Newcastle’s insipid second half performance tonight at St. James’ Park, when we basically ceded possession to Maritimo cost us a victory and top place in Group D, after Bordeaux went top with a good 2-1 win at Club Brugge in the other Group D game.
Sylvain Marveaux scored tonight after 23 minutes
At half time everything looked to be under control, after Sylvain had scored a good goal after 23 minutes, but it seemed that Newcastle tried to hold onto a 1-0 lead after the break, rather than keep attacking as we did in the first half, and those tactics are never good and give momentum to the opposing side.
And sure enough the equalizer came after 79 minutes through Fidelis, who then missed a wonderful opportunity to win the game for Maritimo two minutes into added time, when he shot wide with an open goal to aim at.
Newcastle still qualified for the next stage of the Europa League tonight – and here are the standings in Group D after 5 games played:
But Alan Pardew took a big risk tonight by playing Ben Arfa in the starting line up, and the Frenchman limped off after 30 minutes, and then Papiss Cisse came off in the second half, with a recurrence of his back problem.
So will the Senegal Football Federation now apologize for invoking that five match rule that stopped Papiss playing on Saturday – it looks like he’s still not fit.
As it turns out we could have lost tonight and still qualified for the knockout rounds of the Europa League, so we seem to have weakened the squad for the vital Southampton game on Sunday.
Newcastle simply didn’t deserve the win tonight, and now we’ll have to see how many players are fit for our important Southampton game – but it doesn’t look too good.
If Newcastle play like we did in the second half tonight, then we’ll probably suffer our third defeat on the trot in the league.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org