Newcastle United Trail Girondins de Bordeaux 1-0 At Half

Stu Forster

Far from played off the pitch, Newcastle are still well within striking distance in their last group stage match in the Europa League.

In a match with all the potential to have been a 0-0 snooze fest, both teams have shown willingness to attack. Early on, Newcastle looked bright on the attack but were not able to turn the pressure into any sort of shot on goal. They had Rob Elliot to thank for keeping things on level terms through the first 20 minutes as he came up with 3 decent saves in that time to deny Bordeaux the early breakthrough.

Predictably, it was a positional breakdown (and somewhat a physical limitation) that would lead to Cheick Diabate's opener for the French side as Fahid ben Khalfallah was given too much space outside the penalty area and put in a dangerous cross that found Diabate in a touch of space between James Perch and Shane Ferguson. Although admittedly out-heighted, Perch really could have done better.

From a Newcastle perspective, however, the story of the first half may just be Nile Ranger who has looked to be Newcastle's best attacking option and is hustling his ass off all over the pitch. He is tracking back, making useful defensive plays (even if he ended up giving away a dangerous free kick at one point) and could be in the discussion with Rob Elliot for Man of the First Half.

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