This was a frustrating game. I was nervous at half time. Metalist had found their legs, as it were. Around the half-hour mark, they showed control, put on sustained pressure, and looked more dangerous than they did at St. James' Park. When 45 minutes ticked by and Newcastle still didn't have a goal, I began to worry that maybe it was not meant to be.
And then, an unforced error from seemingly nowhere came. A backpass was mishandled, the Metalist keeper tripped Sissoko in the box. The referee pointed to the spot and Shola Ameobi did his thing. Metlaist would press on in the final stages of the game, forcing save after save from Tim Krul, but NUFC would not be denied, and it is on to the Round of 16 for the Magpies in the Europa League. On to the links!
Lee Ryder provides his match analysis, which is always entertaining to read.
When a Ukrainian reporter asked if Newcastle were lucky in this match, Alan Pardew responded, "I thought we were very unlucky in the first leg."
Up next for the Magpies is a Round of 16 date with Anzi Makhachkala. Shola says Newcastle won't fear the Russians, but that may be because Shola doesn't fear anything.
Newcastle fans were attacked in Ukraine. The Mag notes that Newcastle's other trips to the continent for this competition have been uneventful from an altercations stand point, but this match proved otherwise.
As a result of Newcastle advancing, our March 9 match with Stoke City has been pushed back one day.
In case any Mackem gives you grief, here's a handy image comparing Shola to Sunderland in European play.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Tim Krul says Newcastle have to "put their bodies on the line" to win and stay up.
That's a bit of cryptic wording from Krul (my guess it's a quote from before the Metalist game) because he was hurt in the win and may not be available for the six-pointer with Southampton.
Sports Direct, which is owned by Mike Ashley, had an outstanding final quarter of 2012. How they were able to do that without having a Premiere League venue named after them is beyond me, but they somehow managed.