Cisse and Newcastle draw blank at home
Newcastle 0 Metalist Kharkiv 0:Striker Papiss Cisse saw two goals disallowed as Newcastle failed to claim the first-leg lead over Metalist Kharkiv they so desperately wanted to take to Ukraine.
The Senegal international had a 23rd-minute effort controversially ruled out for offside, and then another 16 minutes from time for the same reason to leave the Magpies facing a stern test in next Thursday’s Europa League last 32 second leg.
Cisse also passed up a series of other opportunities, the last of them an injury-time header from point-blank range, as the Magpies gradually gained theupper hand over the visitors, who nevertheless did more than enough on Tyneside to show they will be intensely difficult to beat on their own pitch.
Indeed, had it not been for goalkeeper Tim Krul, who made a fine first-half save to keep out Cleiton Xavier’s header, Newcastle’s task might have been even more difficult.
Metalist keeper Olexandr Goryainov also had to be at his best to deny Cisse either side of half-time and Moussa Sissoko late on, but the Ukrainians, for whom skipper Jose Ernesto Sosa and fellow midfielder Marlos caused all kinds ofproblems, were good value for their draw.
The visitors arrived on Tyneside having not played a competitive match since their last European game, a 1-0 away defeat by Rapid Vienna on December 6 when their place at the top of Group K had already been assured.