Cisse strike sees off Anzhi billionaires

Posted by Marc Duffy

Papiss Cisse celebrates with Steven Taylor after heading home Newcastle's 90th minute winner against AnzhiGettyImagesPapiss Cisse celebrates with Steven Taylor after heading home Newcastle's 90th minute winner against Anzhi

Papiss Cisse's headed goal four minutes into stoppage time was enough to send Newcastle United into the quarter-finals of the Europa League as they beat Anzhi Makhachkala 1-0 at St James' Park. A crowd of almost 48,000 watched a tense game with very few chances.

- Video: Newcastle 1-0 Anzhi (UK and Ireland)
- Cisse leaves it late - again


In the early exchanges the Russian side looked the most likely to make a break through as they soaked up Newcastle's attacks and then countered with pace, but Steven Taylor repelled them with tackles and blocks in a heroic display.

Roy Hodgson named his England squad on Thursday and 34-year-old Rio Ferdinand found himself back in the picture. Taylor might consider himself unlucky not to have been selected based on his form since returning to the Newcastle team following his most recent injury set back. Against Anzhi he showed what he is capable of. He was excellent. Taylor probably needs an extended run of games without injury to be a serious contender for his nation though.

In the first half Newcastle seemed intent on causing their own downfall. A short goal kick from Rob Elliot to Cheick Tiote caused problems when the Ivorian midfielder dithered on the ball and was dispossessed. Later in the half a ridiculous freekick from Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa ended with Odil Ahmedov hitting the side netting. Despite that, Elliot was rarely troubled.

Yohan Cabaye picked up an injury late in the first half and was replaced with Jonas Gutierrez. The Frenchman was missed in the middle of the park as Vurnon Anita struggled to get into the game.

Newcastle started the second half brightly. Moussa Sissoko headed over the crossbar within a minute of the restart and then a Sylvain Marveaux freekick ended up at the feet of Taylor at the back post, but he failed to connect properly with the ball.

The home side were gifted a numerical advantage when Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez was sent off for Anzhi after collecting two yellow cards. Anita was very lucky not to follow him a minute later when his stupid, reckless challenge left Yuri Zhirkov in a heap.

Bizarrely, Newcastle became more negative after the red card. They looked slow to break and didn't know how to take advantage of playing against ten men. Anita was taken off for Adam Campbell in an effort to add some attacking impetus but it didn't really work.

Sissoko had a long-range shot at goal as the clock ticked on, but again Newcastle attacked whilst leaving as many as six men behind the ball.

With three minutes remaining Tiote was adjudged to have handled the ball 20 yards from goal. Mbark Boussoufa struck the underside of the crossbar with the freekick. Bullet dodged and a sign that this night was Newcastle's.

The fourth official displayed three minutes of stoppage time on the electric board and just as it looked like the game was going to drift aimlessly into extra time, that man Papiss Cisse was there for the second time within five days to notch a dramatic last-minute winner. This one was last second, literally the last touch of the game. Marveaux delivered a great cross from the right and Cisse headed home, back across the keeper. The referee blew the full time whistle a second later. Newcastle were in the quarter-finals and the billionaires of the East were beaten.

Summary

Newcastle deserved this. They were the better team on the night and managed to repel Samuel Eto'o, reputedly the most highly paid footballer on earth, with ease over three hours of football. All credit to Steven Taylor and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa for that.

In the space of five days Papiss Cisse has played 179 minutes and 55 seconds of very poor football, but the remaining five seconds have proven to be huge for his football club. Two goals, two match winners. As a striker we couldn't ask for more. His reactions to both goals show us that he's frustrated with his own performances - the march towards the Gallowgate End on Sunday and then the mini-Ketsbaia advertising hoarding assault tonight - he's frustrated, but these two goals could be huge.

On Tuesday I wrote about Newcastle's long wait for a trophy, but tonight they are only two ties away from an Amsterdam cup final. I believe Alan Pardew - they can win it.

Twitter: @MarcSDuffy

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