26th of October 2012 Author: Glo Wood
Newcastle boosted their hopes of reaching the first knockout round of the Europa League with a comfortable win over Club Bruges on Thursday night. French winger Gabriel Obertan scored the only goal of the game in the second half when he fired a precise angled shot past Bruges goalie Bojan Jorgacevic. Striker Papiss Cisse could have added more to the home side's tally as he twice went close with a header and firm strike that were both well saved. The result sees Newcastle move three points clear at the top of Group D.
Newcastle enjoyed much of the possession in the first half even though the visitors appeared dangerous on the break and twice came close to punishing defensive gaps from the home side. Striker Cisse came close twice on Newcastle's best chances before half time. First he saw his header palmed away by the goalkeeper before forcing another save with a good shot. Sammy Ameobi also tried his luck after speeding past the Bruges defence but his shot went wide of the post. On the other hand Maxime Lestienne tested goalkeeper Steve Harper with a powerful strike before having a shot deflected over the bar.
Manager Alan Pardew sent in Shola Ameobi and the partnership between the two Ameobi brothers created the goal for Newcastle. Sammy exchanged passes with Shola before darting past a defender and squaring it for Obertan who powered a low shot past the visiting goalkeeper. There was no fierce reaction from the visitors as they only produced one opportunity before the final whistle when Lior Rafaelov saw his low shot saved by Harper.
Newcastle lead the group rankings on 7 points, followed by Bordeaux with 4 points, Bruges with 3 points and Maritimo with 2 points. Bet365 have Newcastle at 25/1 to win the Europa League this season while Bruges are priced at 250/1.
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