By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
At the Metalist Stadium
Metalist Kharkiv 0
Newcastle United 1 (Ameobi 64pen)
(Newcastle United win 1-0 on aggregate)
Shola Ameobi's second-half penalty put Newcastle United into the last 16 of the Europa League as they triumphed 1-0 away at Metalist Kharkiv on Thursday night in their second leg Round of 32 tie.
The long-serving striker cooly converted from the spot after Moussa Sissoko had been brought down by goalkeeper Olexandr Goryainov, and it was no more than the Magpies deserved having dominated proceedings for large parts of the game.
Sissoko and Papiss Cisse both spurned good chances to break the deadlock before the break, but after the interval they finally breached the Kharkiv backline.
A misplaced back pass from defender Papa Gueye was chased down by Sissoko, who got to the ball just before Goryainov and was sent tumbling in the process.
And Ameobi stepped up to slot home a crucial away goal - his fourth strike of the season and third in the Europa League.
That wasn't the end of the story, however, as Metalist pressed forward in search of an equaliser and only the heroics of Newcastle keeper Tim Krul kept them at bay, with the Dutchman denying Jonathan Cristaldo on three occasions and substitute Willian once.
After a goalless first leg, United's victory in Ukraine meant a 1-0 aggregate win and a place in the next phase, where they will meet Anzhi Makhachkala home and away in March.
However, it took them 15 minutes to create anything of note and when it came it was via the opposite flank.
A superb pass from Yohan Cabaye found Sissoko on the right-hand side of the penalty area, and he cut inside before sending a tame, low shot into the hands of home goalkeeper Goryainov.
Ameobi then saw a deflected strike roll agonisingly the wrong side of the upright with Goryainov struggling, as Newcastle really took the contest to their Ukranian hosts.
But Metalist have only lost twice at home all season and illustrated their threat, coming inches away from breaking the deadlock just before the half hour mark.
Full-back Cristian Villagra swung an inch-perfect cross onto the head of Cristaldo at the far post, only for the front man's downward effort to ripple the side netting rather than the back of the net.
Kharkiv then went close through another Cristaldo header, but the Magpies were not to be kept down and they roared back into life two minutes before half-time.
Ameobi held the ball up well on the edge of the box, before laying it nearly into the path of Cisse, who burst into the area but saw Goryainov equal to his drive with a fine save.
Early in the second half, Metalist playmaker Cleiton Xavier drilled a 25-yard free-kick harmlessly over the top but the visitors were soon back on the front foot.
In the 56th minute Marveaux strode down the left, exchanged passes with Sissoko, taking hm into the area but planted a shot from a tight angle well off target.
And just past the hour mark United were rewarded for their dominance as they took the lead from the penalty spot.
A horrible mix-up between Papa Gueye and his goalkeeper saw the centre-back mishit a back pass and, as Sissoko chased and intercepted, Goryainov sent the Frenchman tumbling.
Referee Serge Gumienny had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Ameobi did the rest, sending Goryainov the wrong way with a confident penalty.
Kharkiv responded with an off-target far post volley from captain Jose Emesto Sosa and a double change, as attack-minded duo Jaja and Willian entered the fray.
The latter almost had an immediate impact, dribbling into the box and lifting the ball over the onrushing Krul, only for the Magpies' stopper to stick up an arm and brilliantly divert away to safety.
Jonas Gutierrez and James Perch were introduced from the substitutes' bench to try and help close the game out, but United had Krul to thank once again, as the goalkeeper excelled with two outstanding saves in the space of 30 seconds.
First, the Dutch international stayed big in a one-on-one situation with Cristaldo and then, as the visitors failed to properly clear their lines, Krul sprung to his left to brilliantly beat away another strike from the same player.
The home side were throwing everything they had at Alan Pardew's side and Perch made a crucial last-gasp challenge to block Jaja's close-range shot.
As time ticked away, Krul thwarted Willian as the winger attempted to flick home a near-post corner, and Newcastle held firm to secure a clean sheet and memorable European victory - their first ever on Ukrainian soil.
Metalist Kharkiv (4-2-3-1): Olexandr Goryainov; Cristian Villagra, Papa Gueye, Marco Torsiglieri, Fininho; Juan Manuel Torres (Jaja 67), Edmar (Sebastian Blanco 82); Marlos (Willian 67) Cleiton Xavier, Jose Emesto Sosa (c); Jonathan Cristaldo
Subs not used: Vladimir Disljenkovic, Oleg Shelayev, Andriy Berezovchuk, Oleg Krasnopyorov
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Massadio Haïdara; Vurnon Anita (James Perch 76), Yohan Cabaye (Gael Bigirimana 87); Papiss Cisse (Jonas Gutierrez 76), Moussa Sissoko, Sylvain Marveaux; Shola Ameobi
Referee: Serge Gumienny (Belgium)
Bookings: Metalist - Fininho (87), Cristaldo (88); Newcastle - Haidara (44), Cisse (74), Krul (90)