Newcastle 0 Brugge 0
Instinctive improvisation, Ameobi style. United scored what may be one of
the goals of the season thanks to some trickery from Sammy and Shola. The former
took a short pass in centrefield well in his own half, flicked the ball up and
then evaded Bacca with another neat dink and twist.
The pass dropped into the path of Shola, who reached it ahead of an opponent and
tipped it forward with another angled ball that reached the advancing Sammy.
Allowing the ball to bounce once, he then manoevured away from Bacca again by
touching the ball over the Brugge player's head and running into space to
collect the rebound.
Progressing over halfway towards the Gallowgate End and with Cisse plus a trio
of retreating defenders ahead of him, Sammy maintained possession before laying
a precise pass out to the unmarked Gabriel Obertan on the right, just as
Ameobi junior was tackled from behind.
Obertan's first touch took the ball into the box and without further ado, he
then struck with a right footed rising effort that Jorgacevic got a hand
to, but couldn't prevent from slamming into the side netting inside the far
Full time: Newcastle 1 Brugge 0
Alan Pardew said:
"It was a great performance because (Bruges are) a good team.
They keep the ball very, very well and that's why they're top of the league.
They've got experience in the team.
"But our young players shone tonight and that's what it was about. I
showed faith in them because they've been doing it on the training ground. Do it on the training ground and you've got a chance of performing on
the big stage and Sammy and Fergie have been terrific in training and they
took it into the game and that's perfect for a manager.
"I thought our passing was good in the first half, but we lacked a
little bit of threat which is about nailing that system down, but in the
second half, bringing Shola on was always going to unsettle them a little
bit, which it did.
"Brugge showed why they are a good side because they came back at us.
We had a couple of scares towards the end, and Harps and the defence had to
"We have got Maritimo at
home, who have had a good result tonight, by the way, that's helped us too.
We are going to need to grab something from one of those (away) games, and
by the look of that Brugge game tonight, it's going to be difficult. They
are a good side.
"We have approached this
competition in the right manner and we have got our reward for it. We tried
to attack the game, but Brugge are a good side. This was a tough game
tonight. They have two or three outstanding players, so it's a big win for
us, make no mistake.
"It was nice to see us squeeze
past, because that's what we did, really. We just did enough tonight.
We haven't focused too much on this league, more on the Premier
"It will be tactically interesting how we approach the next two Europa
games - if we get a win and a draw then we'll be in a good position.
On the goalscorer:
"He's still only
23. He has a fantastic future. We owe him a big debt for the last two
European games because we wouldn't have won without him. He's been terrific for us and hopefully he'll play a bigger part in
the Premier League as we go along.
was affected by the sending off on Sunday: there was a lack of
focus in his game, probably because it was so soon after Sunday's game, he
is hurt. No one was more hurt that Cheick."
Georges Leekens (who played as a defender for Brugge between 1972 and
""As promised, we tried
to play football here. We emphasized on tactical discipline and played a good
game. Unfortunately, our finishing was a bit erratic. We showed great mentality,
and everyone did what was asked and expected from them.
"Today's performance pleases me. We had chances to score in both halves,
but did not manage to make the most of them. We deserved at least one
fantastic that so many fans made the trip to Newcastle. I'm also happy for them
that we were able to offer them a good performance. It's a pity, though, that we
couldn't offer them a point. When they scored, we should have made a
professional foul to stop that attack. We still need to learn that.
"Now we need to prepare for next Sunday's game - the Europa League ranking
right now is of no importance."
United are unbeaten in their last 21
European home games (excluding the Intertoto Cup*), having won 18 and drawn the
other three ties staged at SJP since losing 0-1 to Partizan Belgrade in 2003.
* if the Intertoto Cup defeat by Deportivo La Coruna is included, the record is ten games (eight wins and two draws) with eight successive
wins since a 0-0 draw against Levadia Tallinn in 2006.
We've now gone 426 minutes since last conceding a goal in
European competition, exceeding the previous record of 401 minutes that had been
recorded during the 1969/70 Fairs Cup campaign.
