Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Steven Taylor produced a defensive masterclass against Anzhi Makhachkala - then the Frenchman backed his partner to earn a call-up to the England squad.

Both players were in superb form as Newcastle overcame the Russian superclub to reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League thanks to Papiss Cisse's last gasp header.

Iconic striker Samuel Eto'o and his team-mates could find no way past the pair, who were starting only their third game together and speak different languages but already look as though they have been playing in tandem for years.

Yanga-Mbiwa, who joined United from Montpellier in January, has won three caps for France and believes 27-year-old Taylor's performances should be attracting the interest of Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson.

Speaking exclusively to nufc.co.uk after Thursday night's round of 16 success, he said: "I think he's got every chance to get an international call-up and if he goes out and continues to play as well as he is week in and week out, then the international manager is going to see that.

"I hope he will get a call-up so I can also say I've played alongside an international!

"Steven's a fantastic player and it's great to be alongside him. He's someone who's come up from within this Club and he's been a great player for this Club.

"He knows the culture of the English game very well and he's someone I try to listen to a lot and learn from a lot as well as bringing what I know from my experience in France to the partnership as well."

Cisse's goal proved to be the last kick of the game, with Anzhi not even having time to restart the match before German referee Deniz Aytekin blew the final whistle.

But such drama is nothing knew to Yanga-Mbiwa, who was captain of Montpellier when they lifted the Ligue 1 title in May.

"When we won the championship with Montpellier, we did have a last minute goal to take that for us so it was an exceptional moment," he said.

"But this was fantastic for us and puts us into the quarter-finals, so hopefully we can go on from there.

"I'm very happy that we could win it in the 90 minutes. We had a great match and we fought really hard, so it's nice to come away with the victory.

"Obviously the thought of extra-time does enter your head a little bit but as long as the match is still going on there's a chance that you might get a goal.

"The match isn't over so we're very happy to have that chance."

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