Newcastle stumble to draw in Greece

Newcastle have drawn 1-1 in their Europa League play-off fixture against Atromitos in Athens.

The hosts made it difficult for their Premier League rivals, and took the lead when Denis Epstein found the back of the net on 24 minutes.

However, Ryan Taylor guided home a deftly-taken free-kick to spare the Tyneside outfit’s blushes and ensure spoils were shared.

Alan Pardew has stated that he is confident of progressing with a victory in the home leg.

“If we are taking an away goal into the home leg, we would be favourites – but we are the favourites when we play at home whoever we are playing, in my opinion, so we have got to win the game,” he told reporters.

“In the second half, I was a little bit disappointed we didn’t get the win – I thought there were good opportunities – but overall, I was very, very pleased with the performance.

“They [Atromitos] have shown us tonight that it’s not going to be a pushover and it’s not going to be a foregone conclusion, so we have got to be right and we have got to make sure that the team is strong enough,” he concluded.

By Gareth McKnight