Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Twenty years ago today, Keith Gillespie tore Barcelona apart during 'incredible' Newcastle United win

Twenty years ago to the day, a young Northern Irishman played arguably the game of his career to rip through the defence of one of the world's greatest clubs.

Newcastle beat Barcelona 3-2 in the Champions League, largely thanks to a then 22-year-old Keith Gillespie.

Faustino Asprilla bagged a hat-trick but it was Gillespie's performance that, for many supporters, was the catalyst for a win that has gone down in the Toon Army's folklore.

The hosts had been 3-0 up at St James' Park before Barca Luis Enrique and Luis Figo beat Shay Given in the Newcastle net. It was a Champions League game full of activity - with Gillespie the pick of all the world class players on the pitch.

He delivered crosses that put Asprilla's two headed goals on a plate - roasting top class full-back Sergi on both occasions. Gillespie's run from inside his own half for the would-be winner was particularly mesmerising, showing pace that even one of the world's top defenders couldn't live with.

Watch the goals right here, including Gillespie's two pinpoint deliveries:

“It’s hard to believe its 20 years ago,” Gillespie told Chronicle Live. “It was just one of those games. In terms of an individual basis, it was one of those nights when everything just went right for me. It's a pity I couldn't do that every week.

"It was an incredible night. The atmosphere was unbelievable. You're 55 or 60 minutes in and you're 3-0 up against Barcelona. That's what you dream about. You want to play against the top, top clubs in the world and Barcelona are certainly one of those.

“The performance of Tino (Faustino Asprilla) was sensational, I put a couple of the crosses in but his overall performance was unbelievable playing as the lone striker, occupying the defenders like he did, he just ran them ragged all night.

"When I come back to the North East, it's the one thing that Newcastle fans remember me for so it's not a bad memory to have. I'm proud of the performance that night. Myself and Tino got the headlines but it is a team game and everybody that night was fired up. It's incredible to think how far we had come in such a short space of time. It's great to have those memories."

The teams that night

Newcastle United: Shay Given, Warren Barton, John Beresford, Steve Watson, Philippe Albert, John Barnes, David Batty, Rob Lee, Faustino Asprilla, Jon Dahl Tomasson, Keith Gillespie. Substitutes: Darren Peacock, Temur Ketsbaia

Barcelona: Ruud Hesp, Sergi Barjuan, Nadal, Michael Reiziger, Luís Figo, Luis Enrique, De la Peña, Celades, Anderson, Rivaldo, Emmanuel Amunike Substitutes: Dragan Ćirić, Christophe Dugarry

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