Newcastle hero Alan Shearer recalls Portsmouth 'mistake' which cost Magpies Champions League football in 2004

It was the moment that prevented one of the greatest-ever strikers from playing Champions League football again.

By Sam Cox
Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 2:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 2:52 pm

And it was a former Fratton favourite who controversially inflicted the damage to his former teammate.

After enjoying a strong run in the tournament in 2002-03 the Magpies had failed to qualify for the 2003-04 campaign, after losing to Partizan Belgrade over two-legs.

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So, they arrived at Fratton Park in February 2004 looking to bolster their top-four hopes with a victory and steal a march on Liverpool.

However, their visit to the south coast ultimately turned into a nightmare – thanks to Lomana LuaLua.

The forward had just joined Harry Redknapp’s side on-loan from the north-east giants – which would usually have ruled him out of the tie.

But due to an error with the paperwork upon his signing he was allowed to play against his parent club, which ultimately proved fatal to the visitor’s European aspirations.

Lomana Lua Lua wrecked Newcastle's Champions League hopes in 2004. PICTURE:JONATHAN BRADY 051582-194

After Craig Bellamy had given Sir Bobby Robson’s side the lead they looked set to claim three points, before the DR Congo international equalised in the 89th minute.

Tempers among the travelling supporters and players then flared when LuaLua produced his trademark somersault celebration in royal blue.

Not only did the south coast stalemate enhanced the Blues’ survival bid it also dented Newcastle’s Champions League pursuit, as they eventually finished fifth at the end of the season.

When discussing Connor Gallagher’s inability to play in the FA Cup semi-final against his parent club Chelsea, Shearer described the time he was stung by his colleague.

‘I’ve been in a similar situation myself, not in the cup, but in the league,’ he said on Match of the Day 2.

‘We were at Newcastle and we played Pompey, while we were going for a Champions League place.

‘Lomana Lualua was on loan from Newcastle at Pompey, and there was a mistake in the paperwork which allowed him to play in the game at Fratton Park.

He then scored against us which maybe cost us a place in the Champions League. You could tell there were a few rows in the dressing room, afterwards!’

Five months after the controversial scenes, LuaLua signed permanently for the Blues, and established himself as a firm PO4 hero.

Across his three years on the south coast, he netted a further 15 goals as he helped the club cement their Premier League status.