Cabaye helps emphatic Newcastle finally find their feet


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The Independent Online

The first statement of the season; emphatic, comfortable and dominant. Newcastle have waited since August for their campaign to ignite. When Alan Pardew punched the air to celebrate his team's third goal, from the foot of the out-of-sorts Papiss Cissé, it felt like a gear change.

It felt like a football club had woken to the challenge of the current campaign, one that presents itself with Manchester United and Sunderland as their next opponents.

There had been a need for a forming of momentum, and Pardew got that last night. Bordeaux had won 4-0 in the opening group D game. They were never allowed to express themselves in anything like that fashion.

It was a sign of how serious Alan Pardew had taken this particular game, and therefore the competition, that his team were already comfortably 3-0 ahead by the 49th minute. There had been a marked increase in seriousness on Wednesday, when talk of winning it had began, and that was backed up by his team sheet – Cissé, Cheick Tioté and Yohan Cabaye all started. Against Bordeaux, who arrived with an unbeaten run stretching back to April, there was a feeling that the Europa League had finally started.

Perhaps that was the key to relighting the flame inside the influential Cabaye. He admitted during the week that his playing his first major tournament (the European Championship) had affected his season.

The France midfielderl found his range with stunning perfection in the 16th minute, picking out team-mate Gabriel Obertan 50 yards away with a diagonal pass that dissected Bordeaux. Obertan produced fine skill down the Newcastle left, drilled a low cross into the six-yard area for Shola Ameobi to score his 13th goal in European competition for the club.

The visitors then wasted good chances but still ended the half two goals behind. Danny Simpson's cross, was diverted past his own goalkeeper by Henrique. It breathed more confidence into Pardew's men.

Four minutes after the interval they had added a third. Shane Ferguson crossed deep from the left and Cissé , who is still fighting for form, struck with a first-time finish that went in off a post. Cabaye and Tioté were both withdrawn with Sunday in mind. Bordeaux were already well beaten by then.