Here’s the game as we saw it tonight in Madeira – and we’ll take the point.
Romain Amalfitano in action tonight
Newcastle were wearing their lime green strips in an empty stadium, apart from one of the four stands, because of the UEFA limitations for the ground, which was still in the process of being improved.
And Newcastle kicked off against a Maritimo side that was unbeaten in their 7 games so far this season.
On 11 minutes Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot made a brilliant save, when he somehow turned the ball over the bar from a Maritimo header from a left wing corner – a great save by Elliot.
And one minute later another good save by Elliot after a terrible mistake by Mike Williamson, who completely mis-kicked the ball just outside the penalty area, as Newcastle again looked all at sea at the start of a game.
Newcastle were trying to play the game slowly, as the temperature was around 29 degrees Centigrade.
Maritimo were doing all the pressing and again Newcastle looked very poor in the first half, until an injury to a Maritimo player halted play and Alan Pardew was able to talk to the players and from then on – after about 27 minutes – Newcastle started coming more into the game, and seemed tos ettle down.
What it it that Newcastle seem to start the games this season scrambling around?
On 29 minutes Shola Ameobi almost put Newcastle ahead, after a good cross by Amalfitano from out on the left wing was met by Williamson whose shot was blocked, and Shola Ameobi threw himself at the ball with a header with the Maritimo goalie only just saved off the post for a corner.
Newcastle were coming more into the game now,and then Dan Gosling had a great left foot shot from just outside the penalty box, which came back off the bar, a great effort by the former Everton player.
Bigirimana was then booked just before half time, when Newcastle expected Maritimo to give them the ball back after a Maritimo player had recovered from injury – but they didn’t do that – which is the usual thing in the Premier League, but it looked like the tackle from the former Coventry midfielder looked fair enough.
Gael Bigirimana was again showing up well in defensive midfield, and this lad looks a star of the future.
Half time came with the score at 0-0 and Newcastle looked poor in the first 25 minutes, but then came back into the game in the final 20 minutes of the half, and the lads had goalkeeper Rob Elliot to thank for two excellent saves in that first half.
There were no changes made at the start of the second half.
On 47 minutes Shola Ameobi was straight through on goal in the inside left position, and his shot was well placed but came back off the cross-bar, after he had held off a Maritimo player’s challenge.
That’s the third time Newcastle had hit the woodwork in this game.
On 53 minutes Sammy Ameobi came on for Haris Vuckic, and the Ameobi brothers became the first brothers to represent Newcastle in European competition.
On 57 minutes a good move between the Ameobi brothers set up Amalfitano about 16 yards out in the inside left position, but the Frenchman blazed the ball over the bar with his right foot – it was a decent enough chance, and the 23 year-old should have done better.
After 57 minutes Maritimo had a chance when a decent cross in from the left wing was slammed wide by Fidelis, and that was a let off for the Magpies.
On 62 minutes Sammy Ameobi had a good left foot shot just wide of the far post, and the 20 year-old was showing up well, and the game was evenly balanced at this point.
On 66 minutes Shola Ameobi turned well in the box, but his left foot shot was well saved down to his left by goalkeeper Salin.
And then after 70 minutes Rob Elliot made another great save as he just got down low to his left to deflect a shot for a corner – that’s the third excellent save by Rob Elliot tonight, and he was having a good game in goal for Newcastle, which was great to see.
With just 15 minutes to go it was still 0-0 and the first goal could win this game, and Alan Pardew brough on Shane Ferguson for Romain Amalfitano on the left wing.
After 77 minutes Rob Elliot saved a shot coming in from the left wing, and he was looking a good goalkeeper tonight.
Gael Bigirimana blocked a shot on the edge of the penalty area, and the 18 year-old was again looking to be a very tidy player for Newcastle, for one so young.
After 80 minutes Sylvain Marveaux came on for Gabby Obertan.
Then a couple of minutes later an amazing escape by Newcastle from a corner, when a Roberge header was headed onto the cross-bar by Santon and the ball was cleared, as Maritimo were pressing for the winner.
It wasn’t over the line, like that shot at Everton, and an official was just five yards away, and each side were going for the winner.
In the second minute of five minutes of added time, it was Rob Elliot again, who made an excellent save low down to his left as he scooped the ball for a corner.
Newcastle held out and it was a decent point in our first game in the group stages of the Europa league, and we think Alan Pardew will be pleased enough with some excellent performances.
Three players in particular impressed tonight, Gael Bigirimana (what a player this lad is at just 18), goalkeeper Rob Elliot and Davide Santon, who is improving all the time on Tyneside.
We’ll take the draw for sure.
Maritimo (4-5-1): Romain Salin; Briguel (c), Joao Guilherme, Valentin Roberge, Luis Olim; Rafael Miranda, Joao Luiz, Heldon (Fidelis 55), David Simao (Goncalo Abreu 75), Sami; Danilo Dias (Adilson 82)
Subs not used: Wellington Lima, Joao Diogo, Marcio Rosario, Igor Rossi
Newcastle United (4-5-1): Rob Elliot; James Perch, Mike Williamson, Steven Taylor, Davide Santon; Gael Bigirimana, Dan Gosling, Gabriel Obertan (Sylvain Marveaux 80), Haris Vuckic (Sammy Ameobi 53), Romain Amalfitano (Shane Ferguson 76); Shola Ameobi (c)
Subs not used: Steve Harper, James Tavernier, Mehdi Abeid, Adam Campbell
Referee: Robert Schorgenhofer (Austria)
Bookings: Maritimo – Simao (45); Newcastle – Bigirimana (45), Amalfitano (68), Santon (86)
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