Anzhi Makhachkala 0 Newcastle 0 match report: Alan Pardew praises Magpies after hard-fought Europa League draw in Moscow

 

Hatem Ben Arfa passed up a golden opportunity to celebrate his 26th birthday in style as Newcastle claimed a hard-fought Europa League draw in Moscow.

The Frenchman, making his first appearance since tearing a hamstring at Fulham on December 10, was played in on goal by compatriot Yohan Cabaye with 64 minutes gone, but could not beat goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov with an ambitious chipped effort.

An away goal would have seen the Magpies take a significant step towards the quarter-finals, although had keeper Rob Elliot, once again deputising for the injured Tim Krul, not made two excellent saves from Samuel Eto'o either side of half-time, Anzhi Makhachkala could have been heading for St James' Park next week with a lead to defend.

In the event, Alan Pardew would have been the happier of the two managers after seeing his much-changed side cope with the artificial pitch and plummeting temperatures at the Luzhniki Stadium to deny the hosts a home victory in Europe for the first time in eight attempts this season, and give themselves every chance of progressing.

However, he will need no reminding that Metalist Kharkiv left Tyneside last month with a 0-0 first leg draw, but did not make it through to the last 16.

Anzhi ran out having not lost a European game on Russian soil - their only defeat came against Rangers in the 2001-02 season in a game played on neutral territory in Warsaw - and having only conceded their first home goal against Hannover in the previous round.

That record, combined with the pitch and the weather - it was -5 in Moscow at kick-off time - suggested the Magpies would have their work cut out.

Pardew was without six members of his strongest side with Krul, Fabricio Coloccini, Mathieu Debuchy, Jonas Gutierrez, Yoan Gouffran and Papiss Cisse left behind for a variety of reasons, and he chose to leave Steven Taylor, Davide Santon and Cheick Tiote sitting on the bench.

That meant fielding a starting XI without a single recognised striker as Ben Arfa was asked to lead the line.

In the circumstances, it was perhaps not surprising that the visitors failed to muster a single effort on target during the opening 45 minutes.

But to Pardew's delight, Anzhi were little more threatening in a half which did little to excite a sparsely-populated stadium.

Newcastle's cause was helped in no small part by £30million Brazilian Willian's premature departure through injury.

In the 23 minutes he was on the pitch, he looked the man most likely to cause the Magpies problems, feeding a telling 14th-minute pass into the path of Oleg Shatov to prompt a timely intervention by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, and then drilling and shooting from a tight angle well wide seconds later.

Eto'o was left appealing in vain for handball against Massadio Haidara after breaking from his own half with 29 minutes gone with Hungarian referee Istvan Vad unmoved.

Newcastle featured as an attacking threat only fleetingly with Gabriel Obertan keeping full-back Andrei Eschenko occupied at times, but without looking like opening the home side up.

In the event, it was Elliot who made the game's first save five minutes before the break, tipping Eto'o's dipping drive from distance over the bar.

Anzhi resumed in determined fashion and it took a brave block by central defender James Perch to prevent substitute Lacina Traore's shot from troubling Elliot.

Newcastle responded by mounting a rare cohesive attack as Moussa Sissoko found Ben Arfa and then set off in anticipation of a return pass, but central defender Ewerton stepped in.

Elliot turned Eto'o's skidding 61st-minute drive around the post, and Shatov acrobatically fired wide from the resulting corner.

But Ben Arfa was handed a glorious opportunity to give the visitors the lead three minutes later when he was played in by Cabaye, but saw his chipped effort easily blocked by Gabulov.

It proved to be the France international's final act of the night as he was replaced by European specialist Shola Ameobi.

Eto'o blazed a long-range free-kick high and wide as his frustration started to show, but it took a good block by Eschenko to keep stop Sylvain Marveaux's long-range effort.

Elliot had to field a scuffed effort from Eto'o as time ran down - and the visitors held on.

Booked: Newcastle United Haidara.

Man of the match Ben Arfa.

Match rating 4/10.

Possession: Anzhi 57%. Newcastle United 43%.

Attempts on target: Anzhi 3. Newcastle United 1.

Referee I Vad (Hun).

Attendance 5,000.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices