Achilles problem represented a major boost for interim boss Joe Kinnear, but all the 61-year-old's plans were ripped to shreds before he had really got a chance to settle into his seat in the dug-out for the first time since completing his own disciplinary ban.

To their credit, the Magpies staged a spirited fightback, levelling through Shola Ameobi's 44th-minute strike and then edging their way in front when City skipper Richard Dunne put through his own net 19 minutes after the break.

The big-spending visitors eventually hit back trough Stephen Ireland's 86th-minute equaliser to snatch a point, but Beye's disappointment at seeing victory snatched from his side's grasp was compounded by the knowledge he faces watching this weekend's derby from the sidelines.

He said: "I know how big this game is to the supporters. Fingers crossed, it will be overturned.

"But for me, this was such a big game, not only for the fans who want us to win, but also for me personally because I would have been playing against one of my best friends in the game in Djibril Cisse."

Styles, of course, has already apologised to Bolton this season after awarding a penalty against Jlloyd Samuel for a challenge on Cristiano Ronaldo, having done the same last season after an incident involving Liverpool's Steve Finnan and Chelsea's Florent Malouda.

But if the official was public enemy number one on Tyneside last night, his contribution to an eventful game served to mobilise the Toon Army once again as they roared their side on to a creditable performance and result.

Their appreciation extended to Ameobi, not always the recipient of their best wishes during his career at St James', after he emerged from the wings to play a key role in a concerted response to another slice of adversity.

The former England Under-21 international's goal was his first in two years for the club since he scored from the penalty spot against Bolton on October 15, 2006, and could hardly have been better timed.

Ameobi said: "I was told it was two years and a few days to the last time I scored.

"It always plays on your mind when you are a striker. It was part of the problem for me - my confidence was down.

"It seemed to take four or five ricochets before it got to me and at times you need that bit of luck as a striker, which hasn't been there for me of late.

"I'm delighted to have scored a goal again and to have that exhilaration of it hitting the back of the net.

"It's fantastic for me in terms of my confidence, and hopefully I can grab another one on Saturday.

"In the changing room, we were all disappointed at the end. We felt we could have held out, but unfortunately that didn't happen."

Kinnear will hope for further boosts over the next couple of days with Jonas Gutierrez and Michael Owen both due to undergo scans on their respective injuries, with the Argentinian perhaps a better bet to make the game at the Stadium of Light.

Midfielder Joey Barton is due to play in tonight's reserve-team fixture at Middlesbrough after completing his six-match ban and could also figure on Wearside.

Meanwhile, City boss Mark Hughes, who lost defender Micah Richards to an ankle injury, backed Dunne to bounce back from the disappointment of his bizarre own goal.

He said: "He's a big character, he's the captain. It's one of those things that happens in a football match. You can't legislate for it, you just have to get on with it.

"It made it difficult for us, a game we should have won comfortably."

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