Newcastle manager Alan Pardew praised keeper Rob Elliot after seeing him mark his European debut with a match-saving display against Maritimo.
The 26-year-old, a summer buy from Charlton 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 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 currently lying in fifth place 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.
Ameobi hit the bar after a superb solo run two minutes into the second half, although the home side finished strongly and after Elliot had kept out Sami and substitute Goncalo, Davide Santon managed to deflect defender Valentin Roberge's injury-time header on to the crossbar.
Maritimo Salin, Briguel, Joao Guilherme, Roberge, Luis Olim, Rafael Miranda, Joao Luiz, Heldon (Fidelis, 54), David Simao (Goncalo Abreu, 75), Sami, Danilo Dias (Adilson, 82). Substitutes not used Lima De Oliveira, Joao Diogo, Marcio Rosario, Igor Rossi.
Newcastle United Elliot, Perch, Williamson, Steven Taylor, Santon, Obertan (Marveaux, 80), Bigirimana, Gosling, Amalfitano (Ferguson, 76), Shola Ameobi, Vuckic (Sammy Ameobi, 53). Substitutes not used Harper, Tavernier, Abeid, Campbell.
Referee R Schorgenhofer (Austria).Reuse content