The Newcastle manager, Alan Pardew, praised his goalkeeper Rob Elliot after seeing him mark his European debut with a match-saving display against Maritimo last night.
The 26-year-old, a summer buy from Charlton Athletic last year, was handed just his second appearance for the club a year to the day after his first in a Carling Cup victory at Nottingham Forest, and did not let his manager down.
Elliot produced two fine first-half saves from Sami and another from the same player 20 minutes from time to preserve his clean sheet as the Magpies claimed a point from their opening Europa League Group D encounter in Madeira.
Pardew said: "Rob has waited a long time – since the Forest game, really – to stake his claim. We know him very well, myself and the goalkeeping coach [Andy Woodman] because of Charlton, and this is a shot-stopper, this is a great goalkeeper.
"Maritimo are a team who are going to surprise teams here. They are very, very good – their record suggests that. Therefore, taking all that into consideration, I thought a draw was a great result."
Most of Elliot's heroics came during yet another poor start by the Magpies, who were slow out of the blocks at the Estadio dos Barreiros against the side lying fifth in the Primeira Liga.
However, they recovered to lay siege to Romain Salin's goal and both Shola Ameobi and Dan Gosling were denied by the woodwork in quick succession.
Elliot could do nothing about the deflected effort that rebounded off his crossbar before the end, though.Reuse content