Newcastle United in the Champions League: The story of the Magpies last trip to the San Siro

Alan Shearer scored twice as Newcastle United drew 2-2 with Inter Milan on the club's last visit to the San Siro. Credit: PA

Newcastle United will return to the Champions League for the first time in 20 years on Tuesday evening in one of the most iconic venues in world football.

The San Siro, home to both AC Milan and Inter Milan, has seen some of the greatest players in football history grace its turf with Eddie Howe's current side the latest to try and make their mark.

While Newcastle have never faced AC Milan in competitive football, the club are no strangers to the San Siro having twice faced Inter at the venue. The most recent was their last away Champions League group stage fixture in March 2003.

A win was as good as a necessity if Sir Bobby Robson's side were to progress to the quarter-finals of the competition. The Magpies had lost their opening two games to Inter and Barcelona but back-to-back wins over Bayer Leverkusen had given the team a fighting chance of recovery.

Sir Bobby Robson's side had to win at the San Siro to improve their hopes of progression. Credit: PA

Between 10 and 12,000 Geordies were believed to have got tickets to the game and the travelling faithful would have been in dreamland at half-time after Alan Shearer's strike put them 1-0 up.

However, they were pegged back shortly two minutes after the interval as Christian Vieri levelled the tie for the hosts.

Minutes later, Shearer had the travelling fans in raptures again as he converted from six yards. It was his 11th goal in European competitions claiming the club record for goals against continental opposition from then-record holder Wyn Davies.

For 11 minutes the Magpies led before the Inter equalised again through Ivan Cordoba. From there the scores remained tied with the result suiting the Italian side much more than Robson's men.

Alan Shearer scored twice in Newcastle's last visit to the San Siro. Credit: PA

Future Newcastle players Obafemi Martins and Emre Belözoğlu were among those to feature for Inter on the day.

The response from the Newcastle squad after the match was mixed, Gary Speed was keen to talk up the travelling support who were vocally behind the team throughout the evening.

"Unbelievable," he said. "When I came out I couldn't believe how many were there. Typical Newcastle supporters, they sang all game. They out sang the Inter fans throughout really."

However, Robson and club captain Shearer were left to rue the side's inability to hold on to the lead. The result left Newcastle with a mountain to climb to stay in the competition and they were duly knocked out in the next round of matches as they fell to a 2-0 defeat against Barcelona at St James' Park.

Newcastle United are back in the Champions League for the first time in 20 years. Credit: PA

"I'm disappointed with a draw here," Robson explained. "If this had been the first game of the group and we had come here and got the draw, it would have been a tremendous result for us. But we had to win to have a real chance of progressing.

"We had no inhibitions or difficulties knowing how to play and twice I was delighted when we took the lead. But twice we couldn't hold on and we really need to learn how to defend a bit better than that when we play at this level."

"We are still novices at this level, we are still learning," Shearer added. "You have to learn quickly or you get punished."

Newcastle will enter this year's competition as novices again given their 20 years away from the highest level of European football. They will hope to go on better than the side from 2003 and secure a famous win at the iconic venue.

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