Steven Taylor captained the side for the first time on home soil and the
second time in his career, after the League Cup loss at Peterborough in
The 36th game of Gabriel Obertan's Newcastle career (25 starts) brought
the second goal, after his similar effort in the Premier League away to
Blackburn Rovers in February 2012. He managed one goal in 28 appearances for
Manchester United (13 starts).
Brugge became the fifth Belgian side that we've met competitively - and
beaten at SJP - after Anderlecht, Royal Antwerp, Sporting Lokeren and Zulte
Belgians @ SJP - competitive games:
1969/70 Anderlecht won 3-1 Robson 2, Dyson
1994/95 Antwerp won 5-2 Cole 3, Lee, Beardsley
2001/02 Lokeren won 1-0 Bellamy
2006/07 Zulte Waregem won 1-0 Martins
2012/13 Brugge won 1-0 Obertan
Europa League Group D - 2012/2013:
The other game in Group D tonight
ended Maritimo 1-1 Bordeaux.
There may not have been any streakers on the pitch
at St.James' Park on Thursday night, but Alan Pardew's side came uncomfortably
close to being caught with their pants down before completing a victory that
went a long way to assuring their progress from the Europa League Group Stage.
Brugge arrived on Tyneside at the top of the Belgian league despite slipping to
their first domestic defeat since April at the weekend. And while they were
without a handful of first choice players, United's selection showed nine
changes from the starting XI on wearside the previous Sunday.
One of the two remaining players was Cheick Tiote, whose red card and domestic
ban made his inclusion here a no-brainer. Unfortunately that description could
have been equally applied to a performance that saw him go easy on the
opposition (although picking up yet another booking) in the tackle and provide a
helping hand to Brugge with a clutch of misplaced passes.
The Ivorian was included in a central midfield block with Gael Bigirimana and
Vurnon Anita that may have restricted the counter attacks of the visitors, but
restricted their own side's progress thanks to a succession of harmless sideways
and backwards passes.
What creativity Newcastle could muster came from the wing duo of Sammy Ameobi
and Gabriel Obertan, plus Shane Ferguson - again shoehorned into left back. That
translated into forays down either flank and the occasional cross, but aimed
towards the solitary figure of Papiss Cisse.
Our number nine managed to get on the end of three chances (including another
peach of a cross from Fergie) in the opening half, forcing Serbian 'keeper Bojan
Jorgacevic into action twice. Cisse also had a penalty appeal turned down when leaned on by Bart
Buysse (on the losing side here for Zulte Waregem in 2007) but referee Martin Hansson waved away
strong United appeals.
A change in personnel looked inevitable before the resumption and so it proved,
with Shola Ameobi preferred to Anita - although it could just as easily been any
of the middle trio. The effect was almost instant, as he and younger brother
Sammy combined to set away Obertan to shoot home.
Further goals looked likely, but the lime-clad Magpies failed to build up any
real momentum and the healthy contingent of Brugge fans began to find their
voices as the tie wore on. Their side came agonisingly close to levelling just after the hour mark,
only for prolific striker Carlos Bacca to direct his header from Maxime Lestienne's
left wing cross into the turf so it bounced up and over Steve Harper's crossbar
- a genuine let off.
Despite Bigiriimana contributing little to proceedings, the tiring Sammy Ameobi
was an expendable luxury and after warming up both Yohan Cabaye and Fabricio
Coloccini, Pardew opted to introduce both in an attempt to see the tie out.
The latter appeared first and had the desired calming effect, with one diving
header from the edge of the box that returned the ball to a grateful Harper
almost worthy of the man of the match award on its own.
Cabaye meanwhile provided the drive from central midfield that had been sadly
lacking until that point, but wasn't able to inspire a clinching second goal. In
truth though, Brugge remained fairly sluggish in the final third of the field
and most of our defensive discomfort was self-induced.
Trickovski's added time effort caused momentary consternation until Steven Taylor
headed the ball behind for a corner, but the two additional minutes came and went as
flurries of sleet rounded off a chilly but ultimately successful night. Job