Hatem Ben Arfa eager for European adventure to continue for Newcastle

The Magpies drew 0-0 with Anzhi Makhachkala in Moscow

Hatem Ben Arfa has urged Newcastle not to pass up the opportunity to continue their march into the Europa League quarter-finals.

The Magpies have endured an indifferent domestic season to date - victory over Stoke on Sunday would significantly ease any lingering fears over their Barclays Premier League status - but their progress in Europe has been, if not exactly serene, increasingly impressive.

Last night, they took on the challenge of big-spending Anzhi Makhachkala on the artificial pitch at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium in sub-zero temperatures and emerged with a 0-0 draw.

That gives them every chance of progressing when the two sides reconvene at St James' Park next Thursday evening, and Ben Arfa, who played in Russia for the first time in 12 weeks after recovering from a hamstring tear, is not ready for the adventure to end just yet.

He said: "We can now finish the job. Next week we have a great chance, we have the chance to win with our team.

"St James' Park will be a different game now. We were solid and we tried to keep the ball, but it was a night when we didn't have too many chances to score.

"I think 0-0 though is a good scoreline. We always prefer to score a goal or two, of course, but this gives us a good chance to get through."

Alan Pardew's men could have returned to Tyneside with a lead to defend had Ben Arfa managed to celebrate his 26th birthday with the kind of finish which has become his trademark.

His big chance arrived with 64 minutes gone when compatriot Yohan Cabaye played him in, but he attempted to chip keeper Vladimir Gabulov and got it all wrong.

The France international said: "I had a chance. I actually tried to chip it high over the keeper. I was aiming for more uplift, but on that pitch, it isn't the same as on grass.

"I hope in the next game, I get another chance - and this time I'll score.

"It was a good birthday for me still, almost perfect, but 0-0 is okay. We didn't lose and we have a great chance to qualify."

For all Ben Arfa might have won the game, Anzhi had triumphed in all seven of their previous European home fixtures to date this season, and they might have done so again had it not been for keeper Rob Elliot.

The 26-year-old, deputising once again for the injured Tim Krul, denied former Barcelona superstar Samuel Eto'o either side of half-time to preserve his clean sheet and lay the platform for a solid result.

However, he later revealed the prospect of attempting to keep Anzhi at bay in the prevailing conditions had caused him a sleepless night.

Elliot said: "We trained there the night before and the lads were taking free-kicks and shots at me, and the balls were moving all over the place.

"I didn't sleep well the night before the game because I was concerned over the way the balls move.

"I don't know if it was the balls or the cold air or the Astroturf, but there was something about them. But it's part and parcel of being a keeper.

"Eto'o's first shot came at me and dipped down and I managed to get enough of it.

"I wasn't in full control, but my job is to keep the ball out of the net and I did. The second one, I didn't think I was going to get there maybe the surface helped.

"If they had scored, it might have opened the game up, but I'm pleased to make a contribution.

"To come to a place like this with the stars they have got and get a result is brilliant."

PA

Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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.

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect