Newcastle 1 Anzhi 0 – Play To The Final Whistle…
Papiss Cisse will be the name that makes the headlines with his dramatic last gasp header from a perfect Marveaux cross. However, Steven Taylor made a handful of first half blocks that made the fairytale ending possible.
In fact Taylor and Mapou, apart from one rush of blood near half-time, played really well as a partnership and helped keep things together as Anzhi threatened to cut Newcastle open every time they quickly counter-attacked in the opening period.
Alan Pardew tinkered with his personnel and tactics but early on his team struggled to create anything, as the Russians showed what a good team they are after the farce on that pitch in Moscow.
If the visitors had scored a deserved goal from those first half opportunities then I’d have seen no way that Newcastle could have scored two…but they didn’t, so we didn’t have to.
Ironically, Newcastle got their first foothold in the match when Jonas came on for playmaker Yohan Cabaye, who looked to be trying to cover for everybody while he was on the pitch, fingers crossed he’s ok.
When Cabaye went off after seemingly stretching for a ball, Jonas initially played in the middle and Newcastle started to have a bit of decent possession for the remaining eight or so minutes of that first half.
After the break Jonas went wide left and Newcastle looked to have better balance, though you have to accept the real turning point was Carcela-Gonzalez’ nasty second yellow when he caught Haidara. It was then possession Newcastle but while they dominated the ball, Newcastle also struggled to make the keeper work.
Marveaux and Santon had looked perhaps our biggest hope wide on the right and in the last second of the match the French midfielder put a lovely cross right on the head of Cisse for another late winner after his effort v Stoke,
The fact the winner came only a few minutes after Anzhi had struck the woodwork from what looked a harsh free-kick, made it all the better.
A gripping night and a great result.
Full match report to follow.
Newcastle United: Elliot, Santon, Taylor, Mapou, Haidara, Anita (Campbell 71), Tiote, Cabaye (Jonas 37), Marveaux, Cisse, Sissoko
Unused Subs: Harper, Perch, Bigirimana, Obertan, Shola
Anzhi: Gabulov, Eschenko, Ewerton, Carlos, Zhirkov, Ahmedov, Diarra (Shatov 74), Jucilei, Boussoufa, Eto’o, Carcela-Gonzalez
Ref: Deniz Aytekin (Germany)
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