There is the last-minute winner, and then there is what Papiss Cissé provided for Newcastle last night, to take his side into the quarter-final of a cup competition for the first time since 2006.
The fourth official, Thorsten Schiffner, had informed 45,000 Newcastle supporters that there would be three minutes of added-time in last night's game when he held up his board. The final second of those three had been played when Sylvain Marveaux crossed with precision from the left side of the Anzhi Makhachkala half. The flight of the ball cut through the visiting defence and from a matter of yards, Cissé headed in as dramatic winning goal as you will see. There was not even time for the game to restart.
Some Anzhi players fell to their knees. The Newcastle bench rejoiced. Manager Alan Pardew tried, but could not quite hide his delight. Even Mike Ashley, sat in the directors' box, smiled.
The Europa League was given the chance to shine last night, in the absence of any more English involvement in the Champions League. It could not have done much more for providing drama. Anzhi, through Mbark Boussoufa, had hit the bar in the 88th minute from a free-kick.
The visitors were the better team in the first half, missing two very good chances through Samuel Eto'o and Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez and had what their manager Guus Hiddink called a "stupid' sending off in the 55th minute when Carcela-Gonzalez committed a foul – and a nasty one at that – on Massadio Haidara, having already been booked. That was important, diluting the technical ability of the Russian side. Cissé's was still a hard and often lonely night, until that incredible finale.
"I've never experienced a game finish as late as that, ever," said Pardew. "John [Carver] come over and told me the game was over and I thought [he meant] it was over before he scored for a horrible moment. It was great it was the last strike of the game.
"It was a really tight affair. We have beaten them albeit with a bit of good fortune. On a technical front, that was an outstanding team out there, we rode our luck a bit. We lost [Yohan] Cabaye and that was a big issue for us. In the end our resilience has paid massive dividends for us. Papiss waited, he was calm, that is what goalscorers do. They are calm in that crucial moment. Of course I think we can win it [the Europa League]."
Cissé had scored in the 92nd minute against Stoke in the Premier League on Sunday. This was even later. "When the ball came over I thought, 'This is the one'," said Cissé. "Thank you God."
Hiddink said his side dominated, but accepted that is not enough."We created three or four open chances in the first half and could have killed the game within 17 minutes," he said. "If we had a jury vote we would have won unanimously. We can blame ourselves and be critical of a failure of a lethal weapon we didn't have. Even after the stupid second yellow we were organised. It's bitter when you lose in the last minute."
Man of the match S Taylor.
Match rating 6/10.
Referee D Aytekin (Ger).
Attendance 45,487.Reuse content