By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
At St. James' Park
Newcastle United 0
Metalist Kharkiv 0
Papiss Cisse had two goals chalked off for offside as Newcastle endured a night of Europa League frustration at St. James Park.
Their round of 32 tie against Metalist Kharkiv remains very much alive ahead of next week's second leg in the Ukraine but Alan Pardew's side could have done with a lead to take to the Metalist Stadium and would have had one but for two big calls from the Norwegian officials.
Cisse had the ball in the net in each half but his celebrations were curtailed on each occasion while the visitors' goalkeeper, Olexandr Goryaniov, had an evening to remember on Tyneside.
Alan Pardew made three changes - two of them enforced - from the side which travelled to Tottenham last weekend as the Magpies manager made it clear just how important the competition is to his team.
After a somewhat scrappy opening quarter of an hour, the first chance fell to Newcastle as Moussa Sissoko's barnstorming run ended with a pass inside to Gabriel Obertan, who worked room for a shot before dragging his effort inches wide of the far post with Goryaniov at full stretch.
But at the other end, in the 21st minute, Marlos' clever through ball found Metalist skipper Jose Ernesto Sosa, whose shot from a narrow angle was blocked by the legs of Tim Krul.
Two minutes later, Cisse tapped home from Obertan's low cross but he was adjudged to have been in an offside position.
As the half-hour mark approached, it took a superb save from Krul to keep out a header from Cleiton Xavier at point blank range before the keeper also held Edmar's flick from the resulting corner.
Cheick Tiote shot wide after a Newcastle flag-kick was half-cleared monents before Yohan Cabaye's deft pass sent Cisse clean through but he was thwarted by Goryaniov, who stayed tall until the last possible moment.
As the game continued to go from box to box following the slow start to proceedings, Krul was relieved to see Xavier shoot straight at him after a weaving run, then Marlos hit the side-netting when he'd left Davide Santon trailing in his wake.
The unfortunate Cisse was then denied again in the 39th minute - a header back across goal from Steven Taylor caused havoc in the Metalist box and Obertan's shot was deflected goalwards by the Senegalese striker but hooked off the line.
Sosa drilled wide as half-time drew closer, then Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa linked up superbly with Sissoko to allow the former to steam into the box but Goryaniov was out quickly to smother.
Cisse again came close moments into the second half but Fininho headed agonisingly wide from Sosa's corner.
In the 52nd minute, Yanga-Mbiwa went in search of a goal on his full debut as Cabaye's cross was half-cleared but his curling shot soared into the Gallowgate end.
As Newcastle began to turn up the heat, Gutierrez drilled wide after great work from Sissoko, then came another great chance for Cisse, who side-footed Santon's cross towards the bottom corner but was yet again foiled by Goryaniov as their personal battle went on.
Metalist's keeper then moved quickly to beat substitute Sylvain Marveaux to the ball after the Frenchman has seized upon a loose pass to burst into the box.
Cisse had the ball in the net for a second time in the 74th minute as Yanga-Mbiwa took advantage of a Willian slip to cross from the right and Cisse coverted only to see the flag raised again.
But with the away side increasingly happy to settle for a goalless draw, that result was secured as Goryaniov somehow kept out Cisse's close-range diving header in stoppage time.
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul; Mapou Yanga Mbiwa, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon; Cheick Tiote (Shola Ameobi 79), Yohan Cabaye; Gabriel Obertan (Sylvain Marveaux 62), Moussa Sissoko, Jonas Gutierrez; Papiss Cisse
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, James Perch, Danny Simpson, Massadio Haidara, Vurnon Anita
Metalist Kharkiv (4-2-3-1): Olexandr Goryainov; Cristian Villagra, Papa Gueye, Marco Torsiglieri, Fininho; Edmar, Juan Manuel Torres; Marlos (Willian 73), Cleiton Xavier, Jose Ernesto Sosa (c); Jonathan Cristaldo (Jaja 82)
Referee: Tom Harald Hagen (Norway)
Bookings: Newcastle United - Tiote (27), Cabaye (33), Sissoko (81), Gutierrez (86); Metalist Kharkiv - Willian (88, Torres 90+1)