Make no mistake about this – this was one of Newcastle’s best wins of the season, and the 1-0 win against a very good Metalist Kharkiv side puts Newcastle through to the round of the last 16 of the Europa League.
Moussa Sissoko brought down by Goryainov
It was a very disciplined game from the Newcastle side who looked very well organized, and both Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Massadio Haidara gave good accounts of themselves in the back four, with Yanga-Mbiwa showing what a good experienced center-back he is, and Massadio showing he’s ready to play regularly in the Newcastle first team – now.
The first half was very even with few chances – but the best chances of the half fell to Crisaldo after 28 minutes when he headed a cross narrowly wide of Tim Krul’s left hand post.
Papiss Cisse had Newcastle’s best chance – a half chance after 43 minutes – when he was played through by Sissoko but he shot straight at the goalkeeper, who blocked it.
If the scores remained the same, this tie would go to extra time, which is the last thing Newcastle wanted, and after the break both sides increased their pace, and the game became more open.
Newcastle had played well all game, but they were gradually starting to take some territorial advantage over Metalist, and then just on the hour mark Newcastle got lucky – and it was a terrible mix up between center-back Papa Gueye and his goalkeeper Olexandr Goryainov, and the back pass went past the goalkeeper and Moussa Sissoko – the tank – came storming in and the goalkeeper brought him down.
On the TV replays it didn’t look too bad a foul, but the goalkeeper had no alternative but to stop the big man from getting to the ball – and referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot.
And it was Shola Ameobi – who has always been a great penalty taker – who sent to goalkeeper the wrong way with a beautiful penalty, and Newcastle were 1-0 up – and Metalist now had to score twice in the last 30 minutes or be eliminated.
And Metalist turned up their game a notch or two and attacked Newcastle, and on 70 minutes only a magnificent save from Tim Krul as Willian dribbled the ball into a shooting position saved Newcastle, as Tim brilliantly blocked the shot.
James Perch and Jonas Gutierrez were brought on for Papiss Cisse and Vurnon Anita, and almost immediately James Perch blocked a shot on the line – a great stop from Perchinho.
A crucial save from the Newcastle goalkeeper, but it was nothing to the saves the Dutch International pulled off after 76 minutes.
Cristaldo was through on goal but his shot was blocked by Krul, and then only seconds later the ball seemed to be going into the net from a shot from Cristaldo again, but Tim dived to his left to block the shot – a world class save from the Newcastle goalkeeper to keep Newcastle 1-0 up.
Metalist continued to pile on the pressure, but Newcastle also attacked on the breakaway, and had an outlet on the left wing with Moussa Sissoko – who looks like a tank when he powers his way down that left wing.
And stout defending for the remainder of the game, which included 5 minutes of stoppage time, saw Newcastle’s second clean sheet in a row – and only the second away win of the season – so this new Newcastle side is starting to show they are good – very good.
It’s hard to criticize any Newcastle player tonight, because they all did their part – and the side looked very well organized – and they looked a top side tonight.
I’m not the only one who will be very proud of Newcastle tonight – a fantastic performance from our lads.
This new Newcastle side have now played five times, won three, drawn one and lost one at Tottenham, and have two clean sheets.
And we’re through to the round of the last 16.
Howay the Lads!!
Metalist Kharkiv (4-2-3-1): Olexandr Goryainov; Cristian Villagra, Papa Gueye, Marco Torsiglieri, Fininho; Juan Manuel Torres (Jaja 67), Edmar (Sebastian Blanco 82); Marlos (Willian 67) Cleiton Xavier, Jose Emesto Sosa (c); Jonathan Cristaldo
Subs not used: Vladimir Disljenkovic, Oleg Shelayev, Andriy Berezovchuk, Oleg Krasnopyorov
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Massadio Haïdara; Vurnon Anita (James Perch 76), Yohan Cabaye (Gael Bigirimana 87); Papiss Cisse (Jonas Gutierrez 76), Moussa Sissoko, Sylvain Marveaux; Shola Ameobi
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Steven Taylor, Dan Gosling, Gabriel Obertan
Referee: Serge Gumienny (Belgium)
Bookings: Metalist – Fininho (87), Cristaldo (88); Newcastle – Haidara (44), Cisse (74), Krul (90)
Marc Gillham is from Durham and is at Hull University studying business and marketing. He is engaged in a project to help non-league clubs make decisions regarding sponsorship. Please help Marc with his research by filling out this questionnaire – thanks.