Alan Pardew had Newcastle in the position he had talked about before the game – 20 minutes to go and it was 0-0 – and then Papiss Cisse scored in the 71st minute and it looked like Newcastle could do it for the fourth successive game at St. James’ Park – by getting a stoppage time goal to win the game – and in this case the overall quarter final tie against Benfica.
Cisse and Ben Arfa after Newcastle’s goal
Papiss Cisse had done that against Fulham, Stoke City and Anzhi in the previous home games, but he couldn’t do it last night = although there was a goal in stoppage time – scored by Benfica in a late breakaway.
Newcastle had got the goal through a piece of skill from Ben Arfa, who dispossessed a Benfica player on the right side of the penalty area near the bye-line, and the ball went to Shola Ameobi, who crossed the ball for Papiss Cisse to head home from a few yards out, and the St. James’ Park crowd just erupted.
And Shola Ameobi had a good chance after that, but slipped when shooting, and Ben Arfa got himself into a couple of good positions in those final frantic minutes, but Newcastle just couldn’t get their second goal for the fairy tale to come true.
But Newcastle were glorious in defeat – make no doubt about that – and are getting great headlines in the press this morning – along with Tottenham – who went out on penalties in Basel after drawing the game 2-2 in Switzerland – the same result as at White Hart Lane last Thursday.
Chelsea were the only English team to progress against Rubin Kazan, in what has been the worst European campaigns for English clubs for many years.
Our lads were great last night, and in their 14 game European adventure, and after the game an inspired Alan Pardew talked about Newcastle in Europe:
“Once we got them on the backfoot they got very nervous, and we are so unlucky not to be in the semi-final, for sure.”“I’m proud to be manager of this football club. What a credit we have been to this competition and to Europe.”
“And I’m not just talking about the team, I’m talking about the whole club, the fans and the way they’ve conducted themselves on this little European tour of ours.”
Alan’s right, but we will not be in Europe next season – and now we have six games to go in the Premier League this season, and we have to try to amass as many points as we can to lift ourselves up that league table.
And anything but a win on Sunday against Sunderland at home, will now be a huge disappointment.
Note – today we are trying to help one of our readers, Bagus Asmanu – who is studying at INTO Manchester – in partnership with Manchester University – and Bagus is completing a dissertation – and some of the work is on the Wonga deal with Newcastle United – and he wants as many Newcastle supporters as possible to complete his questionnaire. Here it is - please help Bagus.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org