St. James' Park
By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Newcastle United 1 (Obertan 48)
Club Brugge 0
SECOND HALF UPDATES
90+2mins: Despite some late pressure from their Belgian opponents, Newcastle have beaten Club Brugge 1-0 to stay at the top of Group D of the Europa League. It's now two wins and a draw from their three games and the Magpies are in a great position to qualify for the next stage with three fixtures to go.
90mins: A vital headed block from Taylor diverts another curling shot from Trickovski away from goal - it was going in otherwise. There will be two minutes of stoppage time.
86mins: Lestienne plays in Trickovski on the left-hand side of the box, and the substitute takes a step to the right before going for a curling effort which drifts narrowly wide of the far post.
83mins: Thibaut van Acker is on for Brugge in place of midfielder Jonathan Blondel.
81mins: Pardew's third and final change sees Yohan Cabaye replace the excellent Shane Ferguson. The Frenchman goes into midfield alongside Gael Bigirimana and Tiote, while Obertan and Cisse are playing as wingers and Ameobi is now the lone frontman.
76mins: The third booking of the evening from referee Hansson - who has officiated the game well since turning down that early Newcastle penalty shout - goes to Brugge's Odidja for a foul on Obertan.
73mins: A second change of the night for Newcastle; Sammy Ameobi, who has been very good and make some tremendous runs as well as setting up the goal, comes off for Fabricio Coloccini, with James Perch going to right-back, Santon moving to the left and Ferguson heading over to the left wing. It's a slightly more defensive side for these final quarter of an hour as United look to maintain their lead. Steven Taylor gives Coloccini the captain's armband as he comes on.
69mins: Ameobi senior makes room for a shot but doesn't strike the ball as cleanly as he'd have liked and drags it across goal from just outside the area.
63mins: Bacca misses a sitter from four yards out after great work from Lestienne. The winger had tricked his way into the box and crossed perfectly for his colleague at the far post, but the striker decided to head the ball into the turf despite being so near to the net and the ball bounced over the bar. At the other end, Shola Ameobi shoots over from 35 yards.
60mins: The second booking of the night goes to Cheick Tiote for a foul on Trickovski.
59mins: Sub Trickovski goes for goal from 20 yards but although he keeps it low, it's well wide of Harper's far post. Then Bacca shoots from a similar range seconds later but it trickles into the veteran keeper's gloves.
57mins: Vadis Odidja works space for a shot from 22 yards but that's also about the same distance that the ball goes over the bar by - it was nowhere near finding the target as it flew into the Leazes end.
55mins: A change for the visitors - Lior Refaelov is replaced by Ivan Trickovski.
52mins: Brugge nearly respond with a goal of their own as Carlos Bacca slips in Lestienne, whose goalbound shot is well tipped around the post by Harper. Newcastle defend the corner as tonight's attendance is announced: 33,124.
49mins: Jonathan Blondell is the first player to be booked tonight.
48mins - NEWCASTLE GOAL (1-0): Gabriel Obertan has his first goal of the season with a good, drilled finish from the left-hand side of the box but it is Sammy Ameobi who made it. The wideman was just outside his own box when he helped to break up play and flick the ball on for his brother Shola, who helped the ball back to the 20-year-old who proceeded to deftly control the ball with the cleverest of touches to take a couple of players out of the game and then race forward before picking out the Frenchman with an ideally-weighted pass. Obertan did the rest and United are ahead.
46mins: Shola Ameobi is on for Vurnon Anita at the break as Alan Pardew goes 4-4-2 and Brugge get the second half started.
FIRST HALF UPDATES
45+1mins: Half-time and it remains goalless, although both keepers have been tested. Brugge have threatened mainly on the break, with Newcastle asking most of the questions, but there has been no breakthrough as yet.
45mins: As the board goes up to show one minute of stoppage time, Cisse has another shot and it's by far his best of the night. He hit it out of nothing, 15 yards from goal as the ball dropped to him, and it was destined for the top corner but for a second fine stop of the evening from Jorgacevic.
44mins: Lestienne looks like Brugge's best player and he creates an opportunity for himself with another direct dart and then a low drive which has Harper diving to his left and whistles just across goal, much to the relief of the keeper and the fans in the Gallowgate, who were right behind that.
43mins: Cisse sees another effort go over the bar, this time from outside the box, but it never looked like going in.
