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Toon on the brink after win

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25 Oct 2012 22:17:34

Toon on the brink after win

Gabriel Obertan's first goal of the season maintained Newcastle's Europa League challenge as the Ameobi brothers joined forces to see off Club Brugge.

Shola, 31, and 20-year-old Sammy combined in breathtaking style three minutes into the second half to set up the Frenchman to secure the narrowest of victories. It was a far from comfortable evening for Newcastle as Papiss Cisse failed to convert any of the chances which came his way.

The Pro League leaders gave a good account of themselves, with Steve Harper making a fine second-half save from Lior Rafaelov to preserve his clean sheet, but they made it to the final whistle without mishap to take their Group D points tally to a satisfactory seven from three games and leave themselves on the brink of qualification for the last 32.

Pardew took the bold decision to rest no fewer than nine of the men who started Sunday's 1-1 derby draw at Sunderland while by contrast, opposite number Georges Leekens made just two changes after Saturday's first league defeat of the season at Leuven.

Maxime Lestienne forced a third-minute save from Harper within three minutes of kick-off and shot across goal and narrowly wide of the far post a minute before the break as he repeatedly stretched right-back Davide Santon and central defender Steven Taylor.

Cisse might have struck with 14 minutes gone when he met Shane Ferguson's left-wing cross with a firm downward header, but saw keeper Bojan Jorgacevic block with his body. Sammy Ameobi tested Jorgacevic with a rising 25-yard drive three minutes later and dragged a 31st-minute effort just wide.

However, the visitors were handed a golden opportunity to make the breakthrough three minutes later when Cheick Tiote played a blind pass to nobody in particular and saw Lestienne run in on goal but fire wide, with the help of a deflection off the covering Taylor.

Pardew replaced Anita with Shola Ameobi at half-time and he and his younger brother combined with stunning effect within three minutes. Shola's neat flick found Sammy, and he produced an outrageous piece of skill to play the ball into space before laying into the path of Obertan, who thumped it past Jorgacevic and inside the far post.

Harper then had to get down at his near post and turn Rafaelov's left-foot shot away for a corner. The goalkeeper then plucked Lestienne's 62nd-minute cross off Carlos Bacca's toe before the Colombian sent a downward header into the ground and over the bar from another Lestienne delivery seconds later, although an offside flag spared his blushes.

Newcastle had lost all composure in the face of a sustained assault, but gradually regained it with Fabricio Coloccini and Yohan Cabaye having joined the fray to edge their way towards the final whistle and the three points.


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