Ben Arfa miss could prove costly for Newcastle
Anzhi Makhachka 0 Newcastle United 0
Newcastle United will feel they are the favourites to progress after this goalless draw with Anzhi, but the Europa League tie hangs as delicately as an icicle in a Russian spring.
The Magpies were able to contain Anzhi well enough in this first leg, an impressive feat, given they had won all seven of their home games in Europe and conceded just one goal in the process, but the Russians, managed by Guus Hiddink, know they only need a score draw at St James' Park next week to reach the quarter-finals.
They cannot be discounted and Newcastle may still rue their failure to score here after Hatem Ben Arfa, on his return after three months out with a hamstring injury, tried to chip Vladimir Gabulov.
The France international, played in by Yohan Cabaye midway through the second half, would normally has slotted a shot past the goalkeeper, but he tried to be clever and Gabulov made him look silly by standing up and catching the ball.
"It's an intriguing tie now," said manager Alan Pardew. "If you told me our goalkeeper would only have to make two good saves on the night, in these conditions, on this pitch against opposition as strong as this, I'd have taken that.
"I'm really looking forward to the second leg, if you're going to progress in Europe you have to win your home games and that is exactly what we need to do now.''
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