42mins: Tiote played a poor pass which nearly led to a Brugge goal eight minutes ago - now he plays a superb ball at the other end to catch out the visiting defence and pick out Cisse, who takes a touch to move inside and then lets fly but leans back as he shoots and it flies over.
39mins: Ferguson's left-wing corner is up to the standard of his previous deliveries tonight and met by the head of Cisse on the penalty spot. The striker generates plenty of power but as it turns out, a little too much as his effort drops over the crossbar.
38mins: As Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba are sent to warm up along the Milburn Stand, towards the Gallowgate fans, the trio receive a great ovation from the home fans who haven't had too much to cheer as yet from the 11 players on the pitch.
34mins: An awful back pass from Cheick Tiote is siezed upon by the alert Lestienne but Bigirimana tracks him well enough to force him to shoot off target from just outside the box to spare the blushes of his Ivorian team-mate.
31mins: Ameobi and Gabriel Obertan have swapped wings and the former jinks down the right, wriggling past a couple of challenges as he cuts inside and hits a low effort which skims just wide of the near post. That was good, direct play from the England under-21 international who has been United's best player from an attacking point of view until now.
23mins: It's the 23rd minute and to Brugge fans, that means one thing: a minute of chanting in honour of former player Francois Sterchele, who died in a car accident in May 2008. The Belgian side were his club at the time and retired the number 23 as a result while, in the 23rd minute of each game, the fans sing his name. It's a nice touch from the travelling army up on level seven, who burst into a rendition of a couple of songs for the player before a poignant verse of You'll Never Walk Alone.
20mins: Vurnon Anita drags a shot wide for United after Ameobi had done well to regain possession for his team. The Dutch midfielder looked up and had a go, but it was some way off target.
17mins: Sammy Ameobi told nufc.co.uk before the game that he was "excited" for his big chance in what is only his second start for the club, and he almost takes it in some style as he unleashes a superb strike from 20 yards which would have burst the net had it not been straight down the throat of Jorgacevic. The keeper then releases the ball quickly to set up a Brugge counter, and James Perch is required to make a fine block before Harper collects the resulting corner kick.
15mins: From another inviting Ferguson cross, Cisse gets in a header from eight yards which is superbly saved from point-blank range by Brugge keeper Bojan Jorgacevic. The striker looked a certain scorer but it was just too close to the keeper, who nonetheless showed great reflexes to keep it out.
10mins: The Magpies have what looked to be a stone-wall penalty award turned down by referee Martin Hansson - the referee who famously missed Thierry Henry's handball against Ireland a few years ago - when Papiss Cisse was seemingly shoved by Bart Buysse as he went for Shane Ferguson's left-wing cross. The home fans and Alan Pardew certainly thought it was a spot-kick, but the official waved the appeals away.
3mins: Winger Maxime Lestienne shows great pace down the left as he sprints towards goal before letting fly with a low strike from 20 yards which Steve Harper parries before grabbing at the second attempt.
1min: With a noisy crowd inside what is now once again St. James' Park and the floodlights on, this has the feel of a proper European night on Tyneside - even if the Magpies are wearing their fluo-lime change kit (available to buy here) rather than their black and white stripes. Brugge, who are top of their domestic league, are in blue and white stripes and are backed by a huge and very vocal contingent of supporters from Belgium. The hosts take kick-off through Papiss Cisse and Vurnon Anita and we're underway, with United kicking towards the Leazes end.
Newcastle United (4-3-3): Steve Harper; Davide Santon, Steven Taylor (c), James Perch, Shane Ferguson (Yohan Cabaye 81); Gael Bigirimana, Cheick Tiote, Vurnon Anita (Shola Ameobi 46); Gabriel Obertan, Papiss Cisse, Sammy Ameobi (Fabricio Coloccini 73)
Club Brugge (4-3-3): Bojan Jorgacevic; Tom Hogli, Carl Hoefkens (c), Jordi, Bart Buysse; Vadis Odjidja, Jonathan Blondel (Thibaut van Acker 83), Jesper Jorgensen; Lior Refaelov (Ivan Trickovski 55), Carlos Bacca, Maxime Lestienne
Subs not used: Vladan Kujovic, Jannes Vansteenkiste, Bjorn Engels, Victor Vazquez, Bjorn Vleminck
Referee: Martin Hansson