Beye hoping for reprieve

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Newcastle 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.

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

He added: "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."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2008, All Rights Reserved.

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Djibril Cisse
Stephen Ireland
Manchester City
Habib Beye
Premier League
Newcastle United
Richard Dunne
Shola Ameobi